Tim Fulton 00:11
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the confluence cast presented by Columbus underground. We are a weekly Columbus centric podcast focusing on the civics, lifestyle, entertainment, and people of our city. I’m your host Tim Fulton. This week Eastland Mall. Once a thriving hub of retail activity in Columbus has closed its doors for good. Historian Doug moats takes a look back at the history of the mall, and examines its impact on the local community, the retail industry and the city as a whole. We also discussed the political fights that have always followed development in Columbus and the need to look at the plan for the neighborhood. Now that Eastland is gone. You can get more information on what we discussed today in the show notes for this episode at the confluence cast.com. Also, the confluence cast is on Patreon. Find out how to support this podcast on our website, the confluence cast.com Or at patreon.com/confluence. Confluence cast is sponsored this week by the Mid Ohio Regional Planning Commission or more pcy. featuring stories about local and regional partners that envision and embrace innovative directions and economic prosperity, transportation, sustainability, and an inclusive Central Ohio Morrissey’s transformative programming, innovative services and public policy initiatives are designed to promote and support the vitality and growth in the region. For more information, please visit more pcy.org Enjoy the interview. Sitting down here virtually with Columbus historian and Columbus scholar, Doug moats Doug, how are you sir?
Doug Motz 01:59
I’m great. Thanks for having me on the podcast, Tim. I really appreciate it.
Tim Fulton 02:03
No, absolutely. We are here talking on the occasion of the demise. I don’t want to use too heavy of words, talking about the Eastland mall has closed. And it’s an opportunity to look back at the history of that mall. And frankly, look back at the history of enclosed malls in general in Columbus and shopping and how it’s evolved over time, Doug, first of all, to lend you some credence. Give us a little bit of your background as historian here in Columbus.
Doug Motz 02:35
Sure. Thanks again for having me on. I’m a lifelong Franklin County resident. I actually was born in Columbus, at the old St. Ann’s hospital on Brighton road. My family though lived out in Reynoldsburg. So I you know Reynoldsburg guy would go to Eastland mall and work to de semana will get there. But a very incident local history. written a couple of books with friends. With David Myers, Elise Myers Walker and Jeff Chanel. We wrote a book on the long lost Kiki, which has a second book coming out actually. Next month, Makiki scrapbook. We’ve got so much interest in that, that a lot of people wanted more and told us more story. So there’s enough for a whole other book. And my friend Christine Hayes, she and I wrote last restaurants of Columbus. And then there were so many people that said you forgot this one. And you were right, because we were focusing exclusively on Columbus. So we wrote the second book, The Last restaurant, so central Ohio and Columbus. I’ve got those and with my friend Jeff. Jeff wrote a whole book on Ohio Tiki, and I was he asked me to do the foreword. And I was really pleased to do that. So I’ve written some books. I give tours for CBS city adventures, I’ve given tours for leadership, Columbus, I’ve given tours history of the city for the Council of historic neighborhoods. I was president at one point of the Columbus Historical Society. I’ve written a column for Columbus underground called history lesson. Starting that up again, actually with a history of the Deshler Wallach Hotel. So I’m really happy to be here and that some of my experience and some of my background.
Tim Fulton 04:36
Yeah, and one thing I said to you before we started recording today, I am surprised that it’s taken so long for you and I to connect. This feels like an appropriate time given that we’re looking back at something but I imagine that we will have you again in the future to talk about some of Columbus history, especially as things continue to evolve and we’re getting into In voting or excuse me, a city council zone system this year, and there’s just a lot to look back on. And of course, the podcast was not around during the bicentennial.
Doug Motz 05:11
For sure. Yeah. At one point, I was actually living sit Avenue area Commissioner. So I’m pretty well aware of some of the the politics happening in the Center City. So that would be interesting. There you
Tim Fulton 05:22
go. Let’s first of all give the high level rundown of Eastland mall and how it got started and what its history is here.
