Memories of Eastwood Mall

I'm still blinking back the tears after visiting you Eastwood Mall section. I can't tell you how many hours I and my friends spent there in the '60s and '70s. So sad it see it in its apparent death throes.

If I concentrated, I could probably draw an outline of the place with every store's location circa mid '60s--our hey day there. Such great memories.

I can answer two question you pose on the site:

That tire out parcel with the McRae's signage on it was originally a Pizitz garage. McRae's I believe took over Pizitz in the early '80s so that's why McRae's sign is there.  Pizitz of course occupied the late Service Merchandize site after the 1966 expansion.

And that Dilly's Hamburger sign with the covered wagon also has a story:  That site was originally a drive through hamburger place called Wagon Ho in the mid '60s. It billed itself as the first drive through restaurant in Birmingham. Or maybe the world. Any, Bham then apparently wasn't ready for the concept of a drive through burger joint (who can say why?) and it didn't last very long.   Dilly's merely recycled the sign.

I read somewhere that what's killed Eastwood is the changing demographics of the neighborhood--all of us kids who would walk five miles to hang out at the Mall all day to pick up this week's WSGN Top Forty Survey, maybe play some pinball at KiddieLand, eat a Pasquales pizza, and if we were really flush, see a movie at the Eastwood Mall Theatre, well, we all grew up and moved away. The neighborhood now consist of elderly empty nesters, so the economic base collapsed and the Mall with it. Of course, the competition didn't help either, what with more upscale Brookwood and Century Plaza right across the street.

Thomas Frieling

Enjoyed your Web site about Eastwood Mall, Mr. Wells.  I grew up in Oneonta AL in the 60s (OHS Class of 1965) and remember when it opened.  I used to bowl at Eastwood Lanes in the early 60s as a teen, and for the
last in the 90s when I was working in B'ham; I noticed that a church had taken over part of the building.  A
beautiful circa 60s and 70s 40-lane Brunswick bowling facility in Vestavia was still open in the late 90s
when I was there, but part of it had been closed off for a shooting range!  Roebuck Lanes, another
beautiful Brunswick property, was where I bowled most often in the 60s, while my mom shopped at Roebuck
Plaza.  Last time I was there, it was a cut-rate furniture store, and highway 75 to Oneonta is now a
4-lane road.

Alan Hull

At one time, say 1997-99 or so, on the little entrance spur opposite leading to the Crestwood Blvd. entrance between Parnells and the Food Court there was an office. Not a store, but an office with one glass door and no windows into the corridor. Above the door in thick chrome letters was the word "FACTS". I think it was some kind of retail market research firm. I haven't asked around, but a friend sent me your site and I thought you might like to hear about it. If I turn up anything else I'll let you know. I thought it was a bit surreal, especially as the mall became emptier and emptier.

John Morse

Your website ...... made me melancholy....

As a kid, Eastwood was the place to go. I remember seeing the movie "The Battle of the Bulge" with my dad in the late 60's and drinking one of those orange ade drinks out of a plastic orange - I must have been about 9 years old...and the Baskin Robbins ice cream place...and buying stuff at Service Merchandise and waiting for it to come down the rollers...

I live in Crestwood - only 2 miles from the mall - but I've not been inside in a couple of years - I'm afraid it would make me too sad.  However, I hope the site will be developed into something good - I'm afraid the structure will probably be torn down...

Thanks for the memories!

Tom Patchen

I saw the article in the Sunday B'ham News about the website, and thought I wouyld comment on a few things I noticed. I have lived all my life about a half mile from Eastwood Mall in nearby Irondale. I was growing up in the late 70's and 80's and I remember all of those places. The wagon train guy sat at the front of the wagon shaped restaurant and as you showed the "Dilly's" sign still stands there. It was named Kelly's Hamburgers in the 70's and I wonder if that's not why they renamed it Dilly's since it was fairly easy to restructure the neon sign into that name. When Dilly's came, the wagon guy disappeared, and I recently saw him in a front yard on a back road in Moody. I almost fell over, cause I knew where that came from. He now advertises a guy's tire business. Also, the Disc Jockey store was down more toward where Party City is, while the Oz store was between the old Eckerd's and Mr. Gatti's. In the old Kiddieland arcade I remember a small kid size bowling alley and a submarine parascope shooting game with the undersea sounds and all. When the Kiddieland closed a sandwich and cake shop opened in it's place called Piece O' Cake. Another store worth mentioning is the old Birmingham Cion and Stamp place down the side corridor across from the side entrance to Newberry's pet store. At that coin store is where I got many baseball cards and stamps for my collections. Oh, the arcade moved to behind Baskin Robbins in the mid 80's and was mainly a Pac Man and Defender style game room. Terry Town was where my mom got most all my clothes when I was little, and I still remember the lady that was always there, Mrs. South. I can remember the theatre being open till maybe the mid 80's. I remember seeing Superman IV there. The Pioneer closed at the Mall several years ago, but the other one in Roebuck just closed a couple of months ago, so now it's gone too. I also remember the Christmas decorations, and how magical it was as a child. I still remember the snoring Santa hanging from the ceiling. Wow.

Shane Paschal

I usually do NOT respond to graphical websites such as yours but this time I am so overwhelmed that I feel I must this time respond.  I moved from Minnesota to Birmingham with my family at 8 years of age in 1956.  We moved into a then new house in the developing neighborhood of Crestwood Hills.  I remember the hype surrounding the opening of Eastwood Mall in 1960 and was greatly disappointed that my mother would not go "to the mall" for several months after EWM opened because she did not want to go "way out there" and fight all of those crowds!

Regarding the star sign atop of the bowling alley, I remember that the center of the star was a sphere divided into two halves that could rotate in opposite directions.  The tentacles of the star were all lit up at night.  With the two halves of the star rotating in opposite directions, that star was the coolest thing to see in the nighttime sky that any 8 year old (or 80 year old for that matter!) could appreciate.

It is disturbing to see a little more of my history vanish from Birmingham.  But time marches on as they say.  Regarding Wall Mart,  today I live a mere five miles from THREE Wal Marts - two of which are Super Wal Marts.  Shopping diversity and competition that places like Eastwood Mall fostered are fast becoming things of the past.

Anyway, I  just want to let you know that I GREATLY enjoyed viewing your website.  Thank you for your effort.

Lowrey D. Fleming

My fondest memory of Eastwood Mall was "cruising".  I cruised in the late 70's.  It would be bumper to bumper traffic in both directions around the entire mall on Friday and Saturday nights.  The Battle of the Bands contest that was held just outside of Oz Records in the parking lot.  My parents taking us to see the fireworks in the late 60's.  To use the restroom at Newberry's you had to put a dime or nickle in a money slot like a bubble gum machine for the door to open.  I have many fond memories of Eastwood Mall and hate to see it like this.  By the way, I live close to Moody and I see that ole cowboy that was on the covered wagon of Dilly's.  You can see him from the main road that runs from Trussville to Moody.

