As a child of the 1980s, I recall many memories at the Huntington Mall in Barboursville, West Virginia. With its beige floor tiles, fountains, wooden oak benches, and retro shops, you could spend hours exploring. Shops like the San Francisco Music Box Company, Hickory Farms, and Radio Shack were my mainstays. Of course, the Huntington Mall sucked the shopping experience from downtown Huntington into a suburban wasteland, surrounded not by historic buildings but by a sea of asphalt.
Westland Mall in Columbus, Ohio was similar. Built upon the promise of open-air shopping in suburbia, the mall boasted three anchors and over 40 stores, from stores that peddled drapes to sewing equipment and eccentric clothing. The mall was one of four directionally-named shopping centers in the metropolitan area built in the same period: Westland, Northland, Eastland, and Southland. Westland was enclosed in the early 1980s.
But the Westland Mall evoked a similar feeling to the Huntington Mall that I remembered as a child. By 2011, Westland was on its deathbed, but it’s interior was only vintage, having never been renovated after it’s the enclosure. Brown tiles adorned the floor, dark-tinted lights were fastened on the pillars, and remnants of stores long gone lined the concourse. There was not a soul inside, and for the 30 minutes I walked around, all I could hear was the water dripping from the deteriorated ceiling.
Several weeks ago, I revisited Westland Mall, only to find it practically boarded up and abandoned. The only tenants that remained were Staples and Sears, both of who have no entrances to the concourse. Boarded up windows cover panes of broken glass at the doors to the concourse. Inside, sad and pathetic signs on whiteboard tell of a mall with no ATM and restroom facilities. Outside, transformers that once fed into the course lay in pieces, stripped of any valuable metal.