Thursday, November 29, 2007

Malling of America

Anyone remember the South Flint Plaza? My Grandma McFarlane once took me there to buy a Hot Wheels race track. Keith Milford has a website devoted to the malls of America and it includes some photos and information on South Flint Plaza and Genesee Valley mall, which was home of those large frogs that fascinated me as a kid. (You can catch a glimpse of the frog in the top photo; he's lurking behind the two Flintoids in bad suits.) Not sure if the frogs are still there, but the mall does have a menacing Parental Escort Program on Friday and Saturday evenings to promote "a family-friendly shopping and dining environment."
"Youth under the age of 18 who are at Genesee Valley Center after 5 PM Friday and Saturday evenings must be under the direct supervision and control of a parent or guardian, 21 years or older, and all parties must comply with the center's Code of Conduct Policy."
Sounds fun to be a teenager in Flint these days.

UPDATE: Check out this New Yorker article by Malcolm Gladwell on malls. Thanks to
firedande for the link.



    must read

  2. I feel the need to do a "shout" out for the Southsiders and for my Grandparents who owned and operated The Dort Mall on the corner of Dort and Atherton. My great Grandparents (Bill and Agnes Oleksyn) sold the Drive In Theater that once stood their and decided to venture into the world of shopping outside of Downtown. It never quite became a shopping mecca but it was sure a huge part of my childhood. They really lived the American Dream having come from Poland as young adults with nothing and making many, many real estate deals in Flint and Gennessee county. They remembered a Flint that thrived. Must have been something to see. Jen Murphy, now living in TN.

  3. the frog is no longer there, during a remodel in the late 90's it was moved to applewood.

  4. A better history of the frog (including what it's been up to since it's days at the Valley) can be found here, for anyone interested.

  5. The Genesee Valley mall had a sculpture by Ernest Trova by Hudson's, in the 1970s. Now that sculpture is at the Flint Institute of Arts. here is a link to a photo of it:


Thanks for commenting. I moderate comments, so it may take a while for your comment to appear. You might enjoy my book about Flint called "Teardown: Memoir of a Vanishing City," a Michigan Notable Book for 2014 and a finalist for the 33rd Annual Northern California Book Award for Creative NonFiction. Filmmaker Michael Moore described Teardown as "a brilliant chronicle of the Mad Maxization of a once-great American city." More information about Teardown is available at