The End of a Mall

I was not there to see it, but Landmark Mall met the wrecking ball today.

I remember the OLD Landmark mall, the one that was an outdoor mall, decades before “town center” malls were a thing. It was the usual stopping point for a meal on school field trips heading in and out of DC. When I was a kid, my family ate hot open-faced turkey sandwiches with gravy at the cafeteria-style restaurant there. A few years later, its excellent art gallery fed my thirst for fine art by letting me buy paintings on layaway, a little bit each week, when I was in my early 20s and making a pittance. The nearby bakery made fanciful loaves of bread, shaped like alligators.

Later in the 1980s, I was working one exit away when the mall was enclosed and became shiny NEW Landmark Mall. My office mates and I used to drive there for lunch or errands. My eye doctor was there, next to the store where I bought my glasses.

When my son was a baby, the mall was a popular spot for stroller-walking in the winter; my Moms Club was one of the groups that campaigned for the new play space there.

Since then, poor old Landmark has been in decline, with stores leaving, one by one. What an incredible find for the location scout for Wonder Woman 1984: a photogenically intact but defunct multi-level 1980s mall atrium, just waiting to be decked out in 1980s shops as a backdrop for action sequences. It was a chance for the aging mall to momentary relive its glory days.

And now, Landmark Mall is no more. The hospital complex is a good use of the space, but I will miss the old Landmark and the 1980s version. RIP.

The wrecking ball slammed into the atrium of Landmark Mall, after its nearly 60-year history of serving our community and others in the Washington DC area. A new hospital complex will be built on the site.
Landmark’s central atrium experienced its last hurrah in 2018, when it relived its 1980s origins as a set for the film Wonder Woman 1984.

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