I kind of forgot all about the Pekin Mall, but the other day someone left a comment on facecrack about the Pekin Mall. It was in reference to the Sheridan Village Bergner’s closing and this person said that the only store left from The Pekin Mall is Bergner’s and it’s closing soon too. I did some research and it turns out that the spot that the Pekin Mall used to be is now called The East Court Village. I thought we’d go and take a look and see what this place that used to be the Pekin Mall looks like now. But before that, let’s take a look at what the Pekin Mall used to look like through some photos I’ve gotten off of the interwebs!
The Pekin Mall
This is a map of the Pekin Mall and as you can see, it was a huge mall with 57 stores and 3,000 parking spaces. It sold everything from tires to wigs to groceries to jewelry and everything in between. The mall was built and opened up in 1972 (a year earlier than the Northwoods Mall) and was the first mall here in Central Illinois. (Map courtesy of Trip To The Mall.)
I found these photos on the Labelscar blog. As you can see, there was a Lums restaurant, Walden Books, Claire’s Boutique, JC Penny and a Bergner’s department store. The only thing left from the mall is that Bergner’s store and we’ll be seeing that soon, but first a word from Erik Reader!
An Essay On The Pekin Mall and Mall Culture By Erik Reader
Erik is a friend and a once-in-a-while guest star here on the MBIP blog. He wrote an interesting article on the Pekin Mall and mall culture in general and you can read that by clicking on the picture above or you can click here. Or you can click on both, any way you choose you should read the article, it’s an interesting take on the Pekin Mall and what malls have brought to our cities and culture. Erik and his wife Danielle currently reside in Rock Island, Illinois where in addition to cursing the existence of shopping malls, he is the Executive Director of the Downtown Rock Island Partnership and you can check out his website right here.
The East Court Village
Here we are driving into Pekin towards The East Court Village, the site of the old Pekin Mall. What’s funny is that they still have a sign saying, “Mall Entrance” at the intersection!
But the mall is gone and now it’s the East Coast Village shopping center. Actually, a chunk of the mall is still here, let’s go and take a look!
Over here on this strip of stores is the last Pekin Mall store standing, Bergner’s. But just like all of the other Bergner’s stores, this one will soon be history. I went inside and took a shot of the store and met Laurie who works there. She was very nice and is also a reader of this blog and I always love to hear that!
She told me that this is indeed the original Bergner’s from the Pekin Mall and said the other buildings are also fragments from the mall. They’ve been chopped down and new stores have moved in. I had no idea, I thought they had bulldozed the whole thing down, but these structures are actually the old Pekin Mall. Let’s take a look at the rest of the businesses located here.
This strip houses an OSF Healthcare facility, a Hobby Lobby and a Petco store. I’ve never seen a red dog before and what the hell is that blue animal next to him? So many questions and so little time, let’s just keep moving along here!
A couple items in the Dollar Tree window caught my eye. The “Item of the Week” is assorted DVD movies. Does anyone actually watch DVD’s anymore? I’m guessing this took the place of last week’s sale on eight track tapes. The other thing I noticed were Mother’s Day balloons on sale for a dollar apiece. Nothing says, “I love you, mom,” quite like a cheap-ass balloon!
Laurie told me that this empty and abandoned building used to be the JC Penny section and entrance to the Pekin Mall.
Now it’s just a big, deserted building taking up space. It’s kind of sad, but I don’t have time to dwell on closed retail stores, I have to go do some shopping on Amazon right now. We’ll see you all tomorrow!
3500 Court Street
If you were watching my guest appearance on Good Day Central Illinois, you saw that I got a very nice surprise on that segment.
Tiffini Eunice who I know from facecrack and we met at The Jukebox Comedy Club when Tom Arnold was there surprised me with a Little Nut Hut that she got from Greg Quast who is the local owner and distributer for the Little Nut Huts. Tiffini said she’s a big fan of the blog and wanted to give this to me for the enjoyment she gets from reading it. Well, that’s one of the nicest things that’s ever happened to me and I want to thank her and everyone at Good Day Central Illinois for setting up this surprise! I’ll be doing a blog on my very own personal Little Nut Hut in a couple weeks, so stay tuned for that!
Thanks again, Tiffini, that was so nice and I truly appreciate it!