Karen Puente's Commentary

Posted March 29, 2006 (user submitted)

I wanted to share with you a mall that was very near and dear to my childhood heart, Washington Square Mall. It was located in Homewood IL at about 173 and Halsted. This was the place to be on a Saturday afternoon!

It probably opened in the early to mid 70's. There was a Dominick's grocery store on one end, but you couldn't enter the mall from there. Right next door was KMart and you could enter through there. The other end of the mall was Service Merchandise, the tag store, as my sisters and I called it. You couldn't buy anything on the catalog showroom floor. You had to take a tag off the item and go over to either a sales person or back then, one of the first self serve computer stations called "Silent Sam".

Right outside Service was the Dianna Theaters. At first there was 2 screens, then they cut the theaters and made 4. That was the place to be. I remember the "special sneak peek screening" my friends and I went to, Pee Wee's Big Adventure! There was an arcade, Claire's, Stuart's Clothing, Bernina's, County Seat, Waldenbooks, Walgreen's WITH a Wag's counter resturaunt, Hot Spot, Modern Tuxedo, a couple little jewelery stores, a Mr. Sub and a Joann Fabrics. The heyday of this mall came and went. I rememeber when it started to die down with more people heading to the bigger and brighter Lincoln Mall in Matteson or Orland Mall in Orland Park. Wag's was the first casualty. It was a sad day when we could no longer have a fountain chocolate shake and fries after a show. Soon the game room closed followed by many of the old favorites. Waldenbooks left and when KMart closed it's doors, it left the south end of the mall a virtual ghost town. Smaller mom and pop shops came and went and finally the theater was shuttered. When the final store pulled out and the mall was closed forever, I cried. I remember when they demolished it, my sisters and I went back, inside you could see the old store signs and the rememnants of Christmas decor. Huge ornaments hanging from the collapsing ceilings. When the walls came down, I remember some of the rubble was close enough to the barracade that we each took a tiny piece, to always treasure our childhood weekends at the mall.

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