Sunday, March 27, 2011

'Cherry Hill' - The Magical Name That Changed Everything

An artist's rendering of the Cherry Hill Mall (pre-opening) and the Strawbridge's department store. This entire portion of the Mall has since been replaced by the dazzling new Nordstrom wing and the Mall itself has been transformed into a premier, modern-day shopping and dining destination. The Mall and the town remain virtually synonymous.
Cherry Hill.
For nearly 50 years that name has retained a magic.
Mention Cherry Hill anywhere in America and people invariably say they know about it. And, more often than not, they mention the Cherry Hill Mall.
The Mall is a certified American landmark. When it opened in October, 1961 it marked a milestone: The first and largest enclosed shopping mall east of the Mississippi. It was joyously welcomed as a tropical paradise.
The Mall (and the Cherry Hill Inn, Garden State Park, and other kitschy landmarks like the Hawaiian Cottage) put Cherry Hill on the map. Those other landmarks are long gone.
But here's the incredible part of the story: The Mall has not only survived; it has thrived.
It's newer, more hip, and busier than ever. And for Cherry Hill, after half a century the Mall is still the jewel in the crown.
Our dear friend Kevin Riordan has a beautiful feature story in today's Philadelphia Inquirer about the town, the Mall and the legacy and magic of Cherry Hill.
Here's a snippet:

Ballyhooed as a "tropical paradise," the enclosed shopping center at the old Jaus Farm on Route 38 was among the first of its kind in America.
"The Cherry Hill Mall," longtime resident Dan Cirucci recalls, "changed this region forever."
The promotional fervor (or fever) was understandable. With a snazzy array of indoor stores, acres of free parking, and "Golden Aviary" of exotic birds, the mall siphoned shoppers from downtown Camden and Philadelphia. And it helped put the freshly renamed township, which will mark its golden anniversary as Cherry Hill this year, on the map.
Cirucci, who grew up in Camden, says the mall "lent a luster" to what had long been called Delaware Township. "People wanted to be in Cherry Hill. Everything was new."
Click here for more of this fascinating story.

1 comment:

Helena Antle said...

This reminded of the story of the first-ever covered shopping mall in the world, "Paris Arcades." Like Cherry Hill, it also thrived and the transitions are remarkable! Establishments like these two also help a community thrive and become known. The name does not own the property for its own, but it is shared to the community where it stands.