Saturday, September 23, 2006

Hill & Dale Mall; Northampton, Massachusetts



I first saw the Hill & Dale Mall while looking for food (or a Papa Ginos) on the way back up to New Hampshire via I-91. Located along the uppermost retail drag on King Street / Route 5 in Northampton, right off the interstate (but not visible), and not even a mile away from that unusual plaza, the Hill & Dale Mall is sits along the bustling road beside some smaller active businesses a completely vacant eyesore. By definition, the mall sits dead as any sign of commerce has vacated the vegetated property for what seems to be many years.


Do not be misunderstood, like the name says, this mall doesn't fit the definition of a typical shopping mall, but more or less a strip mall lacking the volume of a conventional indoor mall containing only a few parcels along a strip. While Northampton itself doesn't have any nearby mall competitors, aside from the neighboring mammoth Holyoke Mall at Ingleside in Holyoke and the "twilight-era" Hampshire Mall in Hadley (which is about five miles off the interstate), reasoning for the mall's demise isn't quite certain.


While there's not too much history on the bygones of the Hill & Dale Mall, it was at one point, host to two anchor stores; a Price Chopper Super Market, what looks to be a restaurant and maybe some smaller stores with plenty vestige of decay. After one of the plaza anchors called it quits, a flea market moved into one of the available properties on the lot which shuttered in late 2003 for some obvious reasons. The property now provides relief for truckers, which is prohibited but not exactly enforced. It appears there were rumors to move in a conventional strip mall with some recognizable chains, but that idea seems a little far off now.


Here's more pictures, all taken a few days ago while passing through Northampton.


The left side of the beaten down strip mall and it's mystery former anchor.


The left side of the building shows a considerable withering paint job.


The left side entrance to an unknown anchor.


A former Price Chopper Super Market onced operated business in this rather cramped space.


Seen faintly behind a troublesome out-of-control tree was a sunroom-style area.


More of the sunroom, blocked heavily by overgrownness.


Seemingly crashed-in and boarded up area which might've been a window. Unusual roofing and such predates this building back to the 1970's.


A former restaurant?


A black tarp covers something over the Price Chopper space.


"South Entrance" into the unknown.


Remaining plaza signage, as seen from the road.

If anyone remembers Hill & Dale Mall, and what it might've been, by all means feedback provide some insight.

13 comments:

Marc (from the Ames Fan Club) said...

That is the nastiest looking former shopping center that I have ever seen. Even the former Scarrit's Plaza in New Britain, CT (long since torn down replaced by a Shaw's - soon to close) wasn't that nasty looking for the few years it sat mostly vacant before they ripped it down to build Shaw's.

But then again would I expect anything more from a town referred to by former WXCT AM morning man as Northampton - Where Men are Men and the women are too?

And what the hell are the people mentioned in that article smoking - circulating a petition to not allow Borders and Staples to move in? The site can bring in a hell of a lot more tax dollars with stuff like Borders and Staples. Borders and Staples will also bring in more tax dollars than independent stores. How about ripping it all down and building a Shaw's or a non-union version of Shaw's? There doesn't appear to be any Shaw's anywhere in that area. According to SHAWS.COM the nearest stores to NORTHAMPTON are Enfield, Manchester, Canton, and Vernon Connecticut. Along with Sturbridge, Mass. All are signifigant drives from NORTHAMPTON.

labelscar said...

Wait... I'm a bit confused. Was there a portion of this mall that had been enclosed? If so, then this is a mall I wasn't even aware of!

Great find!

Nicholas M. DiMaio said...

I'm pretty sure, judging by it's size, it was not an indoor mall. However, other parts of this establishment could've been demolished but this portion of it remained? From what I reported, it's no more fancier than a strip mall plaza. I'm depending on locals to tell it true.

Anonymous said...

Looks like the restaurant was an Abdow's. They all had sunrooms just like that one. I'm not sure if any still exist. I know a bunch, if not all of them, became Bickford's.

Joe Tarantino said...

I grew up in Northampton and remember the Hill & Dale Mall when it was open.

Before there was a Price Chopper, it was an A&P Supermarket back in the 1970's. I was away from Northampton for over ten years and there may have been a restaurant there but I don't think so. What was next to the supermarket in the 70's & 80's was a liquor store.

While it looks like a strip mall, it actually was an indoor mall. The section towards the left that juts out was an entrance to a small indoor area where I remember a Radio Shack in the back and there was also a barber shop closer to the front. Those are the 4 business I am sure about: a supermarket, a liquor stare, a Radio Shack and a barber shop. There may have been one or two more, but basically the whole thing was a glorified supermarket.

There is a vacant lot that was a car dealership about a mile south on King Street that had a big development plan but it was just scrapped, in part, because property along train tracks is often contaminated with PCB's. Train tracks run all along the back of the east side of King Street and run behind the Hill & Dale Mall. Less then a mile north is the Hamp Plaza shopping center with the new flagship Biy Y supermarket and there is a staples opening in that plaza.

Northampton's Wal*Mart is in the building that had Caldor for decades. It's the same building, just retro-fitted.

John said...

It's gotten far worse, i actually didn't know it was ever a mall as i just moved to the area and front sign has been knocked down. The front of the building is starting to collapse at this point.

Lil Bee Dee said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
forestcreature said...

Hi. This site is now being re-developed. We'll see what happens, but it is basically be demolished.

forestcreature said...

Hi. This site is now being re-developed. We'll see what happens, but it is basically be demolished.

Anonymous said...

The site of the Hill and Dale Mall was once a single business called Cesco Container.They made display racks for retail stores and poker tables. I worked there summers during high school.In the early 70's the owner moved Cesco to Springfield and attempted to build a mall on King St. It was an indoor mall, but was a bust from the start. The few business's that moved in never saw any level of success, and the whole place went under. Cesco went out of business too.

Anonymous said...

Cesco did not move to Springfield. It went out of business. It made mostly furniture for the US army. When there were no more government contracts left for Cesco, the business closed in the early 70s. Then the Hill and Dale Mall was born. It was an actual indoor mall with an A&P store. The first tenants were: Hit or Miss, Radio Shack, a beauty salon, and a furniture store that occupied 2 storefronts. Later there was a restaurant: The Full House. Then a disco: Zax Disco. The front overgrown glass building was added on about 1980 as a florist: LaSalle Florists. The entire mall area was transformed into a drugstore when all of the old tenants left or went out of business: Fay's Drugs. This was open in the 1980s with Price Chopper (A&P went out of business years earlier). There were thoughts of a bookstore chain, Staples, or Marshalls then taking over the entire site, but that never came to fruition, and the site was eventually sold.

At one point, Hit or Miss, Radio Shack, Full House/Zax, the beauty salon, the furniture store, A&P, and a mall management office had the mall 100% full. I can remember times at the Full House when it was packed with people watching the Patriots play on the big screen projector tv.

Adam G said...

During the 1980's, the store on the far left was called Fay''s and it was like a small hardware store. My sister and I used to pass the time in there sticking plungers to the floor and seeing who could get more off (not very easy). At that time there was nothing in the middle. Just Fay''s and Price Chopper.

Shaw's never would have worked because this site is right between a Big Y and a Stop & Shop. That's why price chopper failed.

Adam G said...

The site is now a large regional facility for Baystate Medical Center.