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Old 04-10-2012, 05:23 PM
 
Location: 304
5,025 posts, read 6,648,445 times
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Charleston WV 1981-82 - YouTube
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Old 04-10-2012, 09:35 PM
 
Location: IN
20,386 posts, read 34,955,046 times
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Very interesting video. The architecture does remind me some of Pittsburgh and other parts of Pennsylvania.
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Old 04-11-2012, 06:27 AM
 
Location: 304
5,025 posts, read 6,648,445 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GraniteStater View Post
Very interesting video. The architecture does remind me some of Pittsburgh and other parts of Pennsylvania.
alot about Charleston is like Pittsburgh. Even though business is booming in that video and there was hundreds of businesses in downtown at that time, downtown actually is more eye appealing now with all of those buildings having facelifts.

Last edited by Chriscross309; 04-11-2012 at 06:53 AM..
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Old 04-12-2012, 08:39 AM
 
36 posts, read 17,095 times
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I was just starting college at WV Tech at that time. We never went into Charleston unless it was to attend a concert at the Civic Center. I saw in the video where they had cleared the land and was starting to build the Charleston Town Center Mall.
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Old 04-12-2012, 10:46 AM
 
Location: West Cobb County, GA (Atlanta metro)
9,190 posts, read 29,794,534 times
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It's actually been discussed before a good while back, but generally speaking, Town Center Mall is what killed downtown Charleston.

The same developers that built it had some to do with "Town Center Cobb", a suburban mall near Atlanta. Their theory was that instead of doing what all others were doing at the time and building a suburban mall, that by building one in a downtown area, it would force people to go downtown. So again, "in theory", this would prevent a downtown area from dying, and both the mall and downtown would thrive. Good theory, but poor implementation.

I was attending Charleston High School when the mall opened. The effects were pretty swift - a lot of Capitol Street and part of Quarrier Street closed shop and moved into mall spaces. Even a few places on Washington Street E. and other downtown areas joined in. As a result, within a few months to less than a year, the downtown area looked vastly different in terms of pedestrian traffic than it did a short time earlier.

The problem(s): First, the mall was too large for the City the size of Charleston. It's a standard-to-large city sized mall, and oversized for a city with a City population of just barely over 50,000. The Barboursville mall was drawing larger crowds and the old Kanawaha Mall was under construction too (it was actually very popular in it's early days). Town Center was just too much - it could have been half the size or so, and done very well. As it was, the size of it guaranteed a mass migration of downtown shops to the mall. Second was the parking deck - this hardly gave a reason to walk around downtown when coming down to the mall, when you parked in an enclosed deck area, and walked directly into Town Center, shopped, then walked directly out back to your car to leave. If they had built a standard outdoor open-air parking LOT instead, then it might have encouraged people to park in the lot and use the mall, as well as the pedestrian area to Capitol to visit facilities on that street as well. The deck was a disaster of an idea if you wanted to keep even a nearby area alive.

I left Charleston in 1984 for Atlanta/school/etc. The Charleston I remember until near the time I moved was vastly more energetic downtown pre-mall than it was later. I can visit now and it's a virtual ghost town in comparison, even now many years later - though some businesses have filtered back into the downtown area slowly over time.

I honestly feel that Charleston needs a "draw", now. An aquarium... a "real" casino... some sort of facility right smack in the middle of downtown that will bring people from the region to it for a visit. Chattanooga, Tennessee was incredibly similar to downtown Charleston years ago until they opened their aquarium, and other facilities followed it (things you can't get in a mall). Today their downtown area is hugely bustling with tourists as a result and it's been a complete 180 degree turnaround for their economy. I'd love to see something like that happen in Charleston.
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Old 04-12-2012, 05:13 PM
 
Location: 304
5,025 posts, read 6,648,445 times
Reputation: 1680
Quote:
Originally Posted by atlantagreg30127 View Post
It's actually been discussed before a good while back, but generally speaking, Town Center Mall is what killed downtown Charleston.

The same developers that built it had some to do with "Town Center Cobb", a suburban mall near Atlanta. Their theory was that instead of doing what all others were doing at the time and building a suburban mall, that by building one in a downtown area, it would force people to go downtown. So again, "in theory", this would prevent a downtown area from dying, and both the mall and downtown would thrive. Good theory, but poor implementation.

