Post details: Demolition of River Roads Mall

05/14/06

Permalink 11:55:26 pm, Categories: Urban Exploration, 534 words   English (US)

Demolition of River Roads Mall

The demolition of River Roads Mall has been in the planning stages for some time now. Nearby Northland Shopping Center met its fate last year, and everyone knew that it wouldn't be long until River Roads joined it. Like Northland, River Roads is that unfortunate age that is too young to qualify for historic tax credits, but too old for restoration to be feasible or worthwhile (especially considering the economy of the city of Jennings today). I had heard from someone who works for the company that now owns the property that it's time had come, so I made it a point to visit this location for the last time this weekend.

As I drove up, it was apparent that demolition was well underway. The first satellite store that I saw was nothing but a concrete skeleton. Fortunately, this seemed like the only part that work had started on, as far as destroying stuff goes. As I entered the interior of the mall, much of the debris and junk that used to litter the floors and hallways seemed to have been piled up, or removed completely. Large piles of trash that has been removed from inside the mall dot the parking lots, but it's strange that they remove all this stuff when the building is just going to be coming down on top of it anyway.

The satellite store was bare, all of its walls having been removed. The only thing remaining that showed that it was anything but a parking garage was the center escallator. I would've went upstairs, but unfortunately it must've been turned off at the time.

Once I was inside, I headed for the part of the mall that I most wanted to visit: the basement bowling alley. It's amazing to me that when the place closed down, all of the pins and balls were just left there. Now they lie scattered about, many of them in the flooded areas at the back of the lanes, where one can peer into the murkey water and see old muddy bowling balls peering back. If anyone has photos of this place while it was in operation, I would love to see them!

From the bowling alley, I entered a room where many of the mall's seasonal decorations were still stored. However, multitudes of four feet tall toy soldiers had been thrown into a large pile, decapitated. Some of them had even been pierced with spears and hung from the walls. If I didn't know any better, I'd say that some pesky kids had found their way down there and wreaked a little havoc!

Before I left the mall, I wandered the main hallways for awhile, taking extra time to take my last photos of the place, and especially the famous clocktower in the center. Yes, it is still there, and like the rest of River Roads, it will soon be nothing but a pile of Rubble. It is such a shame that an icon that so many remember from years past will be lost. I almost wish someone would steal it, if only to preserve one small piece of St. Louis's recent history. Seriously, someone take it. I don't have a truck.

Comments:

