On October 8th, 1956, Southdale Mall opens in Edina, MN. It is the oldest fully enclosed climate-controlled mall in the United States.
The head of Dayton’s Department Store commissioned a study that determined that Minnesota only has 126 “ideal shopping weather days” a year. With that in mind, Donald Dayton hired Victor Gruen to design and build a fully enclosed shopping mall. The original design for the 500 acres included the mall, houses, a school, medical center and a park with a lake. The mall and the medial center were all that were ever completed.
75,000 people attended opening day taking full advantage of the free parking arranged in animal-themed sections. There were 72 smaller shops and two anchor department stores. 60 years later, Southdale is still serving the shoppers of Minnesota.