Monday, September 25, 2006

Move 'em on, head 'em up, at the Kiddie Corral

In the Twin Cities where I grew up, there are four malls with "Dale" in their name. Rosedale was my home mall, but Southdale was really the king -- it was the biggest and the ritziest of the Dales, as well as the very first (enclosed, climate-controlled) mall in the nation.

I remember my first-ever Southdale visit -- I could not have been more wary and fearful and in awe of a shopping experience if you had dropped me, a preteen who'd never been outside the Upper Midwest, into the heart of Times Square. But over the years, it became a familiar friend. In fact, when Rob and I bought our first house, it happened to actually share a street name with the street Southdale is on, 20 blocks and one city boundary down the street.

My former co-worker, James Lileks, has devoted a part of his legendary site to Southdale. It looks a lot nicer in his photos than it does in these gloomy images of the jail-like Kiddie Corral. Apparently poor monkeys and birds were trapped in the Kiddie Corral for little tots to gawk at. What a life.

To get that taste out of your mouth, here are some better images of Southdale, about to open in 1956.

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