Doug Motz 05:32
Sure, for sure. So, ground got broken. On July 12 1966. The following day I was born. So is, interestingly enough, it was announced to be by the cast organization and the it was another organization that was involved in putting all of that together with them. The this can’t see me Jacobs company, they were the co founders to be actually opened in 67. It opens in 68. But there was a construction workers strike. And so the mall itself did not open. But parts of the mall did actually the Lazarus family was able to open Eastland mall in August of 1967. So that was kind of interesting. And they made a really, really big deal. Because at the mezzanine level, they had the very first restaurant that would overlook the mall. So you could go out there and get a sandwich or something. I have a lot of terrific memories again, that’s where I grew up. They had a there was a theater in the mall, the Eastland theater, they had just two screens. But my grandmother, who worked at the Union, which was a competitor of Lazarus, and of Morehouse math, you know, Morehouse, the fashion and all that, but she would take me there to see the Disney movies when they would get first released. I remember always going there with her and either before the movie or after the movie. I remember seeing Mary Poppins with her at Eastland theater and I remember seeing lady in the tramp with her. And I have memories of it too, because she got me the little golden books and she would sign it you know from your grandmother. But we would have we would have a fancy lunch at the Lazarus restaurant overlooking the mall. And I would always get this Mickey Mouse ice cream sundae. They put it you know, like Oreo cookies, and ice cream, like Mickey Mouse ears and these big things of licorice to make it look like whiskers or whatever. And I think maybe red hots for eyes or something. So I have a lot of great memories of that mall. But that was a really big deal. They’re really kind of hyping it up in all of their ads. Then along comes Sears because there are three big anchors at that mall and a backtrack because Eastland is there were all the they call them the directional malls, started with Northland. And then Northland was a big mall around Morris road kind of were down the way now from where Easton is, that was an open air mall, but it was still, you know, a big mall by the castle organization. And Castle had had a lot of good luck because they were also the first ones to open up a shopping mall period. Okay, had opened up Town and Country shopping center along Broad Street in East Columbus kind of that area, just outside of Whitehall. And so
Tim Fulton 08:42
clarifying question here. Yeah, so we refer to Eastland specifically as the first closed mall, right? Yep. Enclosed Mall? Enclosed. Correct. And So additionally, Northwind already because I was about to say Northwind wasn’t around yet. But it was, but in a different form.
Doug Motz 09:03
Northwind was around it was open air Northwind doesn’t become an enclosed mall until 1975. Gotcha, because, and in fact, when Eastland gets open to another another part of their advertising, it’s always 72 degrees. It’s always 72. They would put that in their taglines in just about everything when it was, you know, the mall itself doing the advertising. Gotcha. So it was pretty big deal. You know, I mean, it was on a really large swath of property. And it not only brought in retailers, but it also spurred a great deal of housing development. There was a lot of housing development I’m thinking of there were two that I was I was doing a little bit of research audit, Telford Park, they would advertise, you know, just near Easton Eastland mall, and Fritsch Holmes had the village Live in a quality plus home right near Eastland shopping center. So I mean, it’s interesting. It’s it didn’t just do that for retailing, but it also brought out you know, a lot of, you know, a lot of housing development. Interesting as well, because our hometown guy, les Wexner, had just opened up the limited Town and Country. And he’s featured in this advertising as they’re opening up welcome Eastland shopping center, the Eastland, merchants elect, the Eastland shopping center, Merchants Association has been formed to promote and publicize the new heated and air conditioned enclosed mall and to encourage such civic, social and cultural programs. officers and members of the newly elected Association shown are left to right, Leslie Wexner. So Leslie Wexner, was on the ground floor of Eastland mall, which I think is very interesting. And I didn’t know that. Yeah, absolutely.
Tim Fulton 11:05
Well, and to be clear, this is sort of a This isn’t even a civic organization. This is a
Doug Motz 11:12
merchants associate. Yeah. But do you think of
Tim Fulton 11:15
it as formal? Or is it much more like we put together this this cheerleading team, if you will, that that represents the merchants and and also helps to attract others to participate in this new project is new, unproven, at least in this market? Project?
