May 5, 1955: Edwards Community Shopping Center was Dedicated.

  • Published
  • Air Force Flight Test Center

Upon completion of the final two stores, the Edwards Community Shopping Center was dedicated. This was the first such facility ever erected within the limits of a stateside Air Force Base.

A shopping center is a group of shops built together, sometimes under one roof.  The first known collections of retailers under one roof are public markets, dating back to ancient times, and Middle Eastern covered markets, bazaars and souqs. In Paris, about 150 covered passages were built between the late 18th century and 1850, and a wealth of shopping arcades were built across Europe in the 19th century. In the United States, the widespread use of the automobile in the 1920s led to the first shopping centers of a few dozen shops that included parking for cars. Starting in 1946, larger, open air centers anchored by department stores were built (sometimes as a collection of adjacent retail properties with different owners), then enclosed shopping malls starting with Victor Gruen's Southdale Center near Minneapolis in 1956.  A shopping mall is a type of shopping center, a North American term originally meaning a pedestrian promenade with shops along it, but in the late 1960s began to be used as a generic term for large shopping centers anchored by department stores, especially enclosed centers.   Malls are currently in severe decline ("dead malls") or have closed. Successful exceptions have added entertainment and experiential features, added big-box stores as anchored, or are specialized formats: power centers, lifestyle centers, factory outlet centers, and festival marketplaces.   Smaller types of shopping centers in North America include neighborhood shopping centers, and even smaller, strip malls. Pedestrian malls (shopping streets) in the United States have been less common and less successful than in Europe In Canada, underground passages in Montreal and Toronto link large adjacent downtown retail spaces.  In the United Kingdom and Europe, distinction is made between shopping centers (shops under one roof), shopping precincts (pedestrianized zones of a town or city where many retail stores are located), the "high street" (street – pedestrianized or not – with a high concentration of retail shops), and retail parks (usually out of the city center, 5000 square feet. or larger and anchored by big-box stores or supermarkets, rather than department stores).

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