Mount Prospect Plaza

Does MPHS have photographs: Yes

Address: Rand and Central

Is building standing: Yes

What is at site: Shopping Plaza

When was business founded: 1962

Is business still operating: Yes

Who owned business:

Interesting stories, facts, history:

While strip malls are rarely of much historic interest, the Mount Prospect Plaza has more to say than one might imagine. When the Plaza was built, there were very few shopping plazas in America. When the Plaza was started, in 1958, it was a pioneering concept. In the long run, strip malls have dramatically changed the landscapes in America, particularly in suburban communities. Strip malls are based on people driving to one location, which is at the outskirts of town and is isolated from the rest of the community. This is a very different concept of shopping than the small town days of the 1950s. Earlier in Mount Prospect’s history, there were small community owned businesses in the downtown area, which was a mixed use neighborhood with offices, store fronts, and houses within close proximity. The heydays of downtown Mount Prospect came to an end in 1962 with the opening of Randhurst and the Mount Prospect Plaza. These locations brought in larger national chain stores and were based entirely on an automobile culture. Ample parking was a necessity, but a pedestrian scale or an attractive street front was not.

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