Doug Motz 11:36
Yeah, for sure. I don’t know the parameters about how this association was set up. But your I think your hypothesis is spot on. I’m sure it was a group together to encourage others to join or to keep different standards up at the mall, or, you know, things along that line, because you have to remember, prior to that there might have been shopping districts, but everybody had their own brick and mortar, right? This is kind of like a, I don’t know, I guess you could think of it as single family homes versus a condominium. You’ll have a neighborhood that’s filled with, you know, maybe you have a homeowner’s association in the single family homes. But in that condo association, you know, you’ve got a board that’s overseeing, you know, what’s happening at, you know, at that shared space. And to me, it seems like, this is a group that’s put together and again, I don’t know this, but it would seem to me that this is a group that’s kind of trying to figure out how are we going to make this work? How are we going to make this make money for us? How are we going to attract our customers here? Who do we want here? Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera?
Tim Fulton 12:38
Absolutely. So the mall opens February 14 1968.
Doug Motz 12:42
Valentine’s Day, same as Columbus’s birthday think that’s interesting. Yeah,
Tim Fulton 12:46
I was gonna see I was gonna do it, but you stole it. So yeah, that’s totally fine. Sorry, friend. No, it’s all right.
Doug Motz 12:55
But yeah, grounds grounds broken and they open up in 68. And there’s a laundry list of things that you can do at the mall, and they’re touting they’ve actually got six places to eat. Whoo, six places at the mall. And you can actually go there too, and you can get your eyes looked at by by Tuckerman optometrist. You can get your new suit uniform at the National uniform shop. Lane. Brian opens up there. JC Penney’s, the limited, Sears Lazarus. Woolworth makes a really big deal. They’re kind of a quasi a fourth anchor is kind of a, you know, a value store. But they open up this Woolworth harvest house cafeteria, so very excited about that. Be Dalton bookseller gray drug singer, but they’re not just selling sewing machines in their ads. They’re selling TVs and phonographs and vacuum cleaners and fabric. And there’s an a&p but there’s also the along with the mall, there’s a lot of ancillary around Eastland shopping center, where there’s a white spine furniture, and you know, some there’s an a&p grocery store. So there’s this mall and much like Easton today, there’s the mall proper. And then across the street, you know, are other retailers that are kind of clustering together, you know, under the same kind of auspices, but there’s a curtain shop the ANS curtain, a shop that shifts suburban shoes. Madison’s which was a very, very nice women’s clothing store. I mentioned the Eastland cinema where I would go and see things the cuttin curl beauty shop. Yeah, and the Merle Norman cosmetics studio. Their ads like to say that their home of the free hour of beauty. Oh Eastland shoe repair, Parkland hosiery, the fanny farmer candy shop, and the junior shoe world as seen on Lucy’s toy shop. You can go in there and wear Ride the carousel. Okay, so Lucy sweatshop was a program that was put on by WB ns a local programming. Lucy was a doll maker and puppeteer and I very fond memories of Lucy’s toy shop. But yeah, that would have been that would have been a kid’s place to go and get your shoes.
Tim Fulton 15:16
And can you give some context for where, you know, in preparation for this interview? Obviously, I go on to the website, and I go to Wikipedia, and do a little digging in terms of what are the cited articles, so that I have some context. But I’m just curious, where one would go, Where are you getting, first of all, like this list of here’s what was there. And here’s what was unique about how singer, what we think of as a sewing machine maker, that they were going into other lines of sale. Where is this information as a historian, where’s it coming from?
Doug Motz 15:54
Happy to share all of that I am a former shop owner of the Columbus or shop runner, the Columbus library store, lumbers one part library, this is all from the Columbus Metropolitan library’s database, you can get amazing, amazing research from them. If you are a Columbus library, you know, card holder, you can log in now and actually access the dispatch digital archive. So once you’re in there, I simply do a search within the dispatch, I did parameter search of Eastland mall and went through several 100 sightings of Eastland mall and every time there was something interesting. That’s I, I pull a lot of it from there. So I’m trying to get contemporary sources to do all of this. And then to kind of sort it out and give it context and curate it a little bit. So that’s where the all of this that I’ve shared with you is direct from newspaper clippings from the Columbus Dispatch that are contemporary to the mall opening.