Tracy Isbell

  I loved the Eastwood mall web site...I was there in 1960 on opening day, (this was before Oporto-Madrid was built; you had to take a 2-lane road thru Gate City to get there from East Lake). I was all of 9 years old, and to this day still have an original "poloroid" instant photo that was being demo'ed in the mall (the jacket says "imagine, a photo in just 60 seconds", unheard of in the day).
   No mention on the web site of the 2 GROCERY STORES located in the mall.....Kroger and Winn Dixie; I worked at the Eastwood Mall Kroger (Manager-Percy Sullivan) as a bag boy in the late 60's and early 70's, until Kroger closed all of their stores in Birmingham in October of 72. And Santa at the mall in December; his arrival was always a big deal, with his "helpers" (always pretty high school girls in red mini-dresses and Santa caps). Kroger & Winn Dixie were across from each other, and Santa was always set up between them.
   Anybody remember Greenhalls? (men's clothing?) My first charge account was there....
   And who could forget cruising Shoney's on Friday/Saturday night (technically, not the Eastwood Mall, but sometimes you had to cut thru the mall parking lot).
   And now you tell me it isn't any more?? Say it ain't so.....

Tim Holcombe


I really have mixed feelings about your website. On the one hand, I used to love Eastwood Mall, yet it saddens me to see its obvious decline and closure.

Memories. During my childhood in the 1970's, I remember well the old Newberry's general merchandise store inside the mall. I also remember the old Eastwood Twin theater, Pioneer Cafeteria, and Baskin Robbins; all centered around the western end of the mall. My dad and I used to go to Aeromarine, which was in the mall lot near Montclair Road. If I remember correctly, Pioneer didn't survive for long after the 1988-1990 remodeling and has been closed well over a decade.

My own memories are of Eastwood as a hangout spot on my days off. In 1991, I lived in the nearby neighborhood of East Lake and came to Eastwood on Thursdays to eat pizza, get a yogurt waffle cone at the cookie shop, play "The Simpsons" at Diamond Jim's, and to browse endlessly at Books-A-Million. It's odd because in the late 1980's, Books-A-Million started out in the western end of the mall as a strictly clearance and overstock bookstore that consisted of tables upon tables of books piled up in no discernible order. One of my roommates also worked at the old L&N Seafood restaurant that used to be at the north entrance of the mall near the food court. It didn't last long and to my knowledge, nothing ever replaced it. In my view, Eastwood Mall did have the nicest food court in Birmingham. The open areas and sky lighting made it very appealing with plenty of comfortable seating. My routine was to purchase a paperback at Books-A-Million and read in the food court as I ate S'barro or Seattle Connection. There was also a Philly cheese steak stand that was outstanding, but didn't last long.

The decline seemed to happen comparatively fast. The owners spent all that money renovating the mall only to have tenants make a mass exodus over the next 6-8 years. I remember the western wing of the mall was largely empty by about 1995. By 1999, I think the only tenant was a wig shop as Baskin Robbins, DJ Records, and a smaller gift shop had left. Parnell's was there a while and for a time was the only shop in that section. It's funny that in the same time period Eastwood was remodeled, the Festival Center strip mall opened to the west on Crestwood Boulevard. Despite all the new construction, Festival was (and to my knowledge is) largely empty. Newer malls nearby, a surplus of retail space, and a changing neighborhood have killed Eastwood. I hate to say it, but I don't see how it can recover.

Still, I love the site and it's neat that someone cares,

Brian Jones

Brian: the good thing is, I'm not the only one who cares.  Who'd have thunk a SHOPPING MALL (!) would hold the same sort of fondness in the hearts of Birminghamians as the Oporto Armory, Cascade Plunge, The Hollywood Country Club, et al?  If Brookwood Village had been allowed to wilt instead of being revitalized, I don't think many of us would've mourned its passing all that much.  Same for Century Plaza or Western Hills.  Eastwood, however, was another story.  Besides, none of those other malls ever bothered to offer a giant birdcage! -Russell


I think "Hill's" was a local (Birmingham) chain that Winn Dixie may have bought out; I don't think Hills evolved into WD, but, you are right, although I'm uncertain if the Eastwood Mall location was ever a "Hill's", or started life as a Winn Dixie; I don't remember that.  [pictures added to the site 11/2004 confirm that, indeed, Eastwood Mall had a Hill's Food Store -Russell]

Kroger closed it's stores due to the high transport cost from Atlanta; at that time, I-20 was not complete from Atlanta, and the gov (George Wallace) would not commit to completion, punishing Birmingham/Jefferson County for not voting for him. It was years later before I-20 was complete; you used to have to exit at the
state line, and drive on old 78 (numerous speed traps). And thats probably about the time that Bruno's hit it's stride, takijg over some of the closed Kroger locations.

I grew up in East Lake, attended Banks (THE place to be in the 60's); owned a house there til '79; moved to Vestavia then & recently moved to the Huntsville area, so I don't go by the old haunts as much. They tore down my East Lake childhood home for the "noise abatement" for the airport (never bothered us).

Tim Holcombe


Hi, I grew up in Crestwood and wanted to tell you about the Wagon sign restaurant in the parking lot.
The sign in your picture says "Dilly's", but for most of the 70's it was "Kelly's"

My Mom used to go through the drive thru at the bank (where they always gave me a lollypop) right next to
it and I would beg her to get a hamburger at Kelly's.  Eating out was still considered an extravagance back
then.  I think we tried it once and thought it was greasy or something.  We never tried it again.

Do you remember the big fountain pools in Eastwood before they rennovated it?  Big huge olympic
torch-like structures stood in the middle of big kiddie-pool-type areas.  You could throw coins in and
watch water splash down from those big cement torch things.

And I remember a strange high pitched sqeaky-squealy sound that used to be heard in either Aland's or

I spend lots of years at Century Plaza, too, and could tell you alot about that mall, also.

Lisa Wade


I had to laugh as I was perusing your site on Eastwood Mall... Noting that a majority of your visitors recall Eastwood Mall in the late 70s or Early 80s... Here are long forgotten facts as well:

The movie theatre if I am not mistaken was owned by Fannie Flagg's family.
There was also a jewelry store in the mall that seems to be forgotten.. FEEENYs.  Not sure if these were mentioned.. but here goes..

First off my fathers Furniture store.. MAZER'S for MODERN  was there at least until 1972 or there abouts.. I grew up in that mall, I remember JC Penney, Rexall Drugs, Kiddie Land, Alands, and the original cafeteria.. BARBER's long before Pioneer.  Mazer's Furniture was at that side of the mall across from Barbers (later Pioneer)   Long before Baskin and Robbins.. my dad's store occupied that space as well as several others backing up to BOOKWORLD...(  I think Parnell took over that space)  there was also a small Candy shop in the middle of the mall.. it was owned by a Greek Family .. Sadly I dont remember the name .. just as when we were kids we loved the Greek Ices.  The owner was such a sweet man.

Right near hime was  a piano shop in the middle of the mall in white little building, very similiar to the area that housed the above mentioned candy store.   I remember Eastwood mall with it's brick and concrete walkway.. there was a always the echo of busy feet and happy voices through out the mall.  I do remember Pizitz as well.
 In the early 70s  for some reason , during one of its many updated phases.. the Mall decided to put  GREEN carpeting in... I guess to hush that echo. Not sure...

Newberrys was a favorite haunt of mine as well...

..the Mall has a really interesting history , from being built from a lake.. to being the first enclosed shoping area... to its multiple changes over the years... stores in ... stores out...

One other thing I remember very well.. were the tremendous fire works shows for the 4th of july... One of the shows was at the area where a shoping strip across the street from eastwood mall which at one time housed Zayres.. but prior to there ever being a shoping strip there , there were fireworks every year. One year things got a bit out of hand,.. the FIREWORKS were wonderful... however , because it had not rained much that summer , there was a big fire on the side of the hill .. when the spent fireworks were coming down.. the hillside caught fire... pretty soon firetrucks were there and all was taken care of. We watched all of this from the very front of that grand old Eastwood mall..

One last note... in one of the malls attempts to draw shoppers on that particular weekend of the fireworks fiasco.. they had a Midnight shopping extravaganza going on.. Eastwood mall would be opened until mid night .. I do not know if they ever did one of those Midnight shopping events  again.. however it was one of the last events I remember at the mall from the early 70s.

Hope that adds some more history to mall that tried to be ahead of its time...

Honi Mazer


Loved remembering Eastwood Mall.  My grandaddy, Newman Waters, built the mall and my sister, Lois, cut the ribbon on opening day - she was about 5.   What great memories I have of shopping there, going to movies ("Bigdaddy" owned movie theaters and drive-ins in the area) and finally bowling!

Can't someone with some vision turn Eastwood Mall into a park?  I live, again, in the area, and love being home.

Judy Jolly


I live in a suburb in Sydney, Australia called Eastwood.  I was in Birmingham in 1994, staying just down the road from Eastwood Mall, so it reminded me a bit of home.  It was still going strong then.  What are the malls surrounding Eastwood?  I seem to remember JC Penny's across the road and another large shoe shop up the hill.  We have a mall called The Eastwood Centre and it is getting a bit tired too, having been built in the early 1970's.

Lindsay Rogerson -- Sydney, Australia


While doing some research via the internet on Liggett Rexall Drug Company, I came across your website on Eastwood Mall in Birmingham.  My father, Bob Burns, worked for Liggett Rexall and supervised the company's
soda fountains throughout the South in the 1950s and part of the 1960s.

My father traveled regularly to Birmingham while I was growing up. When I came across your website and the mention of Liggett Rexall, I knew I had found one of Dad's old stores. When I saw the photo from Josh Brasseale that shows the birdcage in front of Liggett Rexall (with part of its soda fountain showing), I was really excited - especially when I noticed the figure of a man in a white shirt behind the soda fountain at the very end
of the counter with his back to the camera - that's my Dad!

Karen Burns Pfeifer


Several of your other writers mentioned things that I recall.

* RE Honi Mazer's note, I remember Mazer's for Modern; hadn't thought of them in years.

* RE Tim Holcomb's note, I remember Greenhall's men's shop.  Very nice preppy clothing.  My mom shopped
for me at Black's or Jones and Lawless more often, though.

* The writer who described how the Eastwood Lanes starburst rotated got it exactly right; there were two
halves with neon-lite (sp?) spires attached to each half, and the halves rotated in opposition to each other.

Thanks again for such a labor of love.  Wish someone would do the same for Roebuck Plaza.

Alan Hull


Some random thought/observations:

You mentioned Colonial Stores as one of the original stores. That triggered a dim memory:  I believe Colonial pre-dated Hills as the grocery store across from Kroger's. I still remember that rooster logo they used. Or maybe I'm totally wrong on this. Can any of your other readers confirm this?
Colonial Stores 'rooster' logoTom: I think you're on target -- I gather this is the logo you're thinking about?  The original "grand opening" ad from 1960 had COLONIAL STORES listed among the 'charter' tenants.  I don't remember seeing HILL'S anywhere.  There's a nice write-up about Colonial, and all the other major grocery store chains past and present on (this image of the logo was 'borrowed' from there)-Russell

Does anyone remember the name of the men's clothing store next to the Mall Theatre and opposite Camera world?

That panorama shot is absolutely fantastic--it really makes the Mall come alive again!

It prompted another lost memory:  For several years in the mid-'60s something called "The Chevy Show" came to the Mall. It was , of course, a PR effort by GM to showcase the new year Chevrolet models., They set up this inflatable dome which was a theatre in front of the Liggets area. The movies were sort of like Cinerama in that they were projected on the curved dome and it gave you the impression of being in the movie. Sort of an early visual version of surround sound I guess. Anyway, it was free and we kids loved it, going to see it several times each year it came.

And there is The Holland House outside entrance, just as I remember it!

You ask about the derivation of the name of the women's clothing shop Friend Sisters. Well, it was owned by three, I think, sisters whose last name was Friend. They went to our church. And they had another store in Eastlake in the '60s as well.

That shot of the two story Lerner Shops:  I believe that second story was where the Mall Office was located.

But I'm still trying to place the location of the Mall Record Store. I know it was opposite Kresge's on the Holland House side, but I can't quite square its location with Lerner's. I really need that time machine!

Regarding Santa's helicopter arrival:  I remember one year it was really windy and obviously the pilot didn't want to risk landing Santa in high winds in the small landing space in the parking lot down by the go cart track surrounded by hundreds of kids. One gust of wind and he'd have decapitated dozens of us! So he flew down to the other end of the parking lot and landed it on the open spaces near the bowling alley. I remember all of us running down there and watching Santa hiking into the Mall.  But no kids were harmed in the delivery of Santa!

The McDonalds across from the Mall on Montclair:  That was my first real job. I started working there when it opened in July 1971 and stayed for over six months while I was a Freshman at UAB. I did it all in those six months--flipping burgers, making fries, working the counter, sweeping up the trash at that playground. They made honest-to-God real french fries back then. And during my stint there, they introduced the Quarter Pounder. It was a real big deal. The entire crew was brought in on a Saturday morning (this was before they served breakfast at McDonald's) to learn how to prepare the new product. It was done with a seriousness of purpose normally reserved for moon missions or brain surgery. Back then McDonald's was a tightly run organization--they really wanted the customer to have a quality product. Wish it seemed that way today.

And, yes, I'm 99% sure that is Ed Levins next to Mr. Kroc. He frequently made the rounds and always spoke to us. A great guy. And a neighbor of our's for many years in Crestwood--lived up the street on Clairmont. At Christmas he would dress up as Santa Claus and wave from his balcony to the throngs of cars taking in the Crestwood Christmas lights (in the '60s our neighborhood had a deserved reputation as the place to go to see the best Christmas lights).

Ok, I'll stop there and try to return to the 21st Century. Reluctantly.

Keep adding to the site!

Tom Frieling


Another contributor mentioned "Standard Distributors" having been in the mall.  I do not recall "Standard Distributors" being there.  I believe they are confusing the old "Feeny Sales Co." store on the Montclair Road side (back) of the mall, which was accessed through the entrance next to Pasquales Pizza.  Both Standard Distributors and Feeny Sales Co. were small, locally owned Catalog Showroom Stores which failed in the 1980's--very much like Golbro and Service Merchandise which both failed in the 1990's.  Only Golbro has survived--as a jewelry store with fine giftware, now just east of the mall on the opposite side of Crestwood Boulevard.  I had worked as a management trainee at the Feeny's store in Eastwood Mall from the Autumn of 1978 till the Spring of 1979 when I was transferred to their Roebuck Shopping City store.  Feeny's had been owned and run by the Feinberg family for 28 years before selling to an investor and it's own Comptroller who threw it into bankruptcy in 1980 within one year.

I also was a "Jewelry Manager" for Service Merchandise at Eastwood Mall in 1983 and 1984.  The store was located in the old Pizitz location after they moved across the street to Century Plaza.  The second floor housed the management offices, cash office, jewelry lockup and warehouse space for Service Merchandise.  It was not open to the public.

My first memory of the Eastwood Mall Theatre was seeing "The Sound of Music" there in 1964 or 1965 when I was in the 4th grade.  I believe I saw that flick 9 times there at Eastwood Mall.

I hate to see the Grand Ol' Lady go this way, but I guess it was inevitable.  After all, there are no more hot fresh Krispy Kreme doughnuts up at the corner any more!

