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Shoppers Shift

Traffic on Tryon St., 1957

Views of shopping places show changing retail habits.

Looking north, traffic streaks down Tryon Street. Shopping options on Charlotte's main drage ranged from cars to dresses. Photo: 3/57 - Article: 3/8/57

In the late 1950’s Charlotteans were downtown day and night. Department stores, such as Ivey’s, Belk’s, Efird’s and Montaldo’s, attracted many customers. Theaters, which formerly hosted vaudeville acts, played moving pictures. Multiplex cinemas and shopping malls were just over the horizon. The photographs in the Image Gallery below show the following scenes:

  • Charlottetown Mall Convenience and comfort may have been two factors in the conceptualization of the shopping mall. Charlottetown Mall, now Midtown Square, opened October 28, 1959, and was the South’s first enclosed mall. Meanwhile downtown merchants considered free parking as a solution to the decrease in downtown shoppers. Photo c. Summer 1961, Related articles: 10/29/59, 6/2/95   
  • Holiday shoppers gather in front of Ivey’s. Despite competition from suburban retailing, downtown was still a retail center in the sixties. Photo: Christmas 1968 - Article: unknown
  • Carolina Place Mall Retail flight to the suburbs continues. Carolina Place Mall served the southernmost portion of Mecklenburg County. It opened in 1991 but was still overshadowed by the supermall, Southpark, that opened in 1970. Photo: 7/24/91, (Bob Leverone) Article: 7/25/91
  • Throngs of shoppers competed for aisle space in Ivey’s during Christmas of 1957.
  • Ivey’s closed its doors for good in 1990. 
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