The Plaza, or Evergreen Park Plaza is closed... 60 years of operation and it ceased operation in 2013. The Plaza, located along Western Avenue in Evergreen Park, IL, opened August 24, 1952 and is known historically as the first modern mall and set the standard for how malls developed ever since.
The mall first came into development in 1936, where the creator, Arthur Rubloff, conceived the idea of a shopping center to be built in Evergreen Park, along 95th Street and Western Avenue.
When the mall opened in August 1952, it was originally a 500,000 square foot outdoor shopping mall anchored by The Fair and Carson Pirie Scott, Lytton's and Walgreens, and also Jewel Foods.
The mall developer where close friends to the Walgreens family, where Rudolf secured funding for the mall from family who lived in Beverly, and district of Chicago, near the Water Tower plaza, which was developed by Rudolf in the 1920's.
A major expansion of the mall took place in 1961, adding a south wing to the center, anchored by Chas. A. Stevens, new Carsons store, a movie theater, and a parking garage.
The Fair was converted to Montgomery Ward in April 1964, the expansion was completed in June 1964, ans the entire center was enclosed in 1966.
Circuit City was added later in the 90s, replacing a Silo Store
Montgomery Ward closed its massive four-story mall location in 2001, after the chain declared bankruptcy, Target purposed to open in the former Wards, but the plans never went through.
A National Wholesale Liquidators opened in 2005 in two of the four floors of the Wards store.
Walgreens closed in 2005, and Office Depot opened in its place.
Circuit City closed in late 2005.
In 2008, The Plaza took its worst hit when Office Depot closed, as many smaller stores in the mall left following.
Planet Fitness opened in the former Office Depot in January 2012.
On May 31, 2013, The Plaza closed its doors for the last time, after 61 years of operation, the city purposed to demolish the mall in July 2013, but its now 2015, and the mall still stands, only the Carsons, Planet Fitness, and Applebee's in the parking lot are still open.
Here are pictures of the center two months before its closed:
Here is what the mall looked like July 2013, a month after it closed:
A few night shots from January 2013:
The oldest mall in Chicagoland, with Westfield Old Orchard opening in 1956.
If anyone has any stories, pictures, or questions, feel free to post and comment below.
Thank you for reading.