Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Rolling Acres Memories Revised

Cliff Note: I am rewriting this, originally posted in November, 2006, because I read in this morning's Akron Beacon Journal that the 8 remaining non-anchor stores will have to close since FirstEnergy is due to cut the power off in the mall due to non payment. Rolling Acres Mall in Akron, Ohio has been, for years, a "white elephant." when the mall was in it's planning stages, it was to be built in a more affluent area, but an outcry of the residents in that area caused a change in plans. It's location is in between one of the poorer areas of Akron, and Barberton, which has been for years a depressed community. Also take into account that there is a lack of access roads to the mall and it's no wonder the mall has been dying for years. What now follows is from the original post.

I have some memories of my own.

December 1, 1977 was a somewhat chilly Saturday night. It was the night which I took my future wife on our first date. We saw the movie "Heroes", starring Henry Winkler and Sally Field. It was playing that night at the Rolling Acres Cinema. The movie ended after the mall was closed, and we had to walk around the mall to get to my car(It was a 75 Gremlin. Not a chick magnet by any means.) I must have left a good first impression. We were married fifteen months later.

Two weeks after that first date we were back at the mall, Christmas shopping at Montgomery Ward.

The tuxes for our wedding came from a tux shop at the mall. Gifts for the wedding party also came from the mall.

Walking through the mall one afternoon, I was greeted by Bob Devine, who at the time was morning show host at WCRF, and he was asking questions of a spiritual nature. The feature on the air was called Sidewalk Chats.

As we were raising our family, we spent many evenings just walking through Rolling Acres. When I needed extra money, I got a job at Montgomery Ward. When that store closed in 1986, I took my part time endeavor to the Sears store. Later on I tried my hand at full time sales working at the Fretter Superstore next to the mall.


Brenda said...

Oh, I could just cry!! I absolutely loved Rolling Acres. Oneils, Sears,JC Penney, The County Seat, and Hair Care Harmony! What fun being a teenager was at this mall. Later in years we'd take the kids up for hotdogs, nachos & cheese sticks at the Midway Char Grill. They loved hearing the live piano playing during lunch (She played the Barney theme for them once) Lots of memories there. Wonderful memories!! **sigh**

Michelle Dawn said...

What wonderful memories. At one time I worked at the local mall here at Sears. It sounds lke a great first date :)

BusyBeeSuz said...

What a sad ending to all those great memories. It breaks my heart for all the businesses and the employees who will be out of work. A very sad time indeed.

kathy said...

I have great memories of that mall and our first date. It is sad to think of it closing.Cliff and I spent a lot of time there. We couldn't afford much and still cant but memories are priceless.

Frasypoo said...

We have a mall like that close by...its getting close to shutting down

struke said...

My Mom and Dad used ot take my older brother and me to Rolling Acres for Christmas shopping. It was the most exciting road trip to go from Massillon up to Rolling Acres. I loved it. The mall had such a great atmosphere during the holidays.

YEKIMI said...

A few Rolling Acres factoids:

I had heard that it was orginally supposed to be built in Barberton [where Austin Estates is now, south of the Giant Eagle on 619 or 5th st] but Barberton wanted no part of the traffic and other nightmares that would come with having a mall so Akron begged for it instead and got it.
When it first opened, it was the largest mall in the USA.

I think the beginning of its downfall was when they allowed the Metro Transit authority use it as a bus transfer station, therefore bringing all the little thugs up from the projects and elsewhere in Akron where they just wandered around the mall terrorizing people and destroying stuff. I continued to go there until I was threatened by a group of them and when complained to security he just looked at them and turned and literally ran away. I then informed the mall management that I would be taking my business elsewhere. I guess the other malls learned the lesson Rolling Acres didn't because Summit Mall told Metro to find another transfer spot because they started having the same problems and now Chapel Hill instituting their "no teens under 18 after 5 pm" rule unless they have an adult with them.

And you are right about the access to the mall, I don't understand why they built that without the mall owners insisting that they have access BOTH ways off I-76 instead of just the off ramp going eastbound and the on ramp going westbound....poor planning all the way around.

74WIXYgrad said...

Another thing about the State St. exit off I-76 was the steep downhill drive after you got off the freeway going to the mall. I'm sure it made for some interesting driving in the winter time.

I would get off on the Barber Road exit instead and go in the back way, which I'm sure was a major source of income for the city of Norton, as their finest always ran radar just inside Norton city limits, about 500 feet behind the mall. That was also the area Richard Cooey murdered the two Akron University co-eds.

Tim Lones said...

We have a similar situation here in Canton-Canton Centre (The Former Mellett Mall-They should never have changed the name) has been dying for years, but they are trying to build outlots with new stores, not unlike the "Strip" in North Canton..I think ikt will be nice once they are done..