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Southdale Mall

Southdale, Edina, 1956. Location no. MH5.9 ED3.1 p17Southdale Shopping Center, located in Edina, Minnesota, was the first totally enclosed shopping center in the nation. In 1952, its developers, the Dayton family, long-established Minneapolis department store merchants, commissioned the architecture firm Victor Gruen & Associates to create a new form designed to reflect and serve changing patterns of suburban living. The master plan combined elements of the village green, of European city centers, and of elegant arcades and gallerias, in a constant temperature-controlled enclosure. When Southdale opened in 1956, it included 72 stores, and was anchored by two major department stores, all arranged in a two-level design around a brightly lighted center court. It offered free parking, and its 5000 parking spaces were grouped into lots, well marked by clever symbols to aid in locating one's own in the sea of cars. Not only did Southdale Shopping Center fulfill the vision of its creators as a center of commerce and of social life for suburban residents, it also fueled suburban growth and became a much-imitated model.

GET STARTED WITH SECONDARY SOURCES:

  • "From Southdale to the Mall of America: Urban Models for Cities of Our Time," by Edgerton Martin.
    In Hennepin History, vol. 51, no. 3 (summer 1992), pp. 4-14.
    MHS call number: Reading Room F612.H52 H42 v.51:3.
  • Mall Maker: Victor Gruen, Architect of an American Dream, by M. Jeffrey Hardwick.
    Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2004.
    MHS call number: NA 737 .G78 H37 2004.
  • The Malling of America: An Inside Look at the Great Consumer Paradise, by William Severini Kowinski.
    New York: William Morrow, c1985.
    MHS call number: HF5430.3 .K68 1985.
  • "The Shopping Center That Spawned a Community," by Peg Meier.
    In Mpls. St. Paul, vol. 9, no. 8 (Aug. 1981), pp. 66-69, 130-131.
    MHS call number: F614.M6 M56 v.9:8.
  • Shopping Towns USA: The Planning of Shopping Centers, by Victor Gruen and Larry Smith.
    New York: Reinhold Pub. Corp., [1960].
    MHS call number: HF5429 .G75.
    Note: Author Victor Gruen was the architect for Southdale Mall.
  • Victor Gruen Associates, Architecture, Planning, Engineering.
    Includes a brief history of the company, short biographies of major associates, brief information on other associates, a list of major awards and a representative list of clients, and photographs of the firm's significant projects, including Southdale Shopping Center (pages 26-27).
    [Los Angeles]: The Associates, [1966].
    MHS call number: NA737 .V44 1966.

PRIMARY RESOURCES:

  • City of Edina, Southdale Shopping Center Development Plans, 1953-1956.
    Development plans for the Southdale Shopping Center in the city of Edina, including site plans and profiles, site details, utilities, building plans and profiles, a street improvement plan, a master plan for realty development in the Southdale area, and site plan for a proposed medical center. Victor Gruen was the architect.
    Note: According to the City Planning Department, these are not the as-built plans, but are very similar to the as-builts.
    MHS call number: See the red State Archives Notebooks for local governments — filed under Hennepin County, Edina — for a detailed list and locator numbers
    (there are 5 rolls of material in 3 plan boxes).
  • Newspapers that may be useful for this topic:
    • Minneapolis Star-Tribune (an index for articles published after 1970 is located in the Hubbs Microfilm Room)
    • St. Paul Pioneer Press Dispatch (an index for articles published in 1967 or after is located in the Hubbs Microfilm Room)
  • Visual Resources Database subjects that may be useful for this topic:
  • Check the library catalog for other materials.