That Mall is sick and that Store is dead!

April 30, 2007

The Virginia Film Office (reposted)

Filed under: dead chains,dead stores,,other malls — Anita @ 9:20 pm

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{Walnut Mall [torn down], Petersburg, VA}

…. what is UP with the weights in center court?! Did the security guard who was looking over the abandoned place at night decide to do exercise?


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{Greenbriar Mall, Chesapeake VA, when you look at the photos note that there is a store called “mothers” and another store called “father and son shoes” This mall had some major parental issues…}

I fixed the links on this entry of mall photos from the Virginia Film Office.

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Also, Miller & Rhoads (empty Richmond, VA location…I assume this was the flagship store)

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Smith & Welton department store (Norfolk, VA location…I assume this was a downtown location?)
It’s hard to believe that department stores were so massive back then.

I remember driving by this dump a lot … Kings Flea Market.

One more! Check out the old Wal Mart in these photos.

//edit, May 25, 2008//

More Walnut Mall pictures (from the same website — I’m just afraid that pictures will be deleted one day) under the cut:














Walnut Mall on



  1. Anita, that is indeed the downtown Richmond Miller & Rhoads. I always liked the fact that they didn’t go all ’50’s and ’60’s with the store like Thalhimers did. Note the wood paneling on the escalators and elsewhere in the store. The building is to be rebuilt into a hotel and condos.

    If you think that King’s Flea is a dump, all I can say is that the property next door is worse!

    Comment by Dave McGrann — May 1, 2007 @ 10:37 am | Reply

  2. Thanks again for posting this coolest of sites. As the Walnut Mall location indicates, some of these locations have changed or don’t exist at all. The images are like something trapped in bureaucratic amber.

    I looked up Harrisonburg, a town I’ve only passed through once in the early 1980s. Coming from rural Southside VA, I was used to seeing bigger towns/smaller cities like Newport News, Portsmouth, Richmond. But Harrisonburg being the main retail spot for a more remote area, its downtown had one or two big high retail store fronts like from the 40s or 50s. Or so I hazily recall.

    Anyway, while some of the Harrisonburg pics are fairly new, others have to be from the late 1980s. Esp. the long panoramas like this one:

    There’s a sign for Sovran, which was originally Virginia National Bank and was folded into Nations Bank in the late 80s or so. The cars are all from around that time.

    Many retail ghosts to behold, for sure.

    Comment by Kevin Seward — May 1, 2007 @ 10:38 am | Reply

  3. Whoa, I hadn’t seen the Carroll County WalMart shopping center pictures. That image of a Revco Discount Drug is like a photo of a live brontosaurus grazing in a cornfield.

    Comment by Kevin Seward — May 1, 2007 @ 10:52 am | Reply

  4. WOW!!! Those are some ancient pix of Greenbrier Mall. I worked at the Original Cookie Company March 1995 – April 1996. Before I started they’d painted over all the wooden beams and took out the center court staircase.

    Lechter’s, next to KayBee Toys, left in the late 1990’s. I think the chain went under. There was one at Chesapeake Square also. It’s now a pet store. The Cookie Co. left in the early 2000’s and it now a Kay Jewelers. Dillard’s tore down the Profitt’s building and rebuilt. Hecht’s did a huge remodel in the early 2000’s and Macy’s benefitted :).

    For some stupid reason they carpetted the entire 2nd floor except the food court.

    The only reason we go now is 2nd run movies at the Cinema Cafe. Goodness knows I don’t want to pay full price for the latest craptacular “Scoobie Doo” flick. It used to be a 4 screen Regal just inside the Belk (now JC Penney) store on the first floor.

    Comment by KP — May 1, 2007 @ 10:58 am | Reply

  5. Oh! Kevin mentioned Sovran Bank. Bank of America took over the NationsBank building in downtown Norfolk. Just last month they *finally* painted over the Sovran labelscar and put up a fresh BofA sign.

    Comment by KP — May 1, 2007 @ 11:00 am | Reply

  6. And King’s Flea Market — step back a few years and you’ve got King’s Department Store…(think Murphy’s Mart or Woolco) why they set it so FAR off Jefferson is beyond me.

    Of course, it’s a Police Headquarters now, but still. I miss those days.

    Comment by SilverBlue — May 1, 2007 @ 2:52 pm | Reply

  7. >>That image of a Revco Discount Drug is like a photo of a live brontosaurus grazing in a cornfield.

    Comment by Anita — May 1, 2007 @ 4:34 pm | Reply

  8. I actually bought a cooler in that old Wal-Mart once. Several years ago (gosh, I guess it’s been over 10 years) I was at both King’s and the Wal-Mart over the space of about a week doing property inspections on properties located adjacent to both locations. Weird coincidence.

