Sunday, April 16, 2006

The Evolution of the Fountain Court at SouthPark; Charlotte, North Carolina

Rendering of Fountain Court

Image courtesy Patrick Richardson

Fountain Court under construction

Image courtesy Patrick Richardson

This was the original, Modernist look, with the sunken fountain and brick-tiled floors. Photo dates from 1976
Thanks to Keith at Malls of America for unearthing this gem

Image courtesy of the Robinson-Spangler Carolina Room – Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County

An updated, larger fountain covered in white marble, surrounded by oak ceilings, green foliage and large clerestory windows. Photo dates from 1995

Image courtesy SouthPark, via an old mall directory

A smaller fountain covered in black marble with enhanced seating areas, palm trees and warm cherry and oak woods surrounding it. Photo dates from 2003.

Image courtesy cantnot


  1. Thank you for putting this together. It's such a good thing to be able to show the evolution of the SouthPark fountain court.

    I've had so many memories from being young at the 1986-2002 fountain, throwing pennies into it... We'd always get ice cream there and then go down to the fountain and eat it and I'd get to throw pennies in. There was also a bookstore nearby where my parents would like to go and we'd get books and sit by the fountain and read.

  2. The pleasure is all mine, cantnot.

    My memories of SouthPark don't go back as far as yours do, but I remember thinking that 1986-2002 fountain was the coolest thing I ever saw in a mall.

    That was in 1994. I actually visited SouthPark for the first time in 1992, but I only got a chance to go to Belk, with only fifteen minutes to spare before closing (which is worth another whole blog entry, to be sure). The fountain was off the first time I went.

    But I digress: my memory of that space could never be as cool and touching as yours was. Thank you for sharing.

  3. I've heard of this SouthPark before, but never got to really read about it.

  4. It's a very pricey mall, store-wise, but I think you would get a kick out of going there, Billy. It's a really cool place.

  5. It sickens me the way they've simultaneously dumbed down and cluttered up that poor mall--inside and out. Will no mall ever learn a lesson from the wildly successful Northpark in Dallas?

  6. It's a setback for Modernism, but the mall as a retail entity has to keep evolving, for better or wors.

  7. I lived a few miles from South Park from 77-83, so most of my memories are of the 70-86 fountain. We used to park underneath and rode the escalators in the middle of the mall, way before the food court/Hecht's wing.

    I still have some family in the area, and make a trek to SP every couple of years. I want to go back when the Crate and Barrel opens, and maybe to peek into the Nieman Marcus store.

    For us, it was the same distance to SP and Eastland, but we went to Eastland more because it had the skating rink. Times have changed both areas, that's for sure!

  8. I never got to see the pre-1986 SouthPark, ncwebguy. From what I can tell from you guys' memories, it was quite the place.

    Crate & Barrel will be open soon, so I'm going back down after it opens too. I'm sure it will be great. NM will not disappoint, either. It's a little small but it's very chic.

  9. Nice photos. I am now 55 years old, but my very first "real" job was at Belk's in Southpark as Christmas holiday help. It must have been about 1970 or so. I was a student at South Mecklenburg High School.

    A sad thing I recall from there was that I had a classmate who was abducted from the parking lot at Southpark and murdered. I think she worked at Belk's also. Her name was Carla Underwood. It was quite a shock at the time.

  10. Thanks for sharing your memories, Randy. For better or worse, SouthPark has affected lives throughout its lifespan. My condolences go out to Carla Underwood and her family.

  11. I am 53 years old and used to ride the school bus from our house in the Cloisters to Sharon School. The land where Southpark Mall is was all cow pasture and farmland. I think there was one lonely house out there and that was it. I always have very distinct memeories of that whenever I go to the mall. Chick Fil-A was the place to hand if you wanted to buy MJ.

  12. Well, that's one thing I've never bought at SouthPark. LOL

  13. I used to live a mile from SouthPark and remember when it was being built. During the summers they used to put a Put-Put golf course down the middle of the mall. If you scored a hole in one, you could take your score card to Chick Fil-A for a free soft drink.

  14. Cool.I think that would have been fun to see. Thanks for sharing your SouthPark memories.