Sunday, April 20, 2008

Cotswold Mall, Charlotte, North Carolina

Updated (5/6/08) with vintage aerial view

Cotswold Mall, Charlotte, North Carolina. Cover of mailing from early days of the mall. (courtesy Pat Richardson)

Cotswold Mall, Charlotte, North Carolina. Aerial view of shopping center, 1966. (courtesy Pat Richardson)

Cotswold Mall, Charlotte, North Carolina. Interior mall view, date unknown. (courtesy Pat Richardson)

Cotswold Mall, Charlotte, North Carolina. Interior mall view, date unknown. (courtesy Pat Richardson)


Cotswold Mall, Charlotte, North Carolina. Moonlight Madness Sale advertisement, February, 28, 1975 (Pat Richardson)

Cotswold Mall wasn't Charlotte's first enclosed mall (that distinction goes to Charlottetown Mall), but it was the first that was truly in the suburbs. Anchored by Harris Teeter, Ivey's, Roses, and The Collins Company, Cotswold Mall opened in the 1960s and featured both interior and exterior entrances for its stores.

Various remodeling schemes and anchor changes would change Cotswold Mall from an enclosed mall to exclusively a open-air center with a neighborhood focus, but it still stands, fully occupied, at the corner of Randolph Road and Sharon Amity Road, not far from SouthPark.

21 comments:

  1. I miss the old Cotswold with the interior mall. It always had an eclectic mix of shops (which probably lead to its restructuring). In Charlotte, this would serve as the prototype for several similar malls (Freedom, Tyvola, Northpark, Tryon, Gaston Mall in Gastonia)--all would have interior malls that would connect two main anchors (usually a grocery store and Richway/Target). Unfortunately, the few that remain are in such terrible shape, they might be beyond saving.

    I imagine this type of mall was prevalent nationwide throughout the '60's.

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  2. Hmm, the early generations of regional shopping centers sure were spartan affairs. The extreme lack of landscaping to act as a buffer against all of those harsh concrete surfaces wouldn't put me in a 'shopping mode'.

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  3. That artist's rendering is fantastic! I always love that kind of thing - and colorful, to boot. And is that an A&P logo encircled by the "C" in Cotswold? It looks like a 50's/60's circular logo with "rays" that they used. As I'm sure you know, multiple supermarkets within the same center were commonplace at that time.

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  4. Dave--it is an A&P. It opened in 1963.

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  5. Pat: There were indeed a lot of smaller enclosed malls with funky shops back in the day. The uniform mega-malls we're more familiar with were more of a '70s-'80s thing.

    Nitek: Landscaping was really an afterthought until the mid'70s at least at malls. For that matter, you didn't see much downtown either until then.

    Dave: The color rendering is my favorite part, too. it looks so fresh and modern, even though it's over 40 years old.

    Pat: Thanks for the clarification.

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  6. I was surprised to see how distinct the Collins lettering was. They might have been more of a force than I thought.

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  7. Collins and Roses were easily the largest anchors at Cotswold. Collins in particular looks substantial, maybe in the 50,000 to 60,000 square foot range.

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  8. These are some great mall interiors.

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  9. Harkens back to another era, before before shopping became grabbing stuff off the warehouse shelf.

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  10. Even right up to the end of the interior-mall sections (?late-90's) there was an eclectic mix of stores. I remember one store specialized in nothing but the Tom Clarke gnomes. Up until the end, the only notable chain was Stride Rite--everything else on the inside was unique. Of course, this is probably why the center was fading and needed a new look.

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  11. It's the retail disconnect in action! I never understood why the general public wants unique stores when you ask them, but shops at the same old big boxes. The dollars need to start matching our desires, otherwise all the cool stores are going to disappear.

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  12. Correct me in case I'm wrong, but isn't the 3rd from right store in Cotswold Mall a Rose's? It certainly looks like the signage that Rose's uses, from the 2nd from top picture of this shopping center.

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  13. Allan: That's definitely a Roses. There's a Marshalls in its place now, and it still has the Roses lighting and doors inside.

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  14. Thanks so much for posting this. I live right behind the shopping center. It's fun to see our condos without the towering oaks they have now. My parents live across Randolph. It's amazing to see so much from 1966 in the neighborhood that endures as well as all of the changes.

    I too miss the indoor mall. I started shopping there around 1990 when it still had lots of local shops. It makes me thankful for the local stores it still has -- Carmen Carmen, Davids, Toys and Co.

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  15. oneofestelles: Thanks for the memories. Even through the changes, Cotswold Mall is still a landmark in south Charlotte and still worth shopping.

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  16. I remember going to Cotswold when I was little. There was a great toy store inside. Mom HATED the A&P because it had the narrowest aisles in town and some of the aisles even had metal posts (columns) in the middle of them... making it very difficult to pass others. There used to be a strange tower in the parking lot... not sure what it was for, but there was a jail cell like door at the bottom. Later on I remember having a date at the Godfathers pizza there, and my first Chinese meal was at the House of Hunan (oops... I think that was across the street) back when Chinese used to be exotic!

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  17. Cotswald sounded like quite the place back in the day. Thanks for sharing.

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  18. Oh, what memories! I remember this mall like the back of my hand. Had haircuts at the barber shop, tagged along with my Mom to Rose's Merle Norman or Bush Stationers. But the two things I remember the most were eating at Bailey's Cafeteria (in the outparcel, behind the Post Office) and grocery shopping at the Harris Teeter. These were the grand old days when all the shopping carts had numbers on them, and the cashier wrote the number of your cart on the receipt for pickup outside when you drove the car up to the curb along the Randolph Road side of the building. When you walked into HT, there were huge dumpsters on wheels for bottle returns. There was actually an interior door between the Eckerd Drug and the Harris Teeter, even though they weren't part of the enclosed mall further down.

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  19. Thanks for sharing your Cotswold memories. Sounds like it was really cool back in the day.

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  20. As a kid I went to the Grand opening of Cotswald. It was a big affair. It was the hopping place until South Park Mall opened. As a teenager it was the cool spot for East, South and Myers Park kids to cruise thru the mall. Harris Teeter was on the top and A&P Grocery store on the bottom. Roses was where the cruising started then you entered the interior. As I recall you then had to cut thru Bush Stationary and Collins and then you opened into the lower section as you see in the picture. The cool attire was loafers with taps on the heels, slacks, and a nice long sleeve shirt with the coattails out. That was the cool look. A problem was teenagers stealing tips off the Rose's lunch counter as they cruised by. Good memories.

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  21. Sounds like a fun scene. Thanks for sharing your Cotswold memories.

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