NEW HARBOUR MALL: FALL RIVER, MA
While not exactly dead, Fall River's New Harbour Mall is dated, dark, and dank.
When I was a kid growing up in Middletown, RI, we often took the 20 minute drive up to this undersized but useful mall that sat right on the Rhode Island/Massachusetts line at the south end of the aging mill town of Fall River. Anchored by Bradlees and Kmart, the mall did have one store that we lacked in my area (Bradlees), and continues to have a Kmart, which Middletown lost in 2000. Back then it was called simply the "Harbour Mall" and while I remember going to the Bradlees quite often, I hardly ever remember entering the actual mall. I do recall looking down the extremely dark corridor from Bradlees and thinking it was a garbage mall.
Fall River, with a population of 92,000, is large enough for a mall that's bigger than this 350,000 square foot center--and it does have another. The Swansea Mall, in the western suburbs, has always been the area's larger, more prosperous mall. This mall was kind of the also-ran. It was closer to town, but smaller and more of a discount mall, catering to the customers in the neighborhood immediately surrounding it. It survived in part because it was on a fairly large and prosperous strip along route 81. In the early 1990s, the mall's management probably realized that people found the mall too dark, so they painted it in green and pink pastels and renovated the interior somewhat. That was also when the name of the mall was changed to the "New Harbour Mall," which seemed like a laughable name at the time. Ever since then the mall has remained at least marginally successful, maintaining near-full capacity even though it often included many local and secondary stores.
It unfortunately suffered its most serious blow at the beginning of 2001 when the entire Bradlees chain folded, leaving it's largest (and most popular) anchor vacant. However, Wal-Mart is building a store in the space, set to open sometime in 2002. It is apparently the first time that Kmart and Wal-Mart ever anchored the same center together, so it could be an interesting experiment.
I took these pictures on December 26, 2000, which is the day that Bradlees announced they were going out of business. These are some of the last pictures of the mall before its financial misfortunes of the past year began.