Jim McKelvy -- Chatsworth, GA


What I remember most  are two things. I remember a local radio station was going to drop several hundred ping pong balls with numbers for shopping prizes from a  helicopter. and all the balls flew into the woods where  Toys are Us used to be and most if not all of us did not get one. I also remember the old starlite drive in where KMart is now. We would go there for dates and take a whole car oad of people (one price)  withh some even in the trunk. My mom always loved the Hallmark shop in the middle and would go there right after Christmas to get cards for next year, Yes I remember Eastwood. We would drive our bikes down from Crestline when it was  under construction and stand up on the hill watching it go up



Does anyone besides me remember the small amusment park and carpet golf course that used to exist next to the bowling alley. As I remember it, there was a small ferris wheel, a small roller coaster and a carpet golf course. It was on the right as you would look at the bowling alley. Did it have a name and if so when did it close down ? I seem to remember birthday parties there as well.

John Young


A couple of items I did not see mentioned...that there was a go-cart race track right beside the Mall when first built -- on the east side. And the opening day promotion involved dropping ping pong balls out of a helicopter with numbers that coincided with prizes. I almost got killed over a 25 cent kerosene lamp.

C. S. Matthews


My dad sent me the link to your website.  I was 4 years old when construction began in 1960.  My dad was
Director of Inspections Services for the City of Birmingham at the time Eastwood Mall was built.  He lost a shoe
in the foundation of Eastwood Mall when he walked into soft spot in the cement during a routine inspection of the site!  Shoe's still there as far as we know!

Of my fondest memories of Eastwood Mall was the Saturday movies for kids.  Mother would drop us off at the
huge theatre on a Saturday morning, we'd pay our 50 cents to get in, buy a Coke, popcorn, and candy, then go
sit in the rocking seats (always on the left side!) and watch a Tarzan movie (usually) with hundreds of other
screaming kids.  Once the movie was over, we'd call our mother to come pick us up, then wander over to the
small amusement park/rides next to the bowling alley.  Mother would usually pick us up there after we'd ridden a
few rides.  Made for a great Saturday!

And yes, the name of the store was Friend Sisters, not Three Sisters.  It opened
originally on 3rd Ave. N. and moved to Eastwood Mall.

Thanks for the memories!

Cathy Sasser


I loved the Eastwood Mall site! Gosh, I can remember when I was a kid wondering why there were two malls
side by side and thinking Eastwood would eventually get the shaft end of the deal.

My earliest memory of Eastwood is a dark one. My mother, sister and I had gone to Godfather's Pizza. At that
time people were just getting acquainted with the cell phone's early ancestor, the pager.  My Mom had one and
it went off in the middle of our pizza dinner. We made our way out to some pay phone that was near those big
fountains with the concrete "torches." The phone call was to inform us that my father had been in a car accident.
Funny, I don't remember the gravity of the situation as much as I remember those torch shaped fountains. Seems to me they were varied shades of blue or green.

I also remember the remodeling of the mall that took place in the early '90s.  I was at the opening ceremony and
I can remember that huge mass of TV screens. Seems like they only showed car commercials and patriotic
pictures. I do remember the huge flag, and I think it was put in place around the time of the First Gulf War.

Usually on Sundays during that time, (my older brother was serving in the Middle east) we'd go have lunch at
the Ruby Tuesday's right at the main entrance. That was when they served the pumpernickel bread with honey
butter while you browsed the menu.  Then we walked around the newly remodeled mall to marvel at the topiary circus animals magnificent glass ceiling...  yeah, I know the Galleria's is bigger.

Now as to the mystery "cookie" store in your ghost tour. That was in fact THE ORIGINAL COOKIE CO. and was
not to be confused with Century Plaza's Great American Cookie Co.  When I was in high school, I worked at the
"Great American" one across the street at Century Plaza. This would have been around 1994 it that store is still
there and actually looks exactly like I remember it... awful mirrored wall that had to be continuously cleaned, S-shaped pie safe and all.  Anyway, we knew all to well that right across the street was "the Original" and
customers often got confused when they came to pick up their cookie cakes, (you had to order in advance
then). The difference was that "Original" offered colored icing whereas "American" did not. Just plain ole' hum drum chocolate or vanilla. We envied them for the creative pallet they had been given by some gracious

We also envied the fact that Eastwood at the time was in her death throws. She was quiet and very
rarely felt the consumer rush on weekends in those days. Century Plaza was still waging a good fight with other
malls at the time and would pummel the mall workers with all manners of horrible events designed to attract
shoppers, (FAMILY FUN NIGHT or JINGLES THE BEAR)!  My eye still gets a twitch when I think of it!  And Ah, good ole' quiet, graceful, mall-walker Eastwood Mall!  On those days we longed to have worked over there.

We even use to threaten our manager we'd quit and join the competitor, the ORIGINAL COOKIE COMPANY! Only, we stayed at Century... you could still smoke inside the mall there and they had the last Hickory Farms
store where you could score a free lunch by looking like you were interested in buying the soup.

I do remember watching a very small, string like tornado zip through the Eastwood parking lot during my
teenage indentured servitude at Century.  It was the one that blew the windows out of the BMW building
downtown, shook South Trust tower, killed a few of the ancient trees lining Highland Golf Course, and bounced
over the hill to Crestwood Blvd.  By that point, the storm was only up to rocking some of the cars in the
Eastwood parking lot... but the point is that the parking lot was actually full!

I never had ice cream at the Baskin Robbins there because you had to take out a small loan to afford even a
scoop (no wonder they went out of business) but I did by a suit at Parisian's and, oh god, fake glasses at one of
the cheap jewelry stores... Topkapi I think.

One more fuzzy memory.  I remember going with my Dad on birthdays to Service Merchandise. One year I
helped him pick out a cuckoo clock for my mother.  On another occasion, we picked out a clock radio/alarm for my sister that played "Spring" from Vivaldi's Four Seasons.  That was also how I got my very own, first TV.

Thanks for creating such a great site. Sometimes I feel really sad to look around the places I grew up in and see
that it is all in a state of decay.  It really seems like this whole city is rotting out from under us. Maybe at some
point it will end up a sea of door to door super Wal-marts like the fate of the old Roebuck K-mart with the noisy Icee machine. God, let's hope not!

Keith B. Kendrick

Taylor's at Eastwood Mall.  Don't know when it came but it was where I bought my wedding clothes in 1970.  I think it was owned by Parisian or another Department store in Birmingham.  It was near Blach's and only had women's clothes.  A higher end than Pizitz or Loveman's.

I lived a couple of miles from there and spent most Saturdays.   I think it opened when i was  7,8,9.  They gave away free turtles on opening day and had $1,000,000 in cash in a see-through  glass in the middle of the mall.

Kroger was at the end.  That's where my Mom shopped every Saturday for groceries.

Many memories.  It was my home away from home.

J.C. Penney's anchored the middle.  It keeps coming.



Tom Frieling was trying to remember the location of the old record store at Eastwood Mall.  It was directly across from Kresge's, on the very end next to the east doors.  It was very narrow and had a freight door on the east side of the mall structure, instead of on the north wall.

Honi Mazer said the movie theatre was owned by Fannie Flagg's family.  I don't know who owned it, but when I began work there in the summer of 1968 Fannie Flagg's father, Bill Neal, was the projectionist and later became the manager.

