Years ago, I often went to the mammoth Huntington Mall in Barboursville, West Virginia. It was the largest shopping center in the largest in the state – and also its busiest. The mall was dated, coated with speckled brown tiles inside, ribbed paneling outside and other trendy lights and accessories that made this center a poster-child for the late 1970’s and early 1980’s.
When I visited an abandoned shopping center in Youngstown, Ohio, I saw much resemblance to the Huntington Mall, with its similar ribbed exterior paneling, light fixtures and even signage. I wondered if the two malls were developed by the same developer, and after some quick searches, my haunches were correct.
McGuffey Mall was constructed in 1954 >and was converted into an indoor center in the 1972, and was one of the first developments of William M. Cafaro, founder of the Cafaro Company, who went on to develop shopping malls across the Midwest, Mid-Atlantic and Pacific Northwest – including the Huntington Mall. The adjoining Garland Plaza was constructed in 1960.
The properties were the home of banks, supermarkets, a bowling alley, a post office. The Mahoning County Department of Job and Family Services rented space at Garland Plaza from 1988 until 2007 when it relocated to Oakhill Renaissance Place. After years of decline, Cafaro decided to sell the two complexes in 2012 but after no bids came through, opted to put them up for auction. Highway Contracting of Boardman was the successful bidder for the McGuffey Mall and Garland Plaza properties for $150,000 in October 25, 2013. The excavating and demolition contractor was the highest of the three bidders. Work on demolition of McGuffey Mall and most of Garland Plaza began in December.