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Take a look back at Fall River’s Harbor Mall – Fall River Reporter

FALL RIVER – While some predicted its demise before it was even completed, the SouthCoast Marketplace has been a popular shopping and dining destination in Fall River, and rightly so. However, many of us still remember the heyday of its predecessor, the Harbor Mall.

The Harbor Mall opened in 1971 on William S. Canning Blvd. with anchor tenants Bradlees and Grant City.

One of, if not the most popular place in the mall was the cinema. While it became the butt of jokes in its later years, it was where I saw many of my first films. To date myself, ET and Muppet films including. That’s where I saw the two Break Dancing movies. Unfortunately, all family members who took me in as a child passed away, but the memories remain. Back in the day, you could even win movie tickets by finding some sports trivia on WALE radio.

If you were an ’80s kid in Fall River while strolling down the mall corridor, you must have asked your parents to stop at the arcade at least a couple of times. It was maybe my favorite place in town. It wasn’t a huge arcade and changed name a few times but if you were a video games lover it was the place to be.

If you were hungry, you could stop off at Papa Ginos for a pizza. While there, you can also play a song off the jukebox while you sit in an alcove and eat a slice or two. If pizza isn’t your thing, the restaurant inside Kmart is a great place to grab a bite while you wait for a ‘blue light special’. If you wanted dessert, you could stop at Brigham’s.

Before its removal, the Harbor Mall fountain was a popular place to drop a dime and make a wish. Desires that as older adults we might see as trivial, but which gave us hope.

Vacations at Harbor Mall were always fun as a kid. Santa Claus came at Christmas time and the Easter Bunny at Easter, which was always exciting. Citizens For Citizens also held a large production towards the end of the year to raise money to provide toys to those less fortunate.

At its peak, in addition to what has already been mentioned, you could also pick up your favorite toy at Kaybee or find the hottest music at the Music Store. You could even smell the candles as you walked past the Hallmark store. When collecting sports cards was more popular, you could pick up the latest Topps trading cards at the Sports Memorabilia store in front of the mall. I remember meeting former Boston Red Sox infielder Rico Petrocelli there and snagging his autograph.

When retail chain Bradlees closed, it looked like it might be the end for the mall, but Walmart stepped in and took its place before moving to Quequechan Street and becoming a superstore in 2013.

With the cinema, retailers, and arcade all gone, the mall closed forever in early 2016, ending its dark and relatively empty days, but for those of us who still remember, it has not left our hearts.

What are your fondest memories of Harbor Mall?


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