Trent Rose's Commentary

Posted March 7, 2006 (user submitted)

The Mid State Mall at the corner of South Ninth and Magnolia has died and gone to heaven. The mall opened in the spring of 1971 with Woolco, Walgreens, and Montgomery Ward as the major tenants. There were a number of smaller stores inside the mall including Karmelkorn and Baskin Robbins. The Baskin Robbins featured a two story restaurant at the front of the mall. The only other mall restaurant was the Walgreen's Buffeteria. The Jerry Lewis Cinemas were added a few years after the mall opened. Extra police had to be called in to handle the overflowing traffic to the mall on opening day. At this time the mall was virtually in the country with the 81 Drive-In being the only nearby business.

Mid State's owner was headquarted in Texas, and they owned similar malls acrossed the Midwest, according to the Salina Journal. According to old clippings from the Salina Journal, the mall's owner was suffering from growing pains and had not paid the property taxes on the mall during 1972-1975.

Although the area near the mall continued to be developed, the mall was falling on difficult times during the early 1980's. Ward's closed their doors for good during 1980 and this space would set empty until the mid 1990's. The other major anchor, Woolco, closed for good during 1983 as part of the chains nationwide liquidation. Woolco was soon replaced by Wal-Mart. The inside of the mall suffered during this period and some closed.

The Mid State Mall was foreclosed upon by the original lender for the project during the mid 1980's. Vanderbilt's Western Wear and a waterbed store were new tenants at the mall which continued to stumble. Walgreen's closed their restaurant and shortly thereafter closed their store. Promising developers were eyeing the property, and they boasted about exanding/updating the property to include Dillard's. This never happened, since the adjacent Central Mall was developed. Wal-Mart built a new store down the road from the Mid State, leaving the mall without an anchor store. The inside was mostly empty before Wal-Mart left.

By 1994, the mall had new owners who filled the Montgomery Ward space with Hobby Lobby and the Woolco/Wal-Mart space with Sutherland's Home Improvement Warehouse, neither joined the inside of the mall. The inside of the mall ceased to exist by early 2005, instead it was replaced entirely with a larger Hobby Lobby, Dollar Tree, and CiCi's Pizza.

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