In retail history

Southdale Center circa 1958   MN Historical Society

Southdale Center circa 1958
MN Historical Society

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.


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