Tim Fulton 17:02
And I imagine a lot of what you’re talking about, too, is not just articles surrounding them all but the advertising that’s within the desk. Oh at the time.
Doug Motz 17:11
Absolutely. Because you have to remember to is what was kind of funny, is I done that search. And there are a lot of sales ads, people wanting attractive women, it was very sexist. It was very misogynistic. But again, it’s it’s 67 and 68. So in looking for this, it’s like female situations wanted and there’d be these ads that they wanted a waitress or they wanted the sales clerk or they wanted the bookkeeper. Right next to I tracked it, there were seven ads in 68 for gogo dancers. So that’s where we were, when you look for that. You find all kinds of other things. But what’s interesting, but what’s interesting to me too, though, is not only do they open up all this, this retailing, and they’re talking about the shops, and you can go get your hair done, you can have your eyes looked at, et cetera, et cetera, which is kind of interesting. They’re doing a little bit of, it’s not just retail, but you can get something to eat and you can, you know, have a day of beauty or have your eyes look at it. So take care of some medical things. They do a big piece about the shopping days, the sick shopping days that they’re open. They’re only open Monday through Saturday for shopping. Okay, Sunday, they’re not open for shopping. But you can still come in and see artwork. And there’s this really interesting piece that they have that they call the Wonder fall it kind of goes in the in the mall. And I don’t know if you’re familiar with a in the mid century, modern lamps are things but they’re like those little oil lamp. Yeah. Where there’s kind of this wood liquid that comes down. That’s not quite water. It’s not quite oil,
Tim Fulton 18:46
the beaded going down like that. Yep, this wonderful
Doug Motz 18:49
apparently was a giant one of these that was something like 38 feet tall. And they were all of the ads, they’re touting come see the wonderful on Sunday, if you you know the shops aren’t open, but you can window shop and you can see that. And there were several sculptures at the mall, done by a Cleveland artist. Gosh, I know I’ve got his name here somewhere. I was just looking at all of it. Charles Van Duzer. And I’ve been searching for what they were called. But on each end of the mall with this wonderful kind of being sort of in the middle. There was like this pioneer family, and kind of again, a mid century, a little bit brutalist kind of a sculpture. That was kind of cool was Dad and like a stove. Pipe hat and the mom and kids and Dad’s got a big side. And on the other end of the mall, they’ve got like the contemporary group of the it’s the same family but they’re brought up into 1968. And then along to they’ve got greenery and fountains and because it’s always 72 at Eastland mall, so it’s just really Interesting that they’re saying, you know, even come to the mall. When we’re not here, you can see some artwork. There’s a big article about Huntington banks opening up a branch at Eastland Mall. And they’re making a big deal about artwork that is on loan from the Schumacher collection at Capital University. So you could move into the Huntington branch and actually see some, you know, curated artwork. And then as you go along, it’s also really interesting because they’re trying to get people I suppose, to come and do things at the mall or create events. There’s an article cited from April 6 1968, just a couple of months after the mall opens Eastland plans for psychedelic painting contest. Students from Ohio State and Capital University armed with brushes and buckets of paint, we’ll see Jerry’s first paint in Sunday through April 29. In the new enclosed, Eastland mall, the painting featuring up psychedelic and whimsical art will be done on new automobiles provided for the paint in. So they’re doing their best to try and bring in people with a variety of art and other things outside just shopping, which I think is kind of interesting.
