Matt Wilda's Commentary

Posted February 28, 2009 (user submitted)

On a trip back home to North Carolina in May 2008, I decided to pay a visit to a mall I remembered from my childhood and thought might now be a good candidate for, Signal Hill Mall in Statesville, NC.

I don't know much about the history of this mall, but based on the architecture and the fact that it's been there as long as I can remember, I'd guess it was built some time in the 1970s. When I was a kid the Boy Scouts held their annual Scout Show and the district Pinewood Derby championship there (for all I know they still do). For that reason, even though I lived about halfway between Statesville and Charlotte, where a trip to "the mall" usually meant one of the larger malls in Charlotte, I visited Signal Hill Mall many times when I was younger.

I hadn't been to Signal Hill Mall since I was in high school in the 1990s. At that time the mall still seemed fairly healthy. A lot has changed since then. Three of the four anchor stores do still seem to be holding on -- Belks, Sears, and JC Penny. The fourth, Peebles, is closed. About half of the other stores are now vacant, including Chic-Fil-A, one of the mall's only two eateries. The other, IHOP, is still there. This relatively small mall doesn't have a regular food court. Wooton's Jewelers was having a going out of business sale during my visit. A few of the stores have been taken over by non-profit organizations like the Children's Museum.

I snapped a few photos during my visit, links and descriptions are included below:
The front of the mall from the parking lot. The Sears sign and light pole are clearly showing their age. (Sorry about getting my car's antenna in the shot)

The front of Belk's

Inside the mall. The former Chick-Fil-A is in the foreground on the left, now boarded up and covered with children's drawings. That thing in the middle is a sort of island with benches in it. At the far end by the American flag are JC Penny and the former Peebles. There are a few shoppers, but traffic is pretty light for a Saturday afternoon.

A former jeweler and candy stand. The full name of the candy stand is "Sweet and Nutty." On a personal note I have many memories of requesting candy from that stand as a child. Sometimes I got it and sometimes I didn't .

Links - Signal Hill Mall official web site
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