John Young was asking about the name of the small amusement park next to the bowling alley. It was "Fun Town."  Remember the helicopter ride, John?  It was my favorite.  I don't remember when it closed down.  Again, when I worked at the movie theatre, they had installed a large slide, at least 2 stories tall with 3 or 4 cascades.  We used to go there after work and slide for hours, just to relieve the boredom of being cooped up with a movie we'd all seen a thousand times.  That was in 1968, and was my last memory of that little park.  I started college in the summer of 1970 and really never lived close to the mall again until 1998, when it was on its last leg.

Russell, that "sandspur" thing is, I believe, a mobile sculpture based on Sputnik, the Soviet space satellite launched in 1957.  Does anyone remember the "Boom Boom Room", the lounge inside the bowling alley?  There was an identically named lounge in the TV series, "77 Sunset Strip."

Does anyone remember the artesian well which was on the original site?  I remember going there in the mid-50s on a Sunday outing.  The water was so fresh and cold.  It was a shame that the well was not preserved in some way, but it gave its' life in a good cause, the original mall air conditioning.  It was always such a cool and wonderful oasis on a hot summer's day.

The picture of the mammoth bird cage really brought back memories, as did the picture of the fountain.  Thanks to all who contributed to this site.  It has been a real trip down memory lane.

Janice Littlepage

Janice: THANK YOU for the insight on the "sandspur" ... how fascinating!  -RW


Thanks for all your hard work in putting together this site and of course, thanks for the obvious fondness for Eastwood Mall you have shared with everyone.

My mother and one of her friends bravely took me and another four-year old to the opening day and I remember being awe-struck by the size, the constant 73 degree interior, the fountains, the whole place.  I remember the many changes the mall went through, the expansion for the theater when it was just one screen, and the expansion on the other end toward Pizitz.

I was there in 1976 (?) when the movie STAY HUNGRY held its premiere at the Eastwood Mall Theater and Arnold Schwarznegger showed up.  Most people had no idea who he was, but I'd been in one of the crowd scenes, filmed downtown at 1st Ave and 21st Street (outside of the Protective Life building where I was a summer hire).  I remember muttering, "I thought he was taller than that..."

I also wanted to mention that the bridge at the McDonald-Land site had the wonderfully literate sign, "The Bridge Over the River Fry."  It took a couple years before I understood the genesis of such a pun.

One other "landmark" in the area that I remember with great fondness was Two Jacks, Back to Back when they inexplicably built that second Jacks that faced Crestwood Blvd.  As school kids, we used to sing, "Jack's Hamburgers for fifteen cents are so bad, bad, bad.  You'll go back, back back to sue ol' Jack for more, more, more... "  Weird Al had no fear of our abilities to parody. <g>

One last memory--KiddieLand.  My mother would never let me go there (across from Western Auto) but once she explained how the "dancing chicken" was made to dance, I begrudgingly agreed that it wasn't a suitable place for small children.  Therefore, it was always a forbidden fantasy that I never got to sample.  Drat the luck...<g>

Again, thanks.  I just referenced the site to a discussion board where someone mentioned another closure near Eastwood Mall and I thought it was high time I sent you my compliments on a job well done.

Laura (Beard) Hayden
who grew up in Forest Park/Avondale, now an author living in Colorado


(Regarding) the Dancing Chicken at Kiddieland in the Mall:  I don't remember this attraction, if that's the word for it, being located at Kiddieland, but do remember it in the Bowling Alley for a short time.

For those who never saw the Dancing Chicken, it was a real live chicken in a glass cage. You'd put a quarter in and some calliope-type music would play and the chicken would come out and "dance" on this slippery turntable type thing.

Insensitive ten year olds like us thought it funny, but now years on, I can see it was a truly sad spectacle.  Fortunately, the ASPCA must have quickly shut the thing down, because it didn't last very long. Thankfully.

Thomas J. Frieling


As a child growing up in the Woodlawn Highlands Section of Birmingham (5401 9th Avenue South), phone number was WOrth 1-6068.  I remember the entire area that was to become Eastwood Mall.

Hwy 78 was a two-lane highway during part of my time, Crestwood Shopping Center was just a dream as was all of what is now Crestwood.

The property that Eastwood Mall is on was blessed with about four artesian wells.  We (the boys in the neighborhoods) had build sand lot baseball fields out there.  The rest of the area was used for exploring and as we got older, parking after dark to the sound of the wells pouring out water.

We would go in the caves that were all over the area in the hills that surrounded the property where the Mall was to be.  People tell me that there were not caves in those hills, I'm sorry but I have been in many of them, don't know what happened to them except the one who's entrance was right on hwy 78, the Highway Department closed it with cement.

First came the four-lane highway for hwy 78 and the extension of Oporto Avenue, making it four-lane.

I remember that the general public did not want the Mall to be built at first.  There were all kinds of public hearings about it, but the Mayor, Chief of Police, head of the Jefferson County Commission wanted it built and the business were lined up to have a spot in this thing called a Mall.

When we would go to the Starlight, we would always go through the Mall parking lot just to see what was going on, sometimes we made a stop at the "Krispy Kreme" to pick up donuts or the the Howard Johnson to get ice cream.

I remember the first wreck that I ever saw at the intersection of Hwy 78 and Oporto.  It was between a Motorcycle and a Car.
Both people survived, but the Motorcycle rider almost didn't make it.

I remember a Birmingham Policeman was killed at that intersection in the early 70's - shot to death - the killers ran down Oporto avenue in their car and ended up at the Wahoma Motel across the street from my father's drug store.  This happened on a Christmas Day.

I do not remember a place on the Mall property with Carnival rides, but I do remember the Go-Cart Track.  That was a great place to go on a saturday - either that or the Irondale Ice Skating Rink that was about a mile from the Mall.

The Mall was a tremendous success, you could go on Saturday and almost not be able to walk there were so many people.
People all the way from the Georgia line would come to shop.  The Mall brought businesses all up and down the area, the Gulas family built a "private club" in the curve right above the Mall.  You had to be a member to get in, it was open on Sundays if you were a card carrying member.  As the years went on it became open to the public!

Bought my first gun at Aero Marine and my first fishing boat from the as well.

After the new theater was built, a furniture store was added, an ice cream place and of course a Morrison's Cafeteria.  I think the first name was "Britlings" then changed to Morrison's - Not sure about that.  But the waiters wore gold coats.  I knew most of them by name, they all came from the Woodlawn area and got their medicine from my fathers drug stores.  We were a Rexall Store but not like the one at the Mall that was owned by Rexall.

I do remember the Mall flooding one time, not sure when, I remember the engineers getting upset because the parking lot was sinking, they were talking so much water from the wells to cool the building.

There is a old tale that a river runs under that Mall, down through Woodlawn, under the Old Woodlawn Baptist Church and comes out about the Black Warrior River.  I do not know this for sure, but I have heard this all of my life.

I appreciate your memories and pictures of Eastwood Mall, many of us got to see that place being built.  It will always hold a special place for me.  I spent many a day walking those halls.

James G. "Butch" Fadely


I grew up in old Woodlawn: North 48th St. and Georgia Road. (WOrth 9-9718, Butch)

I played baseball  for the Gate City 11 year old YMCA team and I remember practicing in a sandlot across Hwy 78 and Oporto Road simply called "78."   (Re Gate City: I was at a party here in Montgomery last year and was introduced to someone who had also grown up in Birmingham.  He tried the old "I was so poor growing up in Birmingham..." routine on me until I mentioned playing baseball in Gate City.  He later admitted to a friend that he had been "out-ghettoed.")