Tim Fulton 21:19
Yeah, one it seems a little similar to you know, once Easton was established, they started doing a little bit more in terms of activating their streets like with their chalk artists drawings. Oh, yeah. And other events to sort of draw people in and you also saw that now that I think of it, you saw that at city center right with their center,
Doug Motz 21:43
the city center attainers I was so I worked at Eastland mall. I opened City Center Mall. Okay, I did 1989 August of 1989. I was hired by Marshall Field’s to sell men’s clothing. So I talked about my experience there. I can talk about my experience Eastland mall. I worked there in the mid 1980s. As a college student, I was going to college at Ohio State. And there was a men’s store that was right outside of Lazarus. It’s called Walker’s it was a men’s store put on by a big kind of traditional men’s clothing company called Heart Schaffner and Marx. So I learned a lot about traditional clothing. But yeah, so being in that men’s store got me a lot of you know, I under I began to understand some of the the fashion and fabric but it also I got to know them all pretty well. At that point they did at a Wendy’s. That was a big deal. Because you could go to Wendy’s during my lunch break, which before I would really only go to the Woolworth counter, or Lazarus at the time, had a basement restaurant called Charlie’s I suppose was named after Charles Lazarus, one of the brothers who was you know, running Lazarus at the time. They had amazing broccoli soup. That’s what I remember. Charlie. You know, but you could there was the mall was still very, very active into the 80s. With other you know, the Bombay Bicycle Club was a bar that had opened up kind of outside of it. There was buzzards nest records, there was peaches records, there was, again a whole grouping if you’re going just outside of the mall. Again, kind of like their things up and down. Around Easton, it was very very similar but to go into the mall there I still remember going to Hallmark I can remember going to the limited at that time. It was all women’s things. They didn’t have any of the men’s collection when they you know opened up Express. But they had a big thing there. It seemed like their big draw was hunters run hunters rich I’m gonna say it wrong. But it was kind of a knockoff of polo because the preppy whole idea in the mid 1980s was huge. So I can remember again just out of high school into college. There are a lot of women that I knew that loved limited hunters run and hunters ridge and they would go in there for that be Dalton was around we didn’t you know that was still a thing. You would go we spent a lot of time at Sears getting cars worked on I remember that and getting tires. Because Sears had a an automotive area that you could do things with as well. Pennies my mom would order things either from pennies or the outlet which was also nearby and a big pennies outlet if you just want how about the general shopping in Columbus in central Ohio at that time, but also right across the way from the mall was a discounter called gold circle. And that was run by Lazarus in the Federated Department Store. Much like Marshall Field This had this little discounter, you might know it today, target. Marshall Fields would buy things if they had a great deal on something they got really inexpensive. They they sent it to their target store in Columbus, Lazarus would do something very, very similar, probably borrowing from their their rivals the shot and Steen’s, and they had their own store called gold circle. And that was also there at the Eastland mall area. So I mean, it was it was pretty lively, if you’re there at the holidays and trying to turn off of interstate 70 to Hamilton road to get down there. Good luck. Because traffic would really, really be backed up. But it was it was a very, very lively place. And then it becomes very interesting. I was putting together kind of a timeline, you know about what’s happening because in 1989, like we’ve said, City Center opens. So that’s given Eastland mall a good 20 years, right? It’s kind of good two decades to establish itself. But then City Center opens up and they’re luring all kinds of stores. We haven’t seen either. Marshall Fields being a huge competitor for Lazarus and one of the big anchors of Eastland that’s going to draw and it’s downtown. So that’s going to draw people kind of back in you have to remember there was a lot of flight away from the urban core in the 50s and 60s. That makes malls super attractive. The big thing still happening in downtown Columbus step point is Lazarus. The fashion is still around. Union stores still around these are kind of the fashion would be very contemporary to Lazarus and very similar and well Lazarus people listening to podcasts might not know that they started federated, but that became Macy’s. Okay, with all of these the Federated Department Store, Sholto Reich’s and, and others but Macy’s joined federated a little bit later. In fact, Lazarus was older than than Macy’s. Lazarus has its own really interesting history. Like we’re talking about my friends, David Myers, his wife, Beverly and their