What is it about dead malls that fascinates us so? More specifically: What is it about Northridge Mall that fascinates us so? Hardly a month seems to go by without another group of “urban explorers” puttering around in the long-shuttered Milwaukee mall and taking a look around. It’s evocative of a time long past, it’s eerie as hell, and it’s still fun to imagine yourself running around and owning the place, Dawn Of The Dead-, Mannequin-, or Career Opportunities-style. (You can also get this thrill from visiting the Shops or Grand Avenue, which blur the line between “dead” and “alive.”)
But the latest visit to Northridge has produced some especially fascinating loot: On his website, Chicago-based documentarian “jonrev” details a recent “raid” on the mall where he and some buddies “rescued” a ton of old photos and slides depicting the mall’s glory days. He explains:
We were originally going after the usual lootables—signs, blueprints, etc.—but there was one unexpected perk to the vandalism…a couple of locked rooms in the management offices had been broken into. One of which happened to be a storage area housing (among other things) a massive cache of the mall’s photo archive—slides, negatives, prints, binders, framed work…you name it.
The first batch of photos (check it out HERE) comes from 1987 or 1988, just before an extensive remodeling project. Northridge opened in 1972, and closed in 2003. “jonrev” promises more batches of photos to come. We can’t wait.
Oh, and here’s what Northridge looks like today:
And here’s video of it back in the day: