Friday, December 10, 2010

Christmas Ghosts

Every year at Christmas time, I try and often I fail to get into the Christmas spirit.  This time is always filled with memories, some sweet, and some bitter.  I realize now that what really brings me into the spirit, and what this time is really about is reflection.  It is a time to think about the past -- about people and things and people that we can see every day, and about things and people that are long gone.  We look back on the past year, and we look forward to the next.  We also look back in time, and think about how many years are behind us.  I guess when we look at things that are now only memories, we begin to feel our age.

Sometime about 23 years ago, I guess, when I was a college student, my friend Melody, invited a group of us to go on a Christmas shopping trip -- you know, a chance to get away from dorm life before finals began.  Her idea of going shopping was to visit different malls.  We ended up going to three of them.

The first mall we visited was Crown Center.  Though much has changed over the years, it is very reassuring that Crown Center is essentially the same.  I don't think they've changed the carpeting there since the 1970's, when I made my first visit there as a kid.  This time, my friend, Melody made the mistake of having me drive her car -- I believe it was a baby blue 1977 four door Chevy Malibu.  The car was a bit bigger than I was used to, and I left a little bit of fender paint on the wall of the Crown Center parking garage.  Melody didn't seem too upset -- the car was old.  Now when I come to Crown Center, I first come to Union Station and park in their garage.  I enjoy the walk through the beautiful old station, which is itself having difficulties.  The walk across from the station is scenic in the link, and is good exercise.  These days it is half the reason I end up in Crown Center.  In the late 80's, however, Union Station was an exquisite abandoned rotting corpse.  I can't remember much more about Crown Center other than even as malls go, it seemed too pricey for the budget of university students.  So we drove on down to the next mall in our itinerary.

Union Station
2010-12-10 14.59.35.jpg
2010-12-10 15.02.32.jpg
2010-12-10 15.13.11.jpg

2010-12-10 15.13.45.jpg
2010-12-10 15.32.30.jpg
I explored the great halls of this old station.  Something about Union Station makes me think Christmas.  Perhaps it is the generation of travelers who have used this station as a place of transit on their way home for the holidays.
Down in the basement is a railroad display, which appears to be free to the public, or at least, I walked in without needing a ticket.  It is the KC Rail Experience.
2010-12-10 15.24.33.jpg
I love the video displays of some KC rail hotpots (for railfans, or FOAMERS).  I wonder if these camera angles are being streamed live on the web somewhere.
2010-12-10 15.25.16.jpg
2010-12-10 15.26.42.jpg
2010-12-10 16.20.51.jpg


Views from the link
2010-12-10 15.35.08.jpg
2010-12-10 15.36.35.jpg
2010-12-10 15.38.14.jpg
2010-12-10 15.39.05.jpg
Crown Center
2010-12-10 15.41.18.jpg
2010-12-10 15.44.07.jpg
2010-12-10 15.53.26.jpg
2010-12-10 15.52.42.jpg
2010-12-10 15.54.02.jpg
2010-12-10 15.45.36.jpg
2010-12-10 16.04.36.jpg
2010-12-10 15.57.14.jpg
2010-12-10 15.59.14.jpg
2010-12-10 16.01.07.jpg
2010-12-10 15.58.29.jpg

Metcalf South was one of the busiest malls I had ever seen.  It was crowded --- it was really crowded.  Christmas season 1987 seemed to be very kind to this palace of indoor retail convenience.  We got hungry, so we had chinese fast food in the food court.  Lines were long everywhere in the food court as well.  The whole mall seemed inadequate under the burden of the weight of humanity that filled its every corner.

Metcalf South
2010-12-10 18.19.40.jpg
2010-12-10 17.04.29.jpg
2010-12-10 17.19.06.jpg
2010-12-10 17.06.22.jpg
2010-12-10 18.09.57.jpg
2010-12-10 18.29.03.jpg
2010-12-10 17.39.00.jpg
2010-12-10 18.29.57.jpg
2010-12-10 18.29.29.jpg
2010-12-10 17.42.58.jpg
2010-12-10 18.11.19.jpg
2010-12-10 18.44.45.jpg
2010-12-10 18.18.35.jpg
2010-12-10 18.27.01.jpg
2010-12-10 18.31.30.jpg
2010-12-10 18.15.09.jpg
2010-12-10 18.25.10.jpg
2010-12-10 18.14.32.jpg
2010-12-10 18.26.33.jpg
2010-12-10 17.06.22.jpg
2010-12-10 18.43.48.jpg
2010-12-10 18.00.41.jpg
2010-12-10 18.06.25.jpg
2010-12-10 18.05.54.jpg
2010-12-10 17.01.35.jpg
2010-12-10 18.04.50.jpg
2010-12-10 17.08.11.jpg
2010-12-10 18.09.03.jpg
2010-12-10 17.07.23.jpg
2010-12-10 18.25.10.jpg
2010-12-10 18.26.33.jpg
2010-12-10 18.44.45.jpg
2010-12-10 18.01.23.jpg


After eating a large combination platter, we headed out in the Malibu to the next mall, which was the newest mall in the Kansas City area.

