BIG TOWN MALL: MESQUITE (DALLAS), TX
This mall was torn down summer 2006.
David Avery's Commentary:
Posted October 18, 2005 (user submitted Janury 22, 2004)
Today it sits as a shell of its former self. The first enclosed mall in Texas and in the Southwest is almost completely vacant. And sadly enough, there is little or no information about this mall -- left for dead over the three decades that the megalith Town East Mall has been open.
Big Town Mall is situated at the intersection of US Highway 80 and Big Town Boulevard in Mesquite, a suburb of Dallas, Texas, one of the most overmalled cities in the country. The mall sits almost on the city limits of Mesquite and Dallas.
During construction of the mall, which opened in 1959, locals tell me that there was a vote between the cities of Dallas and Mesquite to see which city would get the mall. Mesquite won.
Since there is little or no documentation left anywhere concerning this mall and its death, what follows is based on my own investigation and stories from the local residents.
When the mall first opened, it was anchored by Neiman Marcus and JCPenney, then known as "Penneys". Neimans, an affluent retailer, soon realized that the demographics of this Dallas suburb made it not the right place for its first branch store. They closed the Big Town location and Sanger Brothers took over the spot.
Over the years, Sanger Brothers (which became Sanger-Harris in 1961) and Penneys were joined by another anchor -- in the late sixties or early seventies, Montgomery Ward built a new store.
Then, Town East Mall was built just a few miles away. The mall, anchored by E.M. Kahn, Sears, and Sanger-Harris, opened in 1971.
Big Town continued to hold its own until the late eighties, when the death of the mall began. Federated Department Stores merged Sanger-Harris into their Houston-based Foley's in 1987, a move about which many dedicated Dallas residents are still very angry. Then, to make matters worse, Federated sold the company the next year to May Company, bringing the quality of service and merchandise down several levels.
Foley's closed the store in 1988 or 1989, and the decline of the mall soon followed. I'll have more on this mall as I can get the information.
Big Town Mall photos courtesy of Keith Black