Oporto Road, as it was known then, featured a one-lane wooden bridge over the L&N railroad tracks.  The bridge was nearly covered in kudzu.

We moved to South East Lake, under the fire tower, when I started high school (Go Jets! Like Eastwood mall, another icon destroyed...).

A friend I met when we were counselors at Camp Winnataska got me my first job in the stock room at the JC Penney in Eastwood Mall in the summer of 1966. I later moved up to selling men and boys' clothing.  We wore square JC Penney name plates that featured our name and the slogan "Like it? Charge it?"   I still have one friend's parent remind me of that motto even today...   Our top of the line silk and wool men's suit sold for $65.  I remember waiting on the TV weather guy (whose name I cannot recall) who billed himself as "The last of the big-time weather forecasters."

The following summer I "graduated" (again, thanks to my friend) to working at Greenhall's for Jim Junkins. I worked part-time there at Christmas and during the summer through the rest of college.  Even when I had other "day jobs," I'd come in for a couple of hours in the evening and work all day on Saturdays. Usually I just gave them back my paycheck to pay for all the clothes I had stashed away in the back.  I dressed well back then...I have four daughters and look like it today...

No one's mentioned this, but the Social Security Administration had their Birmingham Payment Center on the windowless second floor of the Mall, down on the west end.  There must have about a hundred folks that worked up there and I spent a summer working for them as a claims clerk.  On some lunch hours, I would run downstairs and work at Greenhall's.

Working at the Mall gave you the opportunity to see all of your friends and get paid for it.  Sometimes they would even buy stuff. I had a girlfriend who worked at Aland's and when I had to make cash deposits at the BTNB branch in the Mall, I'd sneak off after going to the bank to visit her.  All Mall employees had to park away from the stores, so that the paying customers could park up close.  It was spooky to walk outside into the north parking lot at 9:30 at night and seeing only your car in the lot.

One thing about working retail at Penney's and Greenhall's: we spent an awful lot of time keeping the stock straight.  I can't go into a retail store today without subconsciously straightening shirts or sweaters.

 Some other memories:

- My family used to go to the Ho Jo's for a late breakfast every Easter Sunday.

- The strawberry pie at Shoney's on date nights - nothing today compares to it.

- Going to The Luau on Prom Night my Junior year and everybody at our table snickering when we ordered the "PuPu Platter."

- Eating lunch at the Holland House while working at Greenhall's.

- The "Boom-Boom Room" at the Eastwood Lanes.  The last time I was in there was the night I came back from Southeast Asia in '73. I had never seen guys wearing shoes with heels...

John Conway


Until I started reading the site, I had forgotten how much time I'd spent out there.  Seeing the old pictures and reading all the email you posted, reminded me of all the great memories I have from the Mall.  (That's what we called it...never Eastwood Mall, just "The Mall").

All of my bicycles in my formative year came from the Western Auto, we loved going to that store just to look at the new bikes.  I remember that they had sleds too.  I eventually got a sled from Santa that was from Western Auto though I didn't know it at the time.  And since it seldom snowed here...I still have that sled at my parents house and it's in fairly good condition.

I remember seeing The Sound of Music in the theater.  My best friend came along with my family to a Friday night movie.  I remember that during the "declaration of love scene" at that gazebo, when they burst into the song about "Perhaps I had a wicked childhood",  my friend said very loudly, "Why are they singing? Why don't they just kiss?"  Most of the people in the theater started laughing.

My eighth grade class had our "banquet" at the Holland House...We danced to the 70 hits and sneaked into the bathroom for sips of hot Miller beer in those tiny Pony bottles that someone (I actually remember who but will refrain from saying) had pilfered from her parent's refrigerator.  We thought we were hot stuff.   I wore an off-white long dress with spaghetti straps and white sandals (which I'm fairly sure my mother and I bought at Lerner) and had a new Farrah Faucett hair cut with "wings" that night.  We were a wild bunch of 13 and 14 year olds or so we thought.

I believe that the Holland House later became an ice cream parlor of some sort.  Maybe a Farrell's or something like that? A few years later my church youth group would go out on a Sunday night after church and pretend it was "someone's" birthday just to score a free sundae for the person with no money that night... and shortly there after I think it became Godfather's Pizza.

I have pictures of me on the Eastwood Santa's lap over many years, and then pictures of me with my little sister on Santa's lap for even more years.   I think for a while they called Santa's area something like "the North Pole Village", and yes the elves were local high school girls.  Some of them were classmates of my older sisters who I began to recognize as I got older.

I want to say that for a few years some of the schools in the area were asked to decorate Christmas trees in the mall as part of the Christmas decorations or maybe as part of a contest.  Does any one else remember doing that as a class project or as a girl scout troop?  It was a big deal to go out to the mall during the holidays to look at all the different trees on display.

When I played softball at Southside (Avondale Park) the park officials would give us a "free hamburger" from Kelly's hamburgers when we made a homerun.  Eventually they stopped that because Kelly's was going broke giving away all those hamburgers for homeruns off errors.   :)  Maybe that's ultimately what ran them out of business?

I also remember that the "Boom-Boom" room eventually became a T.P. Crockmires (sp).  It was one of the few places in town that you could buy a beer on a Sunday afternoon when Birmingham didn't sell alcohol on Sundays, because they made it a "private" club, and sold memberships for a whopping $5.00.

Anyway, thank you for reminding me of happy times...and an unforgettable part of my youth.

Ramona "Lee" McBride


Eastwood and I were born about a month apart.  The opening day was the day one of my best friends from Banks High School was born.  Growing up in East Lake we most often shopped at the Roebuck Shopping City, which was but a short ride down the tree-lined 4th Avenue South.  But Eastwood was another matter.  In those days the trip involved going down many a neighborhood street and across the black bridge at Red Gap across the railroad tracks.  That rare trip meant the destination was that much more special.

I remember looking down Crestwood at night at the many wonderful old marquee signs for Shoney's, Arby's, and Holiday Inn, the mother of all neon signs.  Over the years there were many memories of many places in the mall.  There was the fountain outside Penney's; the constant music of the organs for sell in the corridor, and that awful high pitched squeal outside Pizitz's my Mom could not hear.

I especially remember a time around December of 1968 and a great display of the brand new Mattel Hot Wheels and N-Gauge train sets at Penney's.  My Dad was very taken with the fast cars, and bought a few.  And what do you know, Santa brought us Hot Wheels and N-Gauge train sets that year!  Another memory was the night a young director with the last name of Spielburg produced an intense car chase movie called "Duel".  Mom and Dad told us that people in the mall were gathered around the TV sets in the stores, mesmerized as we were at home when we found this spectacle while "surfing" all three stations for something to watch!

Later, in the 1970's there was the awesome Great American Hamburger and Soda Fountain. I went there many times as a teenager, including for graduation.  They had wonderful ice cream and burgers.  My Mom once made the mistake of allowing one of my nephews order the Kitchen Sink.  Needless to say she was shocked at the amount of burger, fries, and beans the huge sink could hold!

A common sight at the mall was my grandparents in their booth at the many gem and mineral shows or craft shows that seemed so frequent.  They sold many a rock or ring there.  And movies.  Here was where I first saw 2001: A Space Odyssey, my favorite film, though at the time I had no idea what I was seeing!

In my college years I recall some roadside vendors beside Krispy Kreme selling large foam cowboy hats with stobe light in the top part!  Those were wild!

