Brian P's Commentary

User submitted April 20, 2017

The Tri-State Mall, close to the Delaware-Pennsylvania state line on the Delaware side, is a once-vibrant mall that is now totally abandoned. I grew up in Delaware in the '70s and '80s, and while Tri-State was never one of the top-tier malls, it was still quite robust, with a K-Mart serving as its main anchor, as well as a local department store called Wilmington Dry Goods. At one point the mall had a toy store where, on several occasions, I saw Santa.

The mall is accompanied by a large and distinctive water tower with the Tri-State Mall name on it, which is clearly visible from I-95. Among us kids, Tri-State was known mainly for its movie theaters, which often featured the big blockbuster releases. It's where I saw the original "Star Wars" when it first came out. It also had an extensive video arcade, which was a big deal in the Pac-Man era. It also had a notorious "head shop" that sold pot paraphernalia, until that was illegalized in Delaware. Other than that, though, Tri-State wasn't a hangout destination; curiously, among other things, it didn't have a food court.

Starting in the '90s, the mall went through a long, slow decline. There are some street views on Google Maps (see link below), but they are from 2007. According to reports, the last of the stores closed in late 2015. In the end, Tri-State couldn't compete with the other, nicer malls in the area (Delaware is a mall mecca due to tax-free shopping), as well as a depressed location.

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