Bannister Mall/Benjamin Shopping Complex
IMG_3542
Bannister Mall was at the center of a huge shopping area.  Not only was the mall new, but the whole area was new as well.  It was one of the busiest, if not the busiest retail districts in the metro area.  People came from all over just to visit Bannister.  Often people would come from hundreds of miles, and never visit any other part of the metro.  There seemed to be as many license plates from Kansas as there were from Missouri in the parking lots.  I remember when we first moved to the Kansas City area in the late 70's, we heard all the hype about the new mall so that when it finally opened in 1980, we had to go there to check it out.  

In the course of looking up stuff for this story, I found this video....
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EhYaE6fCA3M

and this one too...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YjAzBvQdAgM
IMG_3543
IMG_3544
IMG_3545
IMG_3546
IMG_3547
IMG_3548
IMG_3549
IMG_3550
IMG_3551
IMG_3552
IMG_3553
IMG_3554
IMG_3555
The following pictures were taken by Terra Hall
IMG_3556
IMG_3557
IMG_3558
IMG_3559
IMG_3560
IMG_3561
IMG_3562
IMG_3563
IMG_3564
IMG_3565
IMG_3566
IMG_3569
IMG_3567
IMG_3570
IMG_3571
IMG_3568
IMG_3572
IMG_3573
IMG_3574
The Following pictures were taken by Stevo Svoboda
IMG_3575
IMG_3576
IMG_3577
IMG_3579
IMG_3580
IMG_3578
IMG_3581
IMG_3582
IMG_3583
IMG_3584
IMG_3585
IMG_3586
IMG_3587
IMG_3588
IMG_3589
IMG_3590
IMG_3591
IMG_3592
IMG_3593
IMG_3594
IMG_3595
IMG_3596
IMG_3597
IMG_3598
IMG_3599
IMG_3600
IMG_3601
IMG_3602
IMG_3603
IMG_3604
IMG_3605
IMG_3606
IMG_3607
IMG_3610
IMG_3608
IMG_3611
IMG_3609
IMG_3612
IMG_3613
IMG_3614
IMG_3615
IMG_3621
IMG_3616
IMG_3622
IMG_3617
IMG_3623
IMG_3620
IMG_3624
IMG_3619
IMG_3625
IMG_3628IMG_3626
IMG_3631
IMG_3632
IMG_3627
IMG_3629
IMG_3630
IMG_3636
IMG_3638
IMG_3637


In the past 25 plus years, I have participated in a form of amateur urban archaeology through my daytrips, trying to imagine the places and times that have past.  Now, I find myself exploring places that have come and gone in my own time.

No post on this subject matter could be complete without mention of two particular blogs which are excellent resources on retail history.  The first is www.deadmalls.com.
Here is a deadmalls link on Bannister Mall = http://deadmalls.com/malls/bannister_mall.html
Here is a deadmalls link on Metcalf South = http://deadmalls.com/malls/metcalf_south_shopping_center.html

The other great site is http://www.labelscar.com/
Here is the labelscar link on Metcalf South = http://www.labelscar.com/kansas/metcalf-south
Here is the labelscar link on Bannister Mall = http://www.labelscar.com/missouri/bannister-mall

And, this has nothing to do with greyfields, but while I'm in a linking mood, I might as well put another great resource and a great many subjects that have to do with trips and daytrips ... www.thelope.com

P.S.
Even More Links
http://blip.tv/file/2080171
http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=40310234875&v=wall





Watch live video from stevosvoboda on Justin.tv Finally... I have my handy dandy google calender with all the upcoming events in the area and beyond...
BLOG DOG
June 4, 2009 at 8.06am PDT
PLEASE LOOK AT AND COMMENT ON MY BLOG...
If you are interested in expressing your opinion about art, or this blog, or if you have ideas, calender updates or even blog entries, send me a message at http://www.facebook.com/Svoboda.KC TMI, BRD

4 comments:

PFL0W said...

It really is bizarre, isn't it? We remember this place coming on, then being so popular, then getting to be a place to avoid and now this, an awful, run down, neglected, half destroyed kind of a dump.

We are a wierd, transient people.

Mo Rage

PFL0W said...

By pure coincidence this morning:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/yblog_weekend/20101210/ts_yblog_weekend/lost-treasures-of-the-city


Mo Rage

PFL0W said...

And then these:

http://www.flickr.com/search/?q=urban+exploration&w=all&m=&s=&mt=&referer_searched=

http://www.flickr.com/search/?w=all&q=urban+decay&m=text

MR

Code Black said...

Thanks for the comments and the links.

Stevo

Blog Archive