The site of Phoenix’s first shopping mall, Park Central Mall is undergoing renovations to revitalize and return the property to its stature as a hub for community gathering. During the preparations for renovations 20 volumes of clippings were found in the mall basement, some from as early as the 1950s ground breaking of the mall. These are the basis of a new Nexus Co-operative project to preserve and share the stories of this iconic Phoenix space.
“When you trace the history of Park Central Mall, you can see how Phoenix went from being a small town to being one of the largest cities in the United States,” Delmont said. “Phoenix has a rich history, but its history doesn’t get as much attention as cities like Boston, Chicago or New York. Preserving the history of Park Central Mall is important because it was a hub that connected hundreds of thousands of Phoenix residents over multiple decades.”
As a Leah Newsom and Erica May note in an ASU Now story on the project, ASU oral historian Kristine Navarro-McElhaney and her team will be collecting those memories in community interviews and on collection days at the mall on March 3 and April 7.
“So many people have a deep connection with Park Central Mall — colorful stories, family memories and traditions that resonate with them to this day,” Navarro-McElhaney said. “We want to capture and preserve this rich history and not only highlight Park Central’s significance to those that experienced it, but preserve it for future generations.”