daughter, Elise Myers Walker wrote a fantastic book. I’ve gotten a lot of source material from that look to Lazarus. But Simon Lazarus was Columbus’s first rabbi. So he comes here in the 19th century, not only as a rabbi, but he opens up a men’s clothing store. And that kind of spreads out and the Lazarus might, like God, who doesn’t love Lazarus, who was in Columbus, at any point, while Lazarus was still in existence. They set all kinds of standards retailing wise, including grouping merchandise, by its by its kind of style, rather than its price. So yeah, I just learned that on a really great blog, called fashion to [email protected]. Very interesting. Okay, so that’s another source. I knew this already that the Lazarus family convinced Franklin Delano Roosevelt to move thanksgiving to the fourth Thursday, rather than the always being the final. There’s actually a history lesson column about that. So you can source that and that’s got some fun things, but so much of retailing, the way that we know it, Lazar, and even just setting price tags on things. They actually had a common price tag before that. Lots and lots of retailers, you just kind of come in and haggle a little bit. Also set a standard for returns, you could return anything to Lazarus even if you hadn’t bought it there. Me that the Lazarus family, there’s a there’s a great slogan when Columbus turned 150. The dispatch used to have a its own magazine inside of it. But at the back of the magazine inside of the dispatch, the special, you know, SESQUI Centennial edition. If it’s if it’s good for Columbus, it’s good for Lazarus. And if it’s good for Lazarus, it’s good for Columbus, that’s kind of their business model. And they’re doing all kinds of things to make certain that they’re upholding the civic values that they feel are important to the city. I cannot say enough good things about the Lazarus store and the Lazarus family. But anyway, that’s yeah, so City Center opens up in 89. But then you start to see some other downtown stores close it was a really Madison’s, which was down the way closest from there. In 1994. The Union store closed their last store which was at Kingsdale shopping center in October 1997, then a little bit later today opens and there’s a lot of is tunnel ball going to kill city centers are going to hurt all the other malls. So in doing all of this research looking at it, there are tons of fights, there are fights from civic organizations or fights from homeowners. There are fights from other other mall owners. You know, and then there’s there’s different tax breaks and tax incentives. In fact, when Michael Coleman is running for mayor against Dorothy Teeter, right at the during the y2k time. That’s one of the big battles that the two of them are having it’s going to be historic election one way or another, we’re either going to have the first African American as mayor or we’re going to have the first woman as our mayor. They’re all they’re really being pummeled with questions about who are you going to give these tax incentives to? Because there’s they’re not only talking about tunnel, but there’s rumor in the wind about this Easton thing that might be opening up and there’s been several attempts at that point, none of them succeed about something going on in the Polaris area. So there’s a lot of a lot of voters and a lot of people like why are you giving me all this money? And what about us? And what about our neighborhood? What are you doing to help out Northland? What are you doing to help out Westland? What are you doing to help out? You know, Eastland Mall? So it’s, it takes on kind of a life of its own, then yeah.
Tim Fulton 31:22
Which is a struggle that continues today. Not necessarily in that shopping context. But oh, yeah, we’re, where are folks gonna put jobs and what tax incentives can they get as a result?
Doug Motz 31:33
Huge. I mean, you got you can go back and look through that. Again, I think I was just, I was still using that Columbus library database. And I and I typed in tunnel Mall. And I wasn’t getting anything about tunnel Mall. It was all about Dorothy Teeter, and Michael Coleman. And I was like, what is I mean, I lived through that. And I remember some of that, but it’s interesting when you go back and like, well, these malls and these development long before we had anything that was virtual or long before we were doing anything that was the, you know, cyberspace or cyber Mondays or online shopping or things. This was a really big deal. Where are you going to get your stuff? I mean, yeah, there was, there was one other big thing that we don’t really talk about, and that was catalog companies. I also worked for a really fantastic catalog company that was based here in Columbus called Huntington clothiers again on the side, they were on alum Creek, but they had their own shirt manufacturing. And a lot of people thought, you know, both J Crew and LL Bean would have been the really big, big people in that realm. But yeah, we’re for catalog company people would call in and get the catalog and you know, want to know what does this feel like? Or what does this really look like? Or what does this pair well