That Mall is sick and that Store is dead!

July 31, 2005

Mercury Plaza –Hampton, VA (demolished-2004)

Filed under: dead stores,Farm Fresh,Mercury Plaza — Anita @ 4:10 pm

Mercury Plaza --Hampton, VA (demolished-2004)

{picture taken March 27, 2003}
According to my mom, this was originally THE mall in Hampton, VA in the 1960’s/early 1970’s. The Mall part was in the middle of the shopping center, and my mom said that whenever you walked in there, you could smell hotdogs. There was a Montgomery Ward in the mall, and a Roses (a poor mans’ K-Mart) When Coliseum Mall opened in the 70’s, this area turned into a shopping center with Burlington Coat Factory in the middle. I used to go to the Roses with my parents up until I was 5 or 6 I think. Then I think the Roses had a fire, and then a year later the store closed down. There was a Farm Fresh in a strip mall next to the Roses, and I’m sure it did pretty well until it succumbed to a fire in the summer of 1997 or 1998. Then the HQ (a local version of a Lowes or a Home Depot) shut down (it was two doors down from the Burlington) and then in 2002 the Circut City (which was next door to Burlington) shut down due to poor sales. All that was left was the Burlington–until Wards closed down at the Coliseum Mall in which they moved in, and the shopping center was torn down.

I drove by again in June of 2005 with a friend, and this is what is there now:

The Ruins Of Mercury Plaza

We were in the car, we couldn’t stop.


  1. Quite a transformation.

    Comment by Steven Swain — August 1, 2005 @ 7:47 pm | Reply

  2. It looks better now.

    Comment by Mark Dyer — August 27, 2005 @ 3:57 am | Reply

  3. Wm. Blake wisely wrote: “Drive your cart and your plow over the bones of the dead.”

    But I’m a sentimental old cuss who remembers the old Giant Open Air Market at the Mercury Mall. A vast and otherworldly place where my mom would pick up a dozen of the biggest glazed donuts in history.

    And I recall being just small and goofy enough to submit my then nascent cursive handwriting to a computerized handwriting analysis machine that was stationed in the mall, say, circa 1971. I forget the exact results but they were printed on several blue hole-punch cards.

    Now we have Bob Evans Restaurant and the Internet, and such ancient miracles are long past.

    Thanks for your postings on these dead/sick malls.


    Comment by K. R. Seward — October 27, 2006 @ 3:11 pm | Reply

  4. My Grandfather owned the land this shopping center was built on. He was a truck farmer who lived several miles from Hampton. The town became a city and surrounded him. By the early 1960’s his age and the property taxes compelled him to sell. I remember the Giant Open Air market – it was huge for its time. There was an “air grate” blowing air up from ground level which you had to walk over. I guess that kept bugs out! But my best memory is as a 6 year old boy chasing my Grandfather’s chickens past the shed where he kept the Studebaker. This memory allows me to look at other urban scenes and imagine their bygone history and beauty.

    Comment by Phil Roe — June 19, 2007 @ 9:57 pm | Reply

  5. Wow,

    I was a Navy brat born and raised in Norfolk. I moved away in 1978. I too remember the Giant Open Air Market with air grate, the smell of pizza, the open pit grill complete with a cook wearing one of those tall, white chefs’ hats grilling the steak that customers just bought from the meat case! Ahh, memories.

    Comment by P W Hill — November 11, 2008 @ 2:02 pm | Reply

  6. I lived in Hampton in the summers of 1964 and 1965. My sister’s husband was in the Air Force, so I spent summers with them.
    The weekly event we all looked forward to with much enthusiasm was going to the Giant on Friday nights. Right now I can almost smell the pizza, from 3,000 miles and 49 years away.
    Hampton and Tidewater overall were a very hip place to be back then, and then there was (and I am foreverer spoiled by) the excellent fishing we enjoyed there.
    On a side note, but no less sad, we lived at 52 Crenshaw Court, which would put the Coluseum just about in our backyard. There was a wild and somewhat eeiry (I meant magical) tidal pond and estuary there at the time, as remote as could be, and a beautiful piece of nature’s best. I would collect all the minnows needed for our frequent fishing trips to Ft. Monroe there, and just dig the place anytime I hung out there.
    When I checked it out on Google Earth, I almost died. What I saw assured me that the place certainly had!

    Comment by Rich Peyton — January 19, 2009 @ 3:58 pm | Reply

  7. The handwriting analysis computer cards from Mercury Plaza circa ’71 (comment #3) have been blogged here:

    Comment by Kevin Seward — May 19, 2009 @ 12:36 am | Reply

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