My wife found a hanger in our coat closet. An old one. It must have belonged to my parents.
"Oh, wow!" I said. "Yeah, Hutzlers. They were one of the original anchors at Columbia Mall, along with Hochschild Kohn." I knew this to be true, having lived my entire life in Howard County and Columbia. I could picture the store in my mind. I was absolutely certain. I was also absolutely wrong.
She posted the photo of the hanger to FaceBook, and several people indicated they had no recollection of there being a Hutzlers in The Mall in Columbia. Sure enough, I did some digging
, and Hutzler's did not have a store in The Mall in Columbia. They had a store at Security Mall, which back in the 70s was similar in stature and scope to Columbia's mall. My grandmother lived near Security Mall, and we would regularly go to the movies
So I was wrong about Hutzler's at The Mall in Columbia. (Woodies was, in fact, the other anchor.) But this got me thinking. How many stores could I name from the original, two-anchor configuration of The Mall? If you're a Columbia old-timer, take a minute and try to remember as many stores as you can. For me, it was only a handful, a lot less than I'd originally thought.
Lucky for me (and for everyone living in Howard County) we have The Columbia Archives
, under the expert care of Barbara Kellner. I stopped in and Barbara was more than happy to help me satisfy my curiosity, pulling a set of files on the history of The Mall, as well as a 1971 community phone book.
This is an early promotional brochure for The Mall, pointing out the unique design, glass domes (although they're pyramids, not domes, right?), and convenient parking. Interesting to note that The Mall was closed on Sunday, with local blue laws
in effect. (For many years, even when The Mall opened on Sundays, the anchors remained closed.)
And here's a mall directory from the 1971 Columbia telephone directory. This is of particular interest because it lists what each store actually is. I would have had no idea that some of these cleverly named places were clothing or shoe stores without this guide.
Any of these stores bring back memories? (They sure do for me!) Leave a comment and share your stories.
(Larger versions of these images can be found on the HoCoMoJo Flickr feed