In 1987, the mall was remodeled and my son was born, yet another tie to my life.  I  know that the mall will never recapture the glory days, but there has to be a better plan than slapping up another bland Wallyworld.  I hope someone thinks of it soon.  In the mean time, someone please save the bowling alley sign, before it vanishes.  How great it would be to see it resored to its former colorful glory!



Looking at the fine photography, creative captioning and reading all these memories of Eastwood Mall has brought back a flood of things I'd forgotten, all serving to remind me just how important a place The Mall was in my life.

Remember when it opened, how people asked,"What the heck is a mall, anyhow?"  We'd never heard the term except for Pall
Mall cigarettes.  For Birminghamians, Eastwood Mall was unbelievably elegant.

Opening night was one of the biggest events I ever attended, and people were walking around with their mouths gaped open like they were seeing the Grand Canyon or something.  I was there with my girlfriend, whose father had been an electrical inspector during its construction.  Besides the stores, there was also a fallout shelter on display near the west entrance.

We had been in the area before when I was a child, to drink from the artesian wells mentioned earlier by Butch Fadely.  This was considered out in the country during the early Fifties, although the hills where Century Plaza is now were covered with mill houses once owned by the Ruffner mines and the blooming mill that stood where Marks Village was later built.  As mentioned, Oporto Road was a very narrow two-lane over a rickety railroad bridge.  Two cars could pass on it, but if a truck were already on the bridge you had to wait at the other end for it to pass.  Madrid Avenue was also two-lane, and lined with old mill houses.

 I also recall the lighted fountain inside the Mall, with it's huge volume of water flow and changing colors.  Just the place to sit and cuddle with a date while building one's courage toward better things.  I have some time-lapse nighttime color slides of that big star-ball atop the bowling alley and also of the amusement park with its spinning rides.

The 4th of July fireworks actually got out of hand more than once.  I recall taking my son out there to watch them, when they started mis-firing and going into the crowd.  I had to carry Cleve out on my back because fire was everywhere and he was barefooted.  These days we'd be talking major lawsuits, but nobody had such thoughts back then.

Remember Kresge's?  Here's a bit of trivia for ya'll:  The K in K-Mart stands for Kresge's, its parent store.  Like its offspring, Kresge's was a discount store.

In answer to another posted question, I think the men's store next to the Mall Theatre was either Stein's or Stein-Mart.

I remember the dancing chicken as well a drum-playing duck.  This arcade got into a bit of trouble with their Death Race game, a primitive TV amusement in which seated drivers used a steering wheel, gas pedal and brake to run down electronic pedestrians on the big screen.  Child's play by today's standards, but scandalous in those days.   ("Grand Theft Auto: The First Generation"??? -Webmaster) Later, in about the same location, they built a slot-car parlor.  It had a huge wooden track with many lanes, and the place stayed crowded all the time.

As the Mall aged, its halls became a hangout for heart patients, who walked briskly along the inside walls.  They would run you down if you got in their way, as they were supposed to always follow the same measured path at a given pace.

The Mall opened when I was a young adult, and I have shared in its entire history.  It's hard not to compare the Mall's glorious life cycle and eventual demise with one's own.

Jerry Smith


I remember in 7th grade, when Parisian had consumed the majority of the space, sending Oz into what would become the pathetic Turtles -- but still with BACK DOOR access on the Oporto side.  The OZ characters were all out there, but you tell me...HOW, pray tell, was a 7th grader going to get these home, ESPECIALLY with uncooperative parents who did not want any more JUNK cluttering up the house, especially of HUMAN size.

Damn, just to have one of those winged monkeys.

Don't think I forgot the time we went....OZ in FULL GLORY.

And what did you buy.....PETE the FACE and Empty Glass, which doesn't really stand any time test, if you ask this lifelong obsessed WHO'S NEXT fanatic. But I sure did enjoy taking that 8 track back to my room and listening OVER and OVER to LET MY LOVE OPEN THE DOOR.

Chris Wood -- Webmaster's second cousin (whom I was with when I made that infamous 8-track purchase at OZ Records in Eastwood).  Said 8-track is long gone, replaced eons ago with a (used) LP copy, which - alas - I still have.


I just happened upon your web site and really enjoyed it. Loved all the old pictures and makes me wish times were back to the "generic family" and happy, simpler days!   [You, and so many others .... :-/  -Webmaster]

I am only 24, but fondly remember going to Eastwood with my mom and grandmother in the early to mid 1980s. It was one of the first memories I even have! I have not been there for a couple of years, and it was sad to see the condition the mall was in then. I do have a question though - was there a Mr. Gatti's inside Eastwood at one time? I remember eating at Mr. Gatti's at a mall with my family long ago and it seems as though it was Eastwood.

I wish someone could preserve the mall rather than just turning it into another Sam's or Wal-Mart or junk strip mall. Sad to see so much of Birmingham's history fade away.

J. Hallmark


Your site really brings back the memories. I am now 50 and eastwood mall is one of my earliest memories and I feel like she and I grew up together. Originally, before I could drive my Mom would drop us off outside Pasquales and that would be our base of operations for mall exploits. Then at age 16 I began cruising in my racing orange 1970 Roadrunner around the mall, especially Shoney's.

I would like to mention a couple of things I remember that I didn't see in your site. Inthe amusement park next to the bowling alley, they had the flying cages where thru muscle power alone you tried to make the cage you were in go all the way in a 360 degree circle over the top. Why in the world that was fun is lost to me now! the other thing in the park was the super slide which was very popular for a while. The bowling alley itself was one of our major hangouts. Always trying to get a peek into the Boom Boom Room which was very mysterious to us as to what actually went on in there. There were very few clubs in B'ham at that time. One of the few fist fights I was ever in growing up took place in the covered area autside the bowling alley. Lesson: Kids from Gate City knew a lot more about fighting than kids from Mt Brook!

As for the movie the movie theater, The movie I remember seeing there the most vividly was Bonnie and Clyde which was very graphic for its day. Then, I saw the original Star Wars at Village East Cinema(?) up on the hill while skipping class from med school.

Another cultural icon I didn't see mentioned was the Krispy Kreme store on the corner of Highway 78 and Oporto. I think this is gone now too , but many nights were the munchies fed at this store.

I could go on, but Would just like to say that the earliest and most indelible memory would be the "star" rotating above the bowling alley like a beacon calling all to the magic of what was Eastwood Mall.

Thanks for your efforts , they are appreciated by this sentimental baby boomer.

Lane H Friedman MD  -- Las Vegas, NV


I can't believe all these wonderful memories of Eastwood Mall and no one has mentioned THE ARTIST!   Remember the guy, and I believe there was a lady too, who did charcoal portraits at the mall? I seem to recall their location being near the center of the mall. By watching them, I learned how to make a person's eyes come to life by drawing in a little white spot for light reflection. I was fascinated by the artists. Sometimes they would draw a person who was posed, other times they would work with a photograph. I always wanted them to do a portrait of me, but finances being what they were, that had to remain a dream.

My earliest memory of the mall was going there with my grandfather. We lived at 3927 Third Avenue South in Avondale and he lived two doors down from us. He was widowed and drove a blue Impala station wagon. My three siblings and I would climb in that sucker with he and Mom and off we'd go to Eastwood Mall. He was a Hill's grocery store shopper, but preferred the store on Clairmont Avenue. Boy I sure do miss my Paw Paw.

I noticed a lot of people mentioned the fireworks display. My dad drove a city bus and I think his route took him to the mall one July 4th. Paw Paw, mom and the rest of us met him there. Kinda cool to know the bus driver.

