Crestwood Revisited, Exterior

Update: Demolished in mid-2016.

I went back with my parents to Crestwood Mall to check out the going out of business sale at the last remaining anchor at the mall, Sears. Scroll down and read about the development of the mall here.

Originally part of the strip mall before it was expanded and enclosed in the 1980’s, Sears still has its original escalators. It’s still surprising that Crestwood Mall is just about empty, until one factors in the major improvements and renovations to other nearby, competitor malls such as West County and South County Malls.

It has been five years since the last time I photographed the mall, and little has changed, except there are more cracks in the parking lot pavement. One thing I noticed on this trip was the sheer massiveness of the Dillard’s store, which closed several years ago. I could have sworn the front portico looked different in the past.

I assume it was originally built as a Stix, Baer and Fuller, and I also wonder if this was intended to be its suburban anchor. The white brick facade is truly amazing, and provides a real presence compared to the ugly and low slung Sears and Famous Barr/Macy’s. It also had a small covered corridor that was attached to the renovated portion in the 1980’s. It is interesting architecturally, with its outward facing stores and second floor.

The massive parking garage underneath seems to be largely blocked off now.

12 Comments Add yours

  1. This place brings back some real nostalgia. When I was a kid, Crestwood Mall was always packed and I couldn't count the number of hours that I spent hanging out at the Exhilarama, the food court, and the Future Shop. It's so sad seeing it all abandoned and empty like that. Being inside during peak shopping hours without anyone in sight is an eerie experience.

  2. Chris says:

    I used to love Exhilarama as well, and spent huge amounts of money playing arcade games there. I still don't understand what happened to this mall; I think Westfield, a previous owner, viewed this mall as expendable and in a move of shopping mall triage, left it for dead, or even attempted to kill it to sell the land.

  3. Mark Preston says:

    Chris: While it's been more than 35 years, I believe the Mall housed a Famous-Barr. I was there at the opening when Morton May released a dove. The mall's logo was the 'dove of peace' or maybe that would have been the 'dove of piece'. Anyway, it was a Famous Barr.

  4. Chris says:

    It was indeed a Famous Barr, which apparently was a Scruggs Vandervoort and Barney first, and was a Macy's for a year or two before closing. It was a Famous Barr for the majority of its life.

  5. Adam says:

    i worked at Exhilarama all through high school. Edison Brothers owned it before they went bankrupt, and then it was purchased by Namco. it started going down-hill shortly thereafter. man, that mall was a huge part of my teenage years… sad to see it go. remember when Exhilarama used to be the movie theater before they moved the theater to the Dillard's end of the mall?

    1. Ben says:

      Adam, I too worked at Exhilirama! I was the lead floor manager. I started when it was Exhilirama Preview upstairs and it only had the VR units and a dumpy little laser tag. When were you employed there?

  6. Chris says:

    Yes, I remember playing the Contra sequal in the old movie theater. It was always a little surreal being in Exhilarama, as you could tell where all of the concession stands were. And of course, the laser tag arenas were built in the shells of the old theaters.

  7. For some reason I really loved the food court there, with its circus room. I remember them having a Greek place with really good gyros as well.

  8. Chris says:

    Ah yes, the food court, there were several great restaurants, including the Greek restaurant, Flamers (always an odd choice for a name of a restaurant), but the smell of burned grease down there was always pretty intense.

  9. Carrie says:

    I also worked at Exhilarama at Crestwood Plaza for several years mostly running and managing the redemption department. Had so many great memories from that place especially the people I worked with. Unfortunately, Crestwood Plaza has been getting increasingly vacant and bleak for the last how many years. Kind of sad really.

  10. Ben says:

    It’d be great to know what has happened to some of the people I worked with at Exhilirama! Does anyone remember Andreas(manager) or Kevin(GM)? Any info would be cool because I became quite close with some of the people there. Hell!! I even met and married my wife as a result of the place! And we’re still together!

  11. Ryan J Buell says:

    Wasn’t there a different arcade in the same location before Exhilirama? I’m remembering red lit-up letters that ran diagonally on the wall outside of the Arcade (but still inside of the mall on the lower level across from the food court). I believe the name of the arcade started with the letter Z? At some point a guy used to buy/sell trade Pokemon cards down there, too. Loved going down there as a kid. Thanks for the quarters for tokens mom. -Ryan (born in 1990)

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