with? So Columbus retailing and then don’t forget, all the Elle brands the limited gets it start, you know, is early we’re talking about Leslie Wexner earlier, there’s a lot of fashion in Columbus, there’s a lot of fashion innovation. We can talk about Morehouse Martin’s. So Morehouse Martin have the fashion and in 1910 is kind of a publicity stunt. This is a really cool film, taking you away back. They actually hire the Wright brothers to fly a bolt of silk fabric from Dayton to Columbus. And the promo says even if you don’t even have an airport at that point, and the fashion tons of money that ends up being a really big Allen good designer and their family guns home or family. They do this giant publicity stunt to fly bolt of fabric from Dayton to Columbus. It lands in drunk driving park on the east side off Livingston Avenue. It actually causes one of Columbus’s first known car accidents because it’s reported that there was actually a truck that sees this airplane flying doesn’t know what to do crashes into a hole. But when the airplane lands it’s a Wright Flyer and Orville Orville or his brother were supposed to actually pilot it, but it ended up not happening that way. It’s the first air mail delivery of merchandise. And people in Columbus get telegrams from Paris and London and Tokyo and New York BE ALL OVER THE we’ve actually used an airplane to fly merchandise from one place to another. And the folks at Morehouse Martin’s the fashion. They take little snippets of it and put it on postcards, hey, you can buy a piece of this historic event. Eyes out of it for men. I believe they made some dresses out of it for women. But there’s an awful lot of innovation and there’s so that there’s more fashion that comes through Columbus with Elle brands and Victoria’s Secret and Abercrombie and Fitch and Bed Bath and Beyond. Then even in the New York shopping district, we know this, there’s just so much fashion based here that we don’t think about. But Leslie Wexner that comes to mind as soon as Easton Town Center opens, you know, and revitalizing that whole area. He does something really interesting, though, that we’re not seeing in some of the other pieces parts. He’s, he’s kind of taking that whole idea of the continent, if you remember that. That’s kind of
Tim Fulton 35:32
Yeah. You were talking about the movie theater, I was thinking about how I used to get taken to the continent, right?
Doug Motz 35:39
Yeah. Right. So but he’s taking that idea. And really, Walt Disney was a plus it plus, plus plus that, because you not only have retail, and you not only have the restaurants, but you’ve got an awful lot of places. Now. They’re their workplaces, there are places to get discounts. There are places to go get your health looked at other places to live. And he’s also taken this idea of if Eastland mall is a big deal, because it’s enclosed. Easton Town Center kind of goes the opposite direction, we’re going to recreate this kind of downtown shopping experience that someone might have had, we’re going to make it safe, we’re going to make it very accessible, you’re going to really, we’re going to put up other kinds of things. I mean, we talked about the the wonderful and the sculptures, but Eastern has all kinds of they’ve got a little train that goes through. And they’ve got some of the sculptures out on the other side by the by the Lego store, when they had playing at Hollywood, if you remember that I do was the theater that was there and they had Arnold Schwarzenegger, you know, and come in Sylvester Stallone, Steven Spielberg give all their props, there were a lot of things to look at and draw you there in the same kind of way. But they’ve just taken the opposite approach and just left it very open air. And you have to constantly kind of be changing it or updating it or moving your store around keeping it fresh. They’re probably the success story of that era, because in 99, now in 2023, Eastern seems to be as strong as ever and continuing to grow. But I mean, there’s Polaris opens in 2001. So we know that and then what Polaris being kind of this competitor with it, you begin to see all the other stores dropping off. There’s no more Northland. There’s no more Wesley. I mean, all the directional malls begin to fold and close down or or or get kind of repurposed. Like Northland is probably the best example of something getting repurposed. They’ve moved the Franklin County Board of Elections over there, the Franklin County Animal Shelter, there’s a lot of there’s a lot of they moved a Kroger over there. So they’ve really taken that space, and tried to repurpose it for the benefit of the community in the in the benefit of the neighborhood. I was looking at the Columbus government website and the the Eastland plan. They have not updated since 2007. So if I was someone living in the Eastland area, and I was an area Commissioner for that or a resident, I might be tapping on some city council doors saying you haven’t revised this plan since 2007. Let’s have another kick at this and see what work how did things work so well for Northland? What lessons did we learn? And how can we apply that to what’s happening at Eastland?