    Comment by Dave McGrann — May 2, 2007 @ 5:58 am | Reply

  9. […] I found those old Virginia (well, MacArthur is up there too) mall photos again. Check out that Walnut Mall photo I profiled. Why…weights?   […]

    Pingback by And Apparently I'm Listening To Music From Sixth Grade « I’m Oates! — May 2, 2007 @ 3:48 pm | Reply

    • Roughly around 2000, there was an independent wrestling company called Solid Gold wrestling that took up residence at Walnut Hill Mall. I am assuming that the weight bench could have been related to training going on there. Just a guess though!

      Comment by Dustin — September 11, 2014 @ 7:48 am | Reply

      • After discussing with a friend, Fairfield Commons was most likely the mall in question where the wrestling group was located.

        Comment by Dustin — September 11, 2014 @ 1:29 pm

  10. Just a heads up for Anita, Dave McGrann, anyone happening by the Virginia Historical Society in Richmond:

    The Va. Hist. Soc. has a semi-permanent exhibit called Virginian At Work. The press release gives the broad strokes:

    But aside from a neat(ish) Best Product display (best thing is a mid-60s catalog), the exhibit has a good sized, fairly new looking Miller & Rhodes sign, and IIRC, some assorted Thalheimer’s artifacts.

    I got to this exhibit late in the afternoon and was kinda fried from the Pocahontas and Jamestown exhibits. Retail is only a sliver of the Va. At Work exhibit. Still, interested parties may want to check out what there is.

    Comment by Kevin Seward — May 18, 2007 @ 8:56 pm | Reply

  11. Er, I meant to say: Virginians At Work. Plural.

    And re KP on surviving Sovran signage in Norfolk–dang, NationsBank/Bk. of Amer., super slackness on your part. But we ancients who remember way back when kinda appreciate that slow reaction time.

    Comment by Kevin Seward — May 18, 2007 @ 9:04 pm | Reply

  12. The VHS is worth seeing. The Valentine Richmond History Center has a neat display of old neon signs as well as the ornate clock that used to hang above the information desk in the downtown Miller & Rhoads. They also have a diVx (sp?) unit with a movie in thier exhibits as well (that was Circuit City’s short-lived proprietary DVD-like system where you bought a movie and it was only good for a couple of viewings – unless you went online or called to buy more time).

    All of the Best Products corporate papers are at VHS and available for research.

    Personally, I have 1964, 1975, and 1975 Best catalogs. My wife has something like the last six or seven as part of her portfolio – she was chief copywriter for Best at one time.

    Comment by Dave McGrann — May 20, 2007 @ 6:29 pm | Reply

  13. >

    Re above Dave McGrann entry: E x c e l l e n t . . .

    Monty Burns impersonations aside–thanks a bunch for the Valentine Richmond History Center tip.

    Comment by Kevin Seward — May 21, 2007 @ 10:21 pm | Reply

  14. I remember going to an arcade at Walnut Mall in the late 80s. The place was called Aladin’s Castle and I thought it was the greatest place ever at that time.

    Also, yes, there is a Wal Mart a few miles south of Walnut Mall, but there’s also an even bigger one by Southpark. The original Wal Mart by Southpark was destroyed by a tornado in 1993/4, and when they rebuilt, the new one (on a different site by Southpark) was the largest one in the US at that time.

    Comment by Mark — May 15, 2009 @ 11:41 pm | Reply

    • Here’s a video of the scenes after that tornado that hit that WalMart:

      Here’s an article too: (cut and pasted from … they can be a bit finicky at times):

      Chains rally to help tornado victims: Virginia twister kills three, injures 200 and flattens a Wal-Mart store – discount stores
      Discount Store News , Sept 6, 1993 by Mary Ellen Kelly

      COLONIAL HEIGHTS, Va. — From within their car, Penny Disse, a Bradlees store manager, and Margaret Stocks, a receiving manager, saw what they believed to be a flock of birds approaching the back of the Wal-Mart store here. As the “flock” neared, however, a van behind Disse’s car was suddenly lifted by the gusts of a tornado. The windows of her car imploded as she and Stocks sought protection beneath the dashboard.

      It wasn’t until hours later that the two Bradlees employees realized that they narrowly escaped a fatal tragedy in the latest of a long list of disasters that have hit the nation over the past 18 months, playing havoc with retail sales and mobilizing discount chain efforts to help the affected communities.

      Covered with glass shards and tarballs, Disse drove her windowless car to the dealership–where she had purchased it the previous day. That’s when she saw on television what had happened to the front side of the Wal-Mart and fully understood the devastation the twister had caused. Disse learned later that the van they saw came to rest “a quarter mile away, upside down, on top of a truck,” she said.

      The Wal-Mart store was left in ruin, a wide swath cut through its center. Two Wal-Mart cashiers and a customer were dead and as many as 200 others in the community were injured as the twister churned the ground here and in nearby historic Petersburg, Va., Aug. 6.