I was attending Charleston High School when the mall opened. The effects were pretty swift - a lot of Capitol Street and part of Quarrier Street closed shop and moved into mall spaces. Even a few places on Washington Street E. and other downtown areas joined in. As a result, within a few months to less than a year, the downtown area looked vastly different in terms of pedestrian traffic than it did a short time earlier.

The problem(s): First, the mall was too large for the City the size of Charleston. It's a standard-to-large city sized mall, and oversized for a city with a City population of just barely over 50,000. The Barboursville mall was drawing larger crowds and the old Kanawaha Mall was under construction too (it was actually very popular in it's early days). Town Center was just too much - it could have been half the size or so, and done very well. As it was, the size of it guaranteed a mass migration of downtown shops to the mall. Second was the parking deck - this hardly gave a reason to walk around downtown when coming down to the mall, when you parked in an enclosed deck area, and walked directly into Town Center, shopped, then walked directly out back to your car to leave. If they had built a standard outdoor open-air parking LOT instead, then it might have encouraged people to park in the lot and use the mall, as well as the pedestrian area to Capitol to visit facilities on that street as well. The deck was a disaster of an idea if you wanted to keep even a nearby area alive.

I left Charleston in 1984 for Atlanta/school/etc. The Charleston I remember until near the time I moved was vastly more energetic downtown pre-mall than it was later. I can visit now and it's a virtual ghost town in comparison, even now many years later - though some businesses have filtered back into the downtown area slowly over time.

I honestly feel that Charleston needs a "draw", now. An aquarium... a "real" casino... some sort of facility right smack in the middle of downtown that will bring people from the region to it for a visit. Chattanooga, Tennessee was incredibly similar to downtown Charleston years ago until they opened their aquarium, and other facilities followed it (things you can't get in a mall). Today their downtown area is hugely bustling with tourists as a result and it's been a complete 180 degree turnaround for their economy. I'd love to see something like that happen in Charleston.
Downtown has bounced back, and in fact new local restaurants and stores are poping up where old chains used to be in downtown. Two different stypes of shopping and dining. Not only that, but the town center is also booming right now. New stores and restaurants are poping up left and right in that place. Both have found a way to grow together, but in different ways. Charleston is looking really good right now.
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Old 04-14-2012, 04:56 PM
 
Location: Washington, WV
272 posts, read 371,396 times
Reputation: 141
I don't think any downtowns are going to be what they once were, except for a very few cities like New York, Chicago, or San Francisco. We didn't know it then, but those were the good old days. Although I've never lived in Chaleston that video brings back lots of memories. Would like to see videos like that for other WV city downtowns 30 or 40 years ago before the malls, Hills, Hecks, K-marts and Walmarts cleaned them out. You would probably see basically the same thing. Lots of people just strolling around and dressed better than most are today. Thanks for posting that.
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Old 04-14-2012, 05:53 PM
 
6,349 posts, read 8,200,141 times
Reputation: 1758
Quote:
Originally Posted by atlantagreg30127 View Post
It's actually been discussed before a good while back, but generally speaking, Town Center Mall is what killed downtown Charleston.

The same developers that built it had some to do with "Town Center Cobb", a suburban mall near Atlanta. Their theory was that instead of doing what all others were doing at the time and building a suburban mall, that by building one in a downtown area, it would force people to go downtown. So again, "in theory", this would prevent a downtown area from dying, and both the mall and downtown would thrive. Good theory, but poor implementation.

I was attending Charleston High School when the mall opened. The effects were pretty swift - a lot of Capitol Street and part of Quarrier Street closed shop and moved into mall spaces. Even a few places on Washington Street E. and other downtown areas joined in. As a result, within a few months to less than a year, the downtown area looked vastly different in terms of pedestrian traffic than it did a short time earlier.

