January 30, 2010

Postcard: The Arcade

Nashville, Tennessee
(Unused - undivided back era, early 1900's)

When you think of a mall, do you think of a large enclosed structure containing retail shops and restaurants, or a complex where young people like to congregate and "hangout," or maybe a place where senior citizens go to walk? We like to think of today's shopping mall as being a modern convenience that had its beginnings during the 1970's as an enclosed version of the shopping centers or strip malls that came with the rise of suburban living after World War II. Actually, the mall concept goes back a bit further.

The shopping mall is based on the traditional marketplace. One of the largest covered marketplaces in the world is the Grand Bazaar of Istanbul, which is still active today after being built in the 15th century. The oldest mall in the United States is the Arcade in Providence, Rhode Island, that was built in 1828. The large-scale fully enclosed shopping mall as we know it today can be traced to Northgate Mall, built in Seattle, Washington, in 1950.

In Nashville, Tennessee, the indoor shopping experience can be traced to the "Arcade." Built in 1903, it is located between Fourth and Fifth Avenues in downtown Nashville at what was then known as Overton Alley. It is a two-level complex with a glass roof and identical Palladian facades at each end. At the time of the Arcade's opening, it was described as "the only building of the kind in the South."

The Arcade contained some of the best retail stores found in Nashville and offered services from a barbershop to a post office. The Arcade is still open today offering visitors a variety of stores, cafes, and art galleries.

The concept of the mall has grown and changed since its earliest days, but the idea of an enclosed shopping experience still rings true. Nashville's Arcade is an active example of one of the mall's early inceptions.

— Dan Hardison

January 15, 2010


Morning has come,
but as yet no sun –
grey clouds fill the sky.

The air is still
and all about is quiet –
nothing is stirring.

As if all were waiting
for what may happen next,
but for now the world
still wants to slumber.

— Dan Hardison

Photo by Dan Hardison
Cookeville, Tennessee

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January 8, 2010


I am so tired and weary,
So tired of the endless fight,
So weary of waiting the dawn
And finding endless night.
That I ask but rest and quiet –
Rest for days that are gone,
And quiet for the little space
That I must journey on.

Joseph S. Cotter, Jr.

Photo by Dan Hardison
Wilmington, North Carolina

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