Midway Mall: A Place to Breathe

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“When gone I am, the last of the malls in Elyria will I be.”-Midway Mall *in Yoda voice

Intro:

Well that was actually a dumb quote because this is the only mall that Elyria has ever had, but knowing me you know I had to throw a Star Wars quote into this. Nonetheless, Midway Mall is a place that reminds me of why dead malls are so great. You don’t come here to shop, and you don’t come here to meet people like we often did back in the ’80s; you come to this mall to indulge in the nostalgia of what used to be. A place to breathe, a place to walk, and a place to think without being pressured into buying anything.

Dead malls are places to get out of the cold or heat (pending Ohio’s bi-polar weather) and walk around simply pondering of times past and what the future of these places may hold. If you know me, you know that I am extremely excited to bring this blog to you, as this is one of my favorite dead malls that I have ever been to in my lifetime. I will assure you that I will give you everything I have photo-wise, provide as much information as possible, and pay this once successful destination the respect it deserves.

Backstory:

When first planning my 3 day mall trek, I was looking up places around the Cleveland area as I knew there had to be at least one or two dead malls around the city. I wasn’t wrong. I was too late for Euclid Square (R.I.P.) and while I do plan to venture out to Richmond Towne Square Mall here soon, it was unfortunately too far out from my South Park, Great Northern path that day. But then I saw Midway on Google. I had never been out to Elyria before as I typically stay around Akron or downtown Cleveland, so I looked up a few pictures of this place and, with it only being 15 minutes from Great Northern, I knew I had to stop by.

PANA1731Abandoned hotel in the parking lot above and former department store below.PANA1715

These were the first two things I saw as I pulled into the parking lot. Immediate dead mall boner.

Mall Information:

Midway Mall of Elyria was opened in 1966 and originally featured 4 anchors in Higbee’s, Penney’s, Sears, and Woolworths. In 1990 the mall was renovated and featured a brand new food court, along with other renovations added to the concourses. Originally owned by the Jacobs Group of Cleveland, the mall was sold in 2001 to the Westfield Group and the name was changed to Westfield Shoppingtown Midway (horrific name). Due to the mall not “fulfilling” Westfield’s needs (must be a dead mall hater), Westfield sold the property to Centro Properties Group in 2006 and the mall reverted back to its much better original name.

Just one year later, anchor Dillards closed, and in 2016 and 2017, the mall lost both Macy’s and Dillards, basically putting this mall in a hospice. On top of that, the mall’s last department store anchor JC Penney, which had been at the mall since its birth, closed down just this past summer. As of 2020 there are 2 anchors that are being occupied with the former Macy’s being used as a Johnny K’s Power Sports (not a real anchor) and Best Buy which recently announced they would be closing their Midway Mall location in 2020. If Midway makes it to the end of 2020, all anchors open to the concourses of the mall will be closed, and the encompassing 940,000 + square feet of retail space will be left to rot.

Exterior:

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I just absolutely love every single bit of the outside of this place. There’s so much rust, old 1960’s light fixtures, and signs that I can’t tell whether they’re from the ’60s or the 1990 renovation. Even the anchors are a sight to see from the outside, this place borderline looks abandoned. Upon first look, I literally left my car running as I walked up to the door to make sure that the doors to the concourses were open. Check out the outside of this old department store.

PANA1749I think I’m in love. Or how about this one:

PANA1723The brick post HOLDING UP THE ROOF is literally falling apart and I’m not sure how long this store has been closed but it is just incredible to see what lack of maintenance to man-made structures does in such little time. Next we have more gorgeous ’60s buildings.

PANA1734Look at the awesome can lights featuring Rosie, my 97 Cadillac Seville. What a pic.PANA1735

The parking lot as you saw before featured that abandoned hotel. Well guess what, it also has an abandoned diner named after the mall.

PANA1742Looks like they might have some good pancakes. On top of that, there is also an abandoned movie theater; it seems like one day in the mid oughts, everyone in Elyria decided to just forget about this whole parking lot filled with shopping, food, and entertainment.

PANA1732This is the former Macy’s, now Johnny K’s, which I can’t really call a true anchor because it’s like Bass Pro Shops at Forest Fair Mall: it’s not connected to the inside of the mall and it doesn’t support the mall’s business.

PANA1724“What you lookin’ at, I-80?”- Midway Sign

I got a couple videos of the outside for you guys as well.

This entrance, accompanied by my video and me accidentally turning on some weird Spanish station, appears to have been added in the 1990 renovation and has some geometric patterns that remind me of my childhood at the forgotten Beechmont Mall.

Nice van, not creepy at all.

Rosie again feat. The Bravery and those sweet can lights.

Alright, you guys ready for the interior? “Yeah, me too– Kylo Ren Star Wars: TLJ

Interior:

I know I said as soon as I pulled into the parking lot I knew I was in for something good. Or maybe I said mall boner. Nevertheless I stepped inside and my dreams came true.

