One of the Oldest Malls in the Country Can Be Found in Upstate NY
Ahhh, the mall. It means something different to everyone. Maybe it's a place you remember fondly as a teenage hangout spot. Maybe you and your book club members were mall walkers. Maybe you just know your local mall as a creepy abandoned building.
The fact is, change in consumer behavior over the last 10-15 years has led to a startling number of shopping mall closures across the United States. But one mall in Upstate New York has been holding steady... for over 170 years!
PADDOCK ARCADE • WATERTOWN, NEW YORK
The Paddock Arcade is the nation's oldest continuously operating (covered) shopping mall, opening all the way back in 1850! Located at 1 Public Square in Watertown, it earned a designation on the National Register of Historic Places back in 1976.
...the arcade remains the benchmark structure in Watertown's historic downtown district. The structure runs perpendicular to the adjoining Paddock Building. The arcade was built in the Gothic style, topped with a glass roof that allowed daylight to filter through. The Paddock Building contains a 19th-century Italianate façade.
If you find yourself in Watertown, you can still walk these historic halls and do a little shopping at a range of stores, including an antiques and variety store, a café, a beauty salon and a tavern.
A mall that's over 170 years old? Pretty impressive. But I can't help but wonder... what do you think the Hot Topics looked like back in 1850? There were no bands to make t-shirts for. Do you think they had Edgar Allan Poe and Karl Marx t-shirts on the wall?