Years earlier I remember mom and dad taking the whole lot of us to see Elvis double features at the Starlight Drive-in. We'd go in our pajamas and doze off after The King kissed the girl in the second movie. Boy, those were the days.

Charlie Mashburn


Wow!!  Does this trigger some memories??  I guess so!!

I was raised on Gladstone Ave. (LYric 5-1420), up the hill from McElwain School, where I finished the 8th grade in 1960.  We would ride our bikes down to the corner of Oporto and Montclair (Cooper Brother's Bar-B-Que -- the Coopers and Teagues and a few others lived behind there on Cooper Hill Rd. -- and an old American Oil station, which was later replaced with a more modern set-up) and watch the construction of "The Mall."  I remember going there a few times after it opened, but really became a "regular" when I went to work for Newberry's in the summer of '63.  It was a summer job that turned into a four-year career during the summers and Christmas holidays spanning high school days at Ramsay (Go Rams!!) on into college at Montevallo.  I was initially hired to be a "Junior Floor Walker."  Mr. Persons, a family friend and one of the managers, thought they needed someone to look out for shoplifters, but who did not look like a store employee, and pretty much made up this job for me.  My job was to wander around the store all day long, pretending to be a shopper.  Trouble was, none of the clerks in the store knew that I was an employee, and they started getting suspicious of me.  Of course, when they started reporting my "suspicious" activities, they found out that I did work there, and from then on my "cover" was blown.  They then would all call me by name, and engage me in conversation.  Needless to say, this situation did not work out so well, and ended in about two weeks.  For a while afterward, I was stationed in a secret room above the dressing rooms next to the Men's and Boy's department in the center of the store.  From the men's dressing room, a ladder led to a cubicle that contained a stool, a pair of binoculars, and a walkie-talkie to communicate with one of the managers, usually Bob Parr.  A one-way mirror about a foot high all around the cubicle gave you a 360-degree view of the store below.  I only caught one person, a large woman stuffing curtain rods, of all things, into an extra large handbag.  I called Bob on the walkie-talkie, and he followed her out of the store, finally catching up with her in front of the ABC store (don't think anyone has mentioned that one yet), whereupon she pulled out the rods and proceeded to whack him over the head.  Fortunately, an off-duty policeman saw the scuffle and grabbed her arm.  No major damage done.

I then was assigned wherever they needed me.  I sometimes worked in the storeroom under David Freeman and Charley Weaver.  Back then of course, the facilities in the store were segregated, even the employee lounges.  I was supposed to only use the white men's employee lounge, but was really honored the day that I was invited to have lunch with David and Charley in the "other" mens' lounge.  I also "floated" from department to department as schedules and absences demanded.  Even found myself working womens' lingerie once!!  I prided myself in learning to very rapidly ring up customers on the cash registers (where you even had to figure sales tax separately -- with a little cheat sheet next to the register).  I really liked to see how fast I could do it without an error, and was often asked to run the busy checkout stands at the entrances to the store.  I was in the store the day the Newberry's lunch counter was integrated.  The tickets from the lunch counter (which also included table seating) were rung up at one of the regular registers at the eastern inside mall entrance to the store.  The girl working that register became so distraught over the situation (even though we all waited on people of all races in every other department of the store), that she asked me to relieve her when the party came up to pay their tab for lunch.  That, combined with being a classmate of Richard Walker, who all alone integrated Ramsay that fall, made me feel like I witnessed, and even participated in some history.

Next summer was spent working at the Newberry's Garden Shop across the parking lot near the bowling alley.  Before the theater was built and the parking expanded, there was a large open area on the west end of the mall.  We used to have to pile grass sod on wheelbarrows, and take it out into that area to spread it out so that it could be watered.  Being a skinny 140 pounder, that was about as hard as I wanted to work!!  During two or three Christmas seasons I sold trees there at the Garden Shop.

Several folks have mentioned the small carnival-like park next to the bowling alley.  It was to the left of the entrance between the bowling alley and Newberry's Garden Shop.  The thing I remember most about FunTown, was a ride that was powered only by the rider(s).  There were four (as I recall) metal cages that would each hold perhaps two or three people.  You stood up in the cages, and, using your own body momentum, would start the cage swinging.  They would swing back and forth much like a regular swing, but if you could exert enough energy, the cage would swing to the top of its arc, and come down on the other side.  Once that got started, you could pretty much keep it going full circle like that until your time was up.

Someone else also mentioned a slot-car track.  The one I remember was in the game room in the back of the bowling alley.  In fact, as I recall, in the mid-'60s, this just about took over the game room.  As an 18 or 19 year old, I, along with an older friend who was 21 or 22, would spend hours racing cars in the game room, and then would go to the Boom-Boom Room.  He was known well enough there that we could go in together, and I was never asked for an ID!!  Always thought it pretty neat that I could play kids games one minute, and then go order a drink the next!!

My Dad worked at the Social Security office mentioned by someone else earlier.  It was added a few years after I was employed at The Mall, and I believe was above one of the grocery stores.  He, of course, never knew about the Boom-Boom Room stuff.

The picture of City Federal Savings and Loan inside The Mall also brought back a flood of memories.  My pay at Newberry's was minimum wage, which, at the time, was $1.00 per hour.  Since I almost always put in a 40 hour week, my take-home-pay was usually around $35 or $36 after taxes.  Newberry's paid in cash, which was put into a brown envelope with the details of your pay and withholding written on the outside.  Having frugal habits pounded into me by Depression Era parents, I would put $25 or $30 of that into a savings account at City Federal.  They were running a promotion during that period, and for each of your deposits you received a piece of china.  Which piece depended on how much you were putting in.  My parents also saved there, and by the time I got married, we had accumulated enough china for my wife and I to start with.

While walking down The Mall during Christmas season one year, I was passing the area where the jolly elf himself was set up to hear the wishes of good and bad kids alike.  Imagine my surprise when St. Nick called out to me, "Hey, Rick, what are you doing?"  Not sure that heard him right, I stopped and asked him what he had just said.  When he said it again, I started having second thoughts about my years old disbelief in the guy.  Turns out, however, that it was just Ken Oliver, an adequately large and fittingly jolly classmate from Ramsay, earning some extra holiday cash.

Another place I haven't seen mentioned was the barbershop near the outside mall entrance just to the west of Newberry's.  I used to get my hair cut there.  (Every two weeks without fail!)  When the first Beatles album came out, the owner of the shop went down to the other end of the mall to the record store, and bought one of their albums.  He then posted it behind his cash register as a warning to his customers not to let their hair get into that sad shape!   [Webmaster note: That barber must've been ready to give it up several years later upon seeing the Fab Four along about the "White Album" era!!]

Guess I've rambled enough.  It's been a fun walk down memory lane.  Thanks for accompanying me on it.

Rick Bryant -- Portland, Oregon

04/22/2008: Rick adds, "I shared these ramblings with my son the other day, and he promptly chastised me for not mentioning that, during the “90s, he (my son) worked at Disc Jockey at “The Mall”. I knew of some other families who had two generations work there at one time or another, but I doubt that many had three! Just our claim to fame. 

PLEASE E-MAIL YOUR MEMORIES AND RECOLLECTIONS OF EASTWOOD MALL!  (And if you have any pictures, advertisements or memorabilia of the mall, PLEASE SHARE -- credit will be given)

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Originally constructed 04/18/2004 -- 527 PM EDT   (from version 1)
UPDATED 04/22/2008 -- 854 PM EDT