Do You Remember When El Paso Had 3 Topless Malls?
Some of El Paso's earliest shopping malls were only partially enclosed.
"The Mall" is such a uniquely American thing. They exist all over the world but we pretty much invented them with the Arcade Providence in 1828. The next oldest mall, in the entire world, is the Galleria in Italy, built in the 1800's.
Malls don't seem to have really caught on until the 50's when the first modern mall, the Southdale Center, was built in Edina Minnesota. What modern mall came first in the USA seems to depend on who you ask but it looks like the 50's were the starting line.
Once the 80's got here, forget it. Malls became a staple of everyday life, in just about every city, in America. Movies were made about or in them, Rush gave them a nod in "Subdivisions" and 80's parents rarely had to wonder where their kids were.
These days, notsomuch. Online shopping and home delivery are now the "mall".
The first mall in El Paso was Bassett Center, I-10 at Geronimo. Built in 1958, it was really a pair of monster strip malls with an open area in between.
It was completely enclosed in 1974 and a number of stores have since been built in the parking lot.
Another open air mall, Northgate Shopping Center, once existed in the Northeast at Dyer and Wren. It was built in 1960 and was also a pair of strip malls with an atrium in between.
It had an underground level too, along with a movie theater in the parking lot and an El Paso Public Library branch.. Today, it's pretty much a vacant lot with a huge Sun Metro transit hub on it.
Sunrise Shopping Center was also in the Northeast at Dyer and Tetons. Once again, 2 big strip malls but, this time, with the mall parking lot in between them.
Sunrise has kept their open air design because, thanks to that parking lot, they pretty much had to.