Profile America: America’s First Shopping Mall

Wednesday, March 15 — Everyone who loves convenience in shopping can thank visionaries Edward Delk and J.C. Nichols, who conceived, designed, and built the first shopping mall in the U.S. The Country Club Plaza, on the outskirts of Kansas City, opened this month in 1923 to wide acclaim. It was the first shopping area to have stores facing inward toward a promenade, rather than facing out toward a road. The mall had 150 stores and a 2,000-seat auditorium. There were parking spaces for 5,500 cars; a notable figure when there were a little over 13-million cars in America. Today, the Country Club Plaza is still in business — along with nearly 110,000 other purpose-built shopping centers, where Americans ring up much of the nation’s roughly $4.5 trillion in retail sales annually.

You can find more facts about America’s people, places and economy, from the American Community Survey, here.

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