Comment from: jake [Visitor]
This is jake from falstaff today. my e-mail is jakemcd@excite.com if you want to meet up sometime or share directions to somewher. Damit, I wanted to go that mall, Oh well.
Permalink 05/18/06 @ 01:06
Comment from: jake [Visitor]
Because I can not post on the other site this is a response to the post you have or other blog, I have been back to the building in question many times but the last time i found the way i used to go in blocked and after getting inside i saw the fire and many other things laying about that were not eventhere a week before. I really like this building and i would like to keep going back and to show people i know and trust, but I guess this is a risk we have to take. Well, thanks for having the sites some people may not use it for the right reasons but i still think these sites help, the history of some of these buildings are amazing. Well, this is jake agian from a few weeks ago, i should e-mail you soon so we can see some new places that i have in mind. keep up the good work, and too bad for assholes.
Permalink 06/01/06 @ 14:35
Comment from: Earl Lee [Visitor]
My family moved to Jennings when I was 12. River Roads was a great mall. I remember being into playing the guitar and they actually had a music store there. I bought my first keyboard at that music store and loads of sheet music. I would go up there on a saturday afternoon and just hang out. In the summers at the bottom of Stix's they would have bands playing. I'm was just up there yesterday looking inside. I'm going to miss that mall!
Permalink 11/04/06 @ 06:19
Comment from: Gary Frischmann [Visitor] · http://gfrischmann
I also miss River Roads and the "good old days".My brother and I have visited the old wreck several times in the past 3or4 years and have lots of good pics and video of the mall and demolition of Stix.My best memory of the mall is sitting in Walgreens restaurant watching people go in and out of the mall at the Kroger end.My parents would take us there or the Steamboat Room every time we went.Its a sad loss.
Permalink 01/22/07 @ 11:03
Comment from: Robert [Visitor]
I lived in Jennings from 1943 until 1955. I watched Northland Shopping Center being built. I went to the North Drive-In, worked at Emerson Electric and bowled at Northland. Does anyone remember Suburban Swimming Pool?
Permalink 02/10/07 @ 13:41
Comment from: tiAn [Visitor]
I went to elementary school at Northview in the late 70's, right across the street from this place. We lived about 10 blocks west just off Cozens and Hord. I remember spending tons of time both here and at Northland with my parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles. How sad that these landmarks of my youth are no more. Thanks for documenting what was left of them.
Permalink 04/10/07 @ 21:43
Comment from: Dan Barr [Visitor]
Did anyone happen to pick up some of the bowling pins at northland or riverroad malls?
Permalink 07/13/07 @ 16:15
Comment from: Starman Yotoly [Visitor] · http://nullo
What's really sad is, I was never at this mall, but the story behind it is very similar to many of the old haunts near where I grew up. The age of malls is past, I'm afraid and it does bring a tear or two to imagine them as they once were while watching them rotting now.
Permalink 08/21/07 @ 11:40
Comment from: BLAIS [Visitor]
I checked out the area on 11/1/07...Its gone........Sad i never got to see the place.They dont build then like this no more...All they are building now is outdoor strip malls....Who wants to walk in the cold and rain to shop....that will not last long .Then they will be tearing them down..You wait and see...
Permalink 11/04/07 @ 10:07
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Permalink 12/06/07 @ 16:12
Comment from: Don Frischmann [Visitor]
I guess it's all gone now... but not the memories... running and up and down the nearly completed mall way back when... Some years later, shooting pool and eventually enjoying some cocktails at the bowling alley. Then, working at Kroger's under the stern hand of Jim Hasemeyer. I couldn't bring myself to go look this past Xmas, if there's nothing to look at. I think the governor of Mo. should order the rebuilding of River Roads, by executive order. There's a platform to campaign on! Drop me a line if anybody remembers me, or reads this!
Permalink 02/04/08 @ 03:09
Comment from: larry hackethal [Visitor]
thank you so much for the pics and the work you have done, i remeber as a child going with my mother to river orads mall, as well as northland, (they had a hot pretzel maker at the foot of the escalator there) but the riverorads mall always had the most elaborate animated xmas figures, and the toy store at the end had a monorail that ran over head, i am 48 and rmeber riding it many times, holidays were always so wonderfull there, thanks
Permalink 03/10/08 @ 01:24
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Permalink 03/26/08 @ 08:21
Comment from: Terry True [Visitor]
Seeing photos of this mall is completely eerie. Even though I don't live in Jennings, Missouri it is a crying shame to see this mall and the Mall of Memphis torn down.
Yours truly,
Terry True of Millington, TN 38053
Permalink 03/31/08 @ 09:47
Comment from: Bob [Visitor]
It's now 2008 and nothing, other than the old Kroger store, is left other than an eyesore of a pile of rubble that is going nowhere fast - what a mess! And the city said it was PREVOUSLY an eyesore? they should look now at the huge crater that was the mall's basement filled with rancid rainwater - when the weather turns warm it will be a haven for mosquitos (malaria outbreak in jennings?)
Well, the city got what it wanted - it tore down an historic mall (first enclosed mall west of the Mississippi) and has replaced it with NOTHING!
Nice job Jennings, no wonder your city is in so much trouble.
May the curse of Tut (and Stix, Baer, and Fuller!) be upon those demolition hillbilly's
Permalink 04/11/08 @ 15:48
Comment from: Terry True [Visitor]
Wish the city or county government could have done something with the property.
Permalink 05/30/08 @ 10:11
Comment from: Kathleen Mautone [Visitor]
Oh my goodness what a shame too see the 2 malls I use to work at when I was in high school look like that its breaks my heart. I remember cutting class and going too River Roads to hang out and meet friends at the Big clock.And going too eat after church at the Haretige House with my family.At Northland back in the days watching the fireworks the fairs and watching them put up the big red candles on the roof at Christmas. I since left Jennings and have been living in Honolulu,Hawaii for the last 26 or so years I wish I could go back and see it all back the way it was and the way it should have stayed
much Aloha too you all
Permalink 09/22/08 @ 05:16
Comment from: Ricky [Visitor] · http://www.demolitionexcavating.com
Looks like a pretty large demolition job. What are they making way for?
Permalink 04/08/09 @ 19:23
Comment from: Frank Anthony [Visitor]
I am so tired of seeing St. Louis' historical points of interest closing shop and being torn down or just boarded up or vacated (St. Louis Centre, Union Station Mall, etc.)

If nothing fills in the giant lot that the River Roads Mall once occupied right away, I hope that something will be done to beautify the neighborhood for the time being.

I would like to see a park, even if it's only a park of green lawn and trees, fill the lot. The same goes for the Ballpark Village and the Bottle District that have failed to be built.

Too many building, houses, or otherwise empty lots of land throughout St. Louis have been allowed to go uncared for and to become dilapidated. It's disgusting and unacceptable. The city government should be forcing developers and land owners to clean up their messes and keep St. Louis beautiful. Land owners need to be held responsible. Perhaps the St. Louis government should require & enforce developers & land owners to file detailed plans for the expeditious razing or preservation, clean-up, and reutilization of land (& structures) if or when a development should fail in the future. If this is already the city's policy, what happened with River Roads Mall?

Good luck St. Louis!
Permalink 04/23/09 @ 02:17
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Permalink 07/16/09 @ 11:49
Comment from: Jim Scheffler [Visitor]
I grew up in Bellefontaine Neighbors in the 1950's-60's not far from River Roads and Northland and remember when they were built and how popular they were. They were real assets to the community from social, economic, and even aesthetic perspectives. I live in Des Moines, Iowa, now and see the same pattern of mall struggle and decline being repeated here. I hope that the Northland and River Road sites will at least have something viable down with them. It's too bad that public tastes are so fickle that perfectly good places are allowed to wither and die so that newer and shinier venues can have their own probably brief periods of glory.
Permalink 10/05/09 @ 12:43
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