On This Date In Twin Cities History - October 8, 1956

Southdale shopping cnter circa 1956 (MHS)

On this date in 1956, Southdale Shopping Center, the first fully enclosed shopping mall, opens in Edina. Austrian war refugee and architect Victor Gruen designed the mall, which he hoped would become “the town square that has been lost since the coming of the automobile.

It should become the center of this civilization.” Later realizing that civilization was in fact crystallizing around the mall in a commercial rather than in his utopian way, Gruen would retire from architecture in 1967 and become one of the most ardent critics of commercialized mall culture until his death in 1980. (MNopedia)