Chris Robbins's Commentary

Posted November 21, 2008 (user submitted)

Severance Center opened in 1963 when I was growing up in Cleveland Heights, Ohio. It was located on a former estate, and there were protests when the beautiful old mansion was torn down. The community was assured that the mall would be very upscale, and that the marble fountain that had been in the garden of the estate would be preserved. Actually, the fountain ended up in the parking lot surrounded by asphalt, and the stores were not particularly upscale. Inside the mall there was another fountain which became a meeting place for teenagers. I went to the mall many times looking for clothing and usually came home empty-handed, probably because I just didn't like the fashions of the mid-60s.

As time went on the mall became less and less desirable, as newer malls opened in the farther suburbs. (The most recent one is a lifestyle center near a freeway interchange, also on a former estate.) Severance center became crime-ridden, or at least that was the perception, and eventually was torn down in 1996. It took 4 years to redevelop it as a "power center" with several big box stores back to back, and no interior mall space. Other uses were added to the property, including a new city hall and some townhouses.

Links - A brief history of the mall.
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