Tim Fulton 38:41
Yeah, well, and especially now that there’s that opportunity to do it, right. There was a Yeah, even though they lost the anchor stores, there was still enough tenants in Eastland to keep it open, at least until a couple of weeks ago. Right now is the opportunity. Right? And especially, just to bring things full circle, especially as we focus more and more on the individual City Council zones that we are implementing, how much of that will become an issue? Right, and will we put it to that individual council member? Or will this be a rallying cry that multiple council members are able to get behind?
Doug Motz 39:26
Yeah, I mean, it’s interesting, again, doing this research, there was a terrific article that came up in 2002. Dispatch reports residents are concerned about the malls decline. There was a resident there, her name was Jean rose, she counted up 43 vacant stores along it and she, you know, went to the dispatch, she went to cancel so what do you what are we going to do how I’m interested in in working to shore up the small and shore up our neighborhood? So there have been warning signs about what was happening in Eastland for quite some time. I think
Tim Fulton 39:59
it’s On the 20 years ago talking about right, yeah,
Doug Motz 40:02
this was 2002 article from the dispatch. And they did. The Council Member Sensenbrenner was very responsive. Read, she’s now gone. But yeah, I mean, I would really think that it’s time for dusting off that Eastland plan and really having another kick out. And again, what how did we get some things to work in north on? It’s certainly not perfect. But what worked? And how does that? How can we use those victories? And and what did we learn from the things that didn’t work? Well, to kind of avoid those pitfalls when we think about redeveloping that area?
Tim Fulton 40:44
Absolutely. Doug, I want to give you the opportunity to answer the same question that I asked everybody at the end of episodes, and hopefully you get the opportunity to answer this question a couple of times at least. What do you think Columbus is doing? Well, and what do you think Columbus is not doing? So well?
Doug Motz 41:05
Oh, gosh, Columbus does so well. These days, I think at marketing ourselves. Okay. And I really do, I were smart and open. And again, as a lifelong resident of Franklin County, the full idea of this, in fact, I’ll be leading a tour next month for a group of people around the core downtown and our businesses, our civic associations. I, our our residents are really reinvesting back in and supporting one another in that reinvestment. When I go to other towns and places and I look at how businesses are supported or not supported, or how ideas are supported or not supported, I think Columbus, really terrific job at supporting one another, and really finding ways to collaborate more so and maybe I don’t know why exactly that is I have my own ideas. But I think we do a good job at that. What are we not doing? Well, I’ll pull from my friend, Michael Wilcos. We are one of the most segregated cities as well, in terms of where we’re living and poverty disparity and all the social determinants of health disparities and education disparities. And, and you name it, you can see some direct linkage to how some of that is around freeway systems, but the freeway systems link it to redlining and so he’ll that backup, I think is a real challenge. I know Mayor Coleman and Mayor Gensler have both talked about addressing that in different ways. I just think it’s a really, that’s a tough one. And I think that we could do a better job. Probably try the the areas that are doing well are doing very well. But what about the is that are not doing so well? How do we spend the time to look at Westlands and Eastlands. And, you know, our city continues to grow. But as we grow, we’re kind of attracted to this shiny new thing. But how do we maintain and sustain the areas that that that kind of foster that growth? So I think looking at that challenge is something that we could probably do better.
Tim Fulton 43:25
Absolutely. Doug, thank you so much for your time.
Doug Motz 43:28
Thank you for having me. I look forward to coming back on again, Tim.
Tim Fulton 43:43
Thank you for listening to Confluence cast presented by Columbus underground. Again, you can get more information on what we discussed today in the show notes for this episode at the confluence cast.com Please rate subscribe, share this episode of The confluence cast with your friends, family, contacts, enemies, your favorite historian. If you’re interested in sponsoring the confluence cast, get in touch with us. We can be reached by email at info at the confluence cast.com Our theme music was composed by Benji Robinson. Our producer is Philip Cogley. I’m your host, Tim Fulton. Have a great week.