Hidden Gem in Duluth is Country’s First Indoor Mall

Northland Uncovered: Lake View Store

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DULUTH, Minn. – Whether you need to pick up a gift, or go back-to-school shopping, the local mall seems like the natural place to go.

That wasn’t always an option.

In this week’s Northland Uncovered, FOX 21’s Natalie Froistad looks at a building in

Morgan Park that was the first spot to bring the idea of indoor shopping and connecting stores to America.

Minnesota is known to many people across the country for the famous Mall of America in Bloomington, but the state is also home to the first modern indoor shopping mall built in the United States.

“It was used a lot by the local residents”

Celebrating its 100th birthday this year, the Lake View Store seems as if it’s become almost forgotten by Duluth residents.

“This is a unique place that a lot of people aren’t even aware of”

The mall was built as part of the construction of Morgan Park.

Built as a new town by U.S. Steel, company execs hoped to make life more convenient for the steel plant employees.

“We were almost 10 miles from downtown and downtown was the closest in terms of department stores and that sort of a thing”

Staying indoors while shopping was a brand new concept at the time.

“So if you came in and shopped in the drug store, you could also go over to the clothing store and you could go over and have your shoes repaired”

It’s the simple things we take for granted today, that made all the difference back then.

“When this was built in 1915, cars were not all that common yet and streetcar service was available to connect it with downtown,”

The downtown business owners weren’t too happy with the development.

“When it was announced that this would be built by U–S Steel, downtown businessmen certainly were opposed to it because it might impact their businesses downtown”

Still, plans went through as U.S. Steel justified the project on the basis of convenience.

“There’s been a transition or a rotating number of businesses in here”

From a meat shop, to a clothing store and the original drug store which is now a modern coffee shop.

“The structures out here are very good, some of them need to be rehabbed, some of them need to be updated, but they’re very solid”

Because the structure is still so stable and solid, new life is being put into it.

“We’re expecting with the river corridor initiative that the mayor has going on now, that Morgan Park should certainly be a part of that renaissance that we’re looking at happening”

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