So which mall came first?
My fellow former Minnesotan Jason Kottke wrote about Edina's Southdale, which we in Minnesota were always told was the first-ever fully enclosed shopping mall, and got a lot of mail from folks disputing it. Many were from Seattle, supporting Northgate Mall's claim. Here's a list of early and/or prominent malls.
The weird thing, aside from the fact that one mall has "South" in the name and the other "North," is that Northgate is now the mall closest to my Seattle home, and in our last house, just on the border between Southwest Minneapolis and Edina, Southdale was just down the street. So the two historic malls are both malls I can call my own.
Mall of America is also of interest, of course. I was working at Mpls. St. Paul Magazine when it was built, and one day got to go out there with my boss when it was under construction...we had to wear hard hats and walked through a tangled, half-constructed work site that would later become Macy's or Nordstrom. I know a lot of people who have a seemingly unfounded hatred for the Megamall, but I find it fun, chock full of pop-culture goodness and always offering something new and zany.