Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Southland Mall Expansion and Ice Arena - 1972

I get a lot of activity regarding the former ice arena at Southland Mall, so I was happy to find this article from the Daily Review newspaper. Dated March 24, 1972, the article is about the grand opening of the "fabulous Southland Ice Arena." The foremost picture shows a giant four-foot high, 100 pound ice sculpture of an ice skate.

On the bottom of the page is a picture of the north mall entrance and the Ice Arena doors... near the present Macy's. The caption reads "Phase Four of the Southland Mall expansion program took a giant step forward as the Southland Ice Arena opened its doors March 1. The million dollar ice sports facility will soon be followed by 29 more businesses including Liberty House Department Store in late summer. This is the North Mall entrance with the Ice Arena doors shown to the left."

Here is the aerial showing the location of the Ice Arena, which housed CompUSA at the time the aerial was taken.

Share your memories of the Southland Ice Arena here!



Randy said...

As I've posted earlier, here and at a couple of other linking blogspots, the Southland Ice Arena was where Kristi Yamaguchi's skating career all started at the age of 5.

Dean said...

Thanks for posting this! I forgot about the cool octagonal skylight things over the entrances to the mall. I used to go to this ice rink quite a bit, especially for birthday parties and such. Don't remember seeing Kristi there unless she was one of those kids that hung out in the center of the rink.

It was built in a much more accessible location than the ice rink at Eastridge which was sunken under a plaza on the lower level. A lot of people entered through this corridor and there were cool oval and round windows that looked into the ice rink so you see the activity going on. The windows were framed in green plastic laminate forms that sloped outwards so you couldn't sit on them.

With this addition to the mall, which included the original Liberty House store, Southland got a bit of the futuristic Taubman styling that predominated their malls in the 1970's. There was an obvious change from the brick paving of the original 1960's Victor Gruen-inspired mall to the terazzo tile and futuristic chrome light fixtures of the new section. You can clearly see the addition in the birdseye photo.

Unfortunately, they never updated the entire mall until the 1980's when it was popular to build distinctive storefronts that projected beyond the bulkhead above. The mall was narrowed even more by the addition of the dreaded kiosks down the center. Eventually, the oasis of seating pits in front of Liberty House (eventually Emporium Capwell, then Macy's) was removed, as well as the cool chrome light fixtures -- something that has happened to many of Taubman's malls.

Karl said...

Thanks so much for posting that pic.

I also recall hearing about Kristi Yamaguchi starting out at that arena.

I used to go there every Thursday night in the mid 70s.

I still get a heavy feeling of nostalgia when I walk by the area where it used to be at the mall.

I didn't know the ice arena opened in '72 - my favorite year ever! I also loved that Liberty House store. If you go up the escalators in that building (now macy's) if you look all the way up to the top, you can see the holes in the ceiling where the cables came down for those glass mannequin cases that went up and down the entire height of the store.

Anonymous said...

why did they close the bottom level and did someone die in there i keep hearing stories that its haunted

Anonymous said...

I found out who the artist was that made the big acrylic sculpture that was in front of the mallside entrance to Liberty House.

His name is Bruce Beasley.

His website is

Look at the Trigonal acrylic sculpture.It looks alot like the big crystal from the mall entrance to Liberty House.

Jackie Gonsalves said...

Thank you for posting. Brought back so many memories. I skated there as my father "Chief" Weaving managed it. I was there at 4:30 am and right back after school. Spent fun late nights cutting the lines for hockey. Almost all of my child hood was spent in that Ice Arena. Helping pass out coupons with IC Penquin! Had Oscar Duesoe as a coach as well as Lee Music. Then onto Jim in Belmont. Also one of Kristi's early instructors. The breaks heading downstairs to either get my dad out of the bar next to the Bird cage. And the arcade downstairs that during the Christmas Holidays had a great small world type of display. We inherited so many of the decorations from birds to sparkle stars!