20200130_160034 (1).jpgClearly a newer directory sign in the entrance which appears to already be messed up, accompanied by the beautiful 1990 flowerpots and tile flooring.20200130_160055.jpgAs you turn around at the entrance, you will see a weirdly placed fake garden set with a white picket fence above a “Thank you for shopping sign.” No, thank you for still being here Midway.20200130_160111.jpgWhen you see one of these, you know you’re in a dead mall. Sadly I didn’t step inside and play one of these knockoff arcade games.20200130_160119.jpgAs you approach the main concourse, you will see the fake trees which I’ll show you more of later on. Fake plants are EVERYWHERE in this mall, feat. a closed Zales.20200130_160134.jpgI wish I got to see this place pre-1990 renovation when they added these hideous columns and a few other features. It appears they couldn’t fill this space so they just opened it up and made it a little seating area that looks like it belongs in a retirement home.20200130_160144.jpgAhh at last, the center of the Mall. Former department store closed in front of you, and still Christmas lights hanging in January. I don’t know if there was ever a grand fountain in this mall as I can’t find any old pics, but I’m assuming there was once one here in the center which was removed at some point in time due to lack of maintenance.20200130_160158.jpgAs we take a right down the main concourse, you will see a cute little kids play area being used heavily (deadpan), and this awesome 1990 change machine.20200130_160223.jpgSaved by the Bell anyone? As we continue towards Best Buy, you’ll see the fake palm trees which don the corridors and help give the mall a Floridian feel which I absolutely adore.20200130_160235 (1)I’m sure that skylight gives it just enough light to keep it alive. I got another video for you now, this one taken from my Galaxy S10. Pardon my sniffles.

That old mall walker asked if I was buying the place and I said, “If I had the money.” As you get to the end of the corridor you just see this.20200130_160509.jpg“Nahh, don’t keep the old entrance. Just put up drywall and a bedroom door, that’ll work.” – One of the mall owners

20200130_160405.jpgLooking out to your right, very cool rundown entrance.20200130_160448 (1).jpgThose globes are one word, perfect. Back inside we see one of these things which made every kid ages 3-9 beg their mom for a quarter.20200130_160728.jpgWe continue down the main concourse and to the right towards the food court.20200130_160705.jpgEmpty storefronts fill this place. According to a video I saw, it’s about 80% vacant in here but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was more.20200130_160721.jpgThe garden with a white picket fence again. Is the theme in here Florida, hospice, or suburban garden? We may never know. Next we see a nice open area by the food court.20200130_160925.jpgMore flowerpots.20200130_160935.jpgDaily Bread? More like Daily Closed. Check out the mirrored walls up top which go throughout lots of this mall. 20200130_160943.jpgNow this sitting area looks more like a half-assed office waiting room. Finally, the food court. And man, I was STARVING.20200130_161000.jpgHow do you not appreciate the skylight here?20200130_160927.jpgSo 90’s. The food court didn’t have much, just two Asian restaurants. 20200130_160957.jpgSome renovations have clearly been done in the oughts here. Food porn incoming. That JJ BBQ & Grill slapped and really helped get rid of that mall daze.20200130_163302.jpgI’m fueled up now so let’s continue, there’s still plenty more to see! Also note the food court was massive, far too big for the amount of restaurants. 20200130_161000 (1).jpgThere was also a stage over to the right, for reasons I don’t know why. I would play a show here though, not a bad place for Dad Bod Collective’s first gig.20200130_162922.jpgCool window by the main food court entrance. We continue off of the food court corridor. There’s a few walkers and a family sitting but no stores to be found.20200130_161018.jpgAnother white picket fence spotting. The mall also put up these cool Asian globe things in many of the vacant windows.20200130_161116.jpgAnd the exit to the right.20200130_161114.jpgOn your left of the black glossy storefront is another vacant department store.20200130_161122.jpgSee the globes again to your left. Back by the food court you can see another vacant department store entrance and these lights that are falling apart.20200130_161251.jpg

20200130_161314.jpgWe continue down the last corridor we haven’t seen and come across this picture. First noted, that sign is a lie.20200130_161440.jpgSecond, what is that guy thinking about? I really appreciate the brickwork on this part of the mall, along with the mirrored wall which you can see again.

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Really great aesthetic all around.

Conclusion:

As we come to a close with Midway Mall I just want to say a few things. I’m not sure what made this place die. I don’t know if it was a lack of updates, competition with Great Northern, or poor ownership, I really have no idea. However, it would be really cool to see what this place was like when it was happening because it was very successful for a long time. I also hope that this place is around longer so that everyone reading this can get a chance to check it out because it is really worth it for a dead mall go-er.

It was tough to hear after my visit that Best Buy would be closing because that’s the moment I knew this would probably be my first and last visit to Midway. I hope for those of you who have been waiting for this review are happy with it as I poured all of my love for dead malls and abandoned shit into this blog. If you have any more information on this place, or any personal experiences here, please feel free to comment on it because I would love to know some more history or stories other than what I can find online. Overall, I had an excellent trek through northeast Ohio this day and Midway really put the cherry on top to my day-trip. Thank you to whomever is still operating this place, and whether it lives or dies, its legacy will live on.

Mall Maniac Review:

From a shoppers perspective: 0/10

From my perspective: 10/10

PANA1753“See ya around kid.”- Luke Skywalker Star Wars: TLJ

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