      “It’s so hard to believe that in 30 seconds nothing looks the same,” Disse noted.

      The two women had been in a Red Lobster seafood restaurant across the street and behind the Wal-Mart before getting into the car. While Disse said the weather was bad and that it had begun to “rain sideways,” neither woman had heard any report of a tornado warning nor had they ever witnessed a tornado.

      The list of disasters during the past 18 months has been staggering: floods in the Midwest, hurricanes in Florida and Hawaii, an East Coast blizzard, a riot in Los Angeles–but so have discounter efforts to help the communities and their victims to both prepare and repair.

      Wal-Mart, Kmart and Bradlees are among local businesses trying to help the community and families affected by the tornado Aug. 6.

      Kmart reopened its store in Colonial Heights which was slighty damaged and, with the help of its associate volunteer program, the “Good News Committee” the store is serving as a collection point for money and relief supplies.

      Kmart stores in nearby Chester and Petersburg, Va., have undertaken fund-raising drives, including sales of “Good News” candy bars, with all proceeds benefiting The Red Cross.

      The Bradlees store in Petersburg was left untouched by the tornado and is a distribution hub for merchandise collected through the chain’s Surplus Goods Donation Program whereby slightly damaged or clearance goods are stockpiled to benefit a local charity, according to Bradlees spokesman, Coleman Nee. Bradlees stores in New Jersey and its new store in Yonkers, N.Y., will be making contributions as will the Petersburg store.

      Wal-Mart will rebuild its store and expects to reopen the unit in six to eight months–about the same time Wal-Mart expects to open a Sam’s Club on a nearby parcel of land. The original building cost an estimated $2 million and held $3 million in inventory when the twister struck on a Friday afternoon.

      The Wal-Mart parking lot was jammed with about 1,000 cars; an estimated 150 shoppers were inside when the store was hit.

      Wal-Mart is assisting the families of the first associates to lose their lives from a store disaster and has opened a memorial account at the Bank of Bentonville for associates and others who wish to contribute.

      and a NY times article:

      Comment by Anita — May 15, 2009 @ 11:46 pm | Reply

    • I know this is a very old thread, but I was shocked to find anyone sharing information about the old Walnut Mall. From the age of 9 to 17 years old, I grew up on Linden street just a few minutes walk away. That area was my stomping ground. My buddies and I would cross the nearby train track bridge over traffic to get there (extremely dangerous, stupid, and illegal). The place was not very youth-friendly. There was one store that catered to jeans and iron-on decal t-shirts (very cutting-edge back then). Then the Aladdin’s Castle video gaming and amusements opened shop around ’82 or ’83. It gave us kids a relatively safe place to hang out and gather before they started to frown on such activity; mainly due to a few trouble-makers. I was a military brat and we moved away before my senior year at Petersburg High in ’84. I returned for a brief visit in winter of ’83-’84 to stay with friends and to visit a girlfriend. I was never to visit the old neighborhood again. My long-distance relationship didn’t last and it appears neither did the old mall. The only sure thing in life is change.

      Comment by James L. — March 3, 2010 @ 8:59 pm | Reply

    • Hey Mike, Im from Petersburg…. and I could not wait to go to the arcade while my mom shopped… loved going to The Family Fish House also!!!

      Comment by nikki — June 8, 2010 @ 12:25 am | Reply

  15. It’s great to post those pics and memories. thanks. I witnessed the clearing and construction of both Walnut Mall and Walnut Hill Plaza as a boy.

    I watched as the bulldozers cleared the woods we played in to build them. The ground was filled with Civil War relics and when they graded for the buildings and parking lots, we scoured the red clay and found a treasure trove of war relics…bayonets, cannon balls, belt buckles and buttons,and minnie balls. The woods hid tunnels dug by the confederates and networked to the Crater, the location of the battle of the Crater and now National Battlefield.

    I remember when the rear wall of J M Fields collapsed. It was built on a tunnel. Some entrances were no more than a hole in the ground. Part of our adventure was to build a ladder and climb down to the tunnel, pretty smart huh? We found a smaller scale rail and rail cars in one, but we never told anyone because we were not supposed to be in them. Most people never even knew they existed, but it was part of our Tom Sawyer world.

    The mall fronts Rt 1 which was the main north south highway pre-interstate 95. Across the street, caddy corner sat Fort Hell. Mr. David Lyons was the justice of the peace and ran a tourist venue that sold relics and for $.25 you could walk 50 feet into a tunnel. We sold most of our relic finds to him for candy money. It was really a different time.

    Then the Walnut Mall opened, that was big time in Petersburg, VA. The end of one era and beginning of another. Now that’s ended, too….what will be next?

    Comment by brad m — February 6, 2011 @ 6:09 pm | Reply

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