Our History as Seen Through a Mall

MallThe silly season is fast approaching, in spite of current events and stagnant wages. One nearby shopping center is a testament to resilience.

Built on the site of a defunct shipping terminal , Atlas Park initially housed restaurants, expensive stores, a paid parking lot and a movie theater. But the economy tanked and people around here are not accustomed to paying for parking. Stores closed; the mall died. I visited recently and was fascinated by the change: affordable stores, more sensible for the surrounding community, brought life back to the mall. The movies and restaurants remain. A seasonal craft market and beer/wine garden are set to open there soon.

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The adjacent property is like ruins from another era. Walls separate empty lot from empty lot. A door leads to…more outdoors. Some manufacturing still exists (Take THAT, outsourcers!) but the lot that I was probably trespassing in hasn’t seen industry in a long time.

I love that the old water tower is a visible reminder that you’re in a space with history. That is, if you acknowledge the hard work (and subsequent injuries) that our working-class citizens did to contribute to the building of, well, everything.

Water Tower

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