The problem(s): First, the mall was too large for the City the size of Charleston. It's a standard-to-large city sized mall, and oversized for a city with a City population of just barely over 50,000. The Barboursville mall was drawing larger crowds and the old Kanawaha Mall was under construction too (it was actually very popular in it's early days). Town Center was just too much - it could have been half the size or so, and done very well. As it was, the size of it guaranteed a mass migration of downtown shops to the mall. Second was the parking deck - this hardly gave a reason to walk around downtown when coming down to the mall, when you parked in an enclosed deck area, and walked directly into Town Center, shopped, then walked directly out back to your car to leave. If they had built a standard outdoor open-air parking LOT instead, then it might have encouraged people to park in the lot and use the mall, as well as the pedestrian area to Capitol to visit facilities on that street as well. The deck was a disaster of an idea if you wanted to keep even a nearby area alive.

I left Charleston in 1984 for Atlanta/school/etc. The Charleston I remember until near the time I moved was vastly more energetic downtown pre-mall than it was later. I can visit now and it's a virtual ghost town in comparison, even now many years later - though some businesses have filtered back into the downtown area slowly over time.

I honestly feel that Charleston needs a "draw", now. An aquarium... a "real" casino... some sort of facility right smack in the middle of downtown that will bring people from the region to it for a visit. Chattanooga, Tennessee was incredibly similar to downtown Charleston years ago until they opened their aquarium, and other facilities followed it (things you can't get in a mall). Today their downtown area is hugely bustling with tourists as a result and it's been a complete 180 degree turnaround for their economy. I'd love to see something like that happen in Charleston.
makes sense: malls, strip malls, big box retailers, and big retail developments on the interstate have killed lots of downtown areas in American towns and cities. Some of the more urban areas have survived, and in cases like Morgantown the University keeps the downtown active.

Charleston might be a little better off than most places in this regard since it is the capital. It ensures that at least people commute there to work during the day, and in many cities downtowns have no jobs and can be boarded up. After business hours it is a quiet place.
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Old 04-14-2012, 06:13 PM
 
Location: The canyon (with my pistols and knife)
13,044 posts, read 17,376,712 times
Reputation: 14368
Three things I noticed:

1. There were a lot of pedestrians.

2. Nobody appeared to be dressed like a slob.

3. Nobody weighed 300 pounds.


In Pittsburgh, one of the more controversial development proposals by former mayor Tom Murphy was "Market Place at Fifth and Forbes," which would have turned the middle of downtown Pittsburgh into a "lifestyle center" on steroids, with a giant movie theater, a Nordstrom, and lots of national chains that hadn't yet moved into Pittsburgh (or never did), like Johnny Rocket's, Virgin Records, FAO Schwarz, etc. Looking back on it, it was a good thing that that development never happened because downtown Pittsburgh is developing more organically now; Nordstrom is a better fit in Ross Park Mall anyway, and many of the chains that were proposed are either out of business or have run their course in popularity. This plan was proposed back in 2000. What a difference a decade makes. Pittsburgh didn't need any of that stuff to rebound.
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Old 04-14-2012, 09:47 PM
 
Location: NW Penna.
1,756 posts, read 3,088,250 times
Reputation: 1850
Wow, there was the old Kearse Theater and Greyhound bus station on Summers St, both torn down sometime later in the '80s, I believe. I don't even remember some of the Capitol St. stores shown in that video. I remember them being in the Mall, though. (If you type 178 Summers Street into Google and pan around the street view photo, they sat on that big empty space across the and a little south of 178 Summers. 178 Summers St. at Brawley Walkway was home to B&B Loan, my favorite pawn shop and vintage jewelry store. It's gone now.

For a look at the restored / new store fronts of Capitol, type in 208 Capitol or some other street number and look at the street view photos. Google sent one of those panorama camera vehicles through there and took some good shots. Capitol may lack foot traffic now (don't know if it does or not) but certainly the buildings look lots prettier now than they did in the early '80s. (correction: The Capitol St. buildings are absolutely beautiful now.)

Muldoon's and Cheers (on Capitol, shown on the left in the video) were two of the most popular night spots of the early to mid '80s. Muldoon's was the "disco" and was in the old Woolworth store building, remodeled. I see that it's called the Woolworth Building now. There was a big fire there in 1949, and a video of the fire is on YouTube.

Last edited by SorryIMovedBack; 04-14-2012 at 10:03 PM..
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