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Old 04-22-2014, 07:54 PM
Location: PNW, CPSouth, JacksonHole, Southampton
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When it was built, I believe that Jackson Mall was the largest mall in the South.

The location seems strange, today. But remember that West Jackson was, at the time, a very nice place to live. And Hanging Moss Road was THE place to live. North Jackson was very 'happening'. Frances Pepper was considered a traitor to leave Downtown and build her shop "way out North" (on Lakeland, between Belhaven and Woodland Hills). I think the location was considered to be close to the stadium, close to the two colleges, close to the Capitol building... Buses full of school kids would go to the mall, after trudging through the museums. People would shop there, when in town for games at the Stadium.

The Mall was reasonably close to the Zoo, to lovely Mynelle Gardens, to sparkling Lake Hico (even back then, Jackson was more optimism than substance), and to Hawkins Field, where, presumably, mink-stole-draped, bouffant-coiffed wives of docs, planters, and businessmen would alight from their husbands' little airplanes, and be whisked off to The Mall!, for afternoons of shopping! These women would fly in from all over the Ark-La-Miss (another fabulous concept).

And don't forget the proximity of the mall to Highway 49, which led into the Delta - back then, the place where the rich people lived. Three-ton Imperials and DeVilles and Continentals would float in from the Delta, and all that Cotton Money would be spent in the fabulous new mall.

Well, the Kennedy/Johnson "Great Society" all but destroyed the plantation economy in the Delta. And the Vietnam War consumed a generation's-worth of money throughout the state, changing America's collective psyche forever. Government meddling destabilized neighborhoods, spelling doom for South Jackson, West Jackson, and Plain-ol'-North-Jackson (as opposed to Fashionable Northeast Jackson). And the need for private schools ate up most of the disposable income in the whole delta. Anyway, Delta People considered Jackson to be a backwater full of ignorant, moralistic Holy Rollers, and NOT the place to shop. They preferred shopping in Memphis, Dallas, and Atlanta.

Government meddling (plus an avalanche of blacksploitation films glorifying anti-white violence and criminal lifestyles) suddenly made the conveniently-close working class neighborhoods dangerous. When conceived, the Mall was conveniently sandwiched between The Help and The Customers. It was a nice arrangement. The Help had nice new homes, on brand-new streets named for famous People of Color. The in-town Customers lived in Belhaven, Woodland Hills, and Alta Woods. Across State Street, Woodrow Wilson sported a well-planned public zone opposite the Medical Center, where sparkling new schools and other institutions were located. And the Mississippi Women's Club's tasteful brick Colonial-style building (complete with sacred Magnolia tree rescued by those women from the evil street-wideners), at the intersection of Woodrow Wilson and State, proclaimed that this area was the center of everything in Mississippi.

And don't forget the golfing at nearby Riverside Park, just down Riverside Drive! In fact, several golf courses and country clubs were conveniently near! Husbands could play, while the little women shopped! After playing a few links, and after a few highballs at the club, hubby could meet his happily package-laden wife back at the plane. This was how life was supposed to be.

But after Viet Nam (and 'Shaft' and 'Dolomite'), the Mall was positioned between The Crime and the ugly, depressing modern architecture of the Medical Center. A deliberate and well-organized campaign of "Block Busting" changed the color of the owners of the "fine brick dream homes" in the Hanging Moss Road area. The lovely apartment complexes in West Jackson became unlovely.

And then, for reasons I'll never understand, Metrocenter Mall was constructed amid the flimsy little new housing developments of never-very-fashionable Southwest Jackson. Metrocenter lived long enough to kill Jackson Mall.

But it's wonderful that Jackson Mall is now a Medical Mall. It's conveniently close to University Medical Center, and to the population most in need of its services. What a brilliant reuse! Everyone involved should be proud.

Last edited by GrandviewGloria; 04-22-2014 at 08:54 PM..
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