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by Dave Dewitte

Cedar Rapids – The arrival of Lindale Plaza 50 years ago on Sept. 15, 1960, sent downtown Cedar Rapids retailers scrambling to reassert their retail dominance.

With its 30 stores on the east edge of Cedar Rapids, Lindale gave shoppers a new one-stop shopping opportunity with 5,000 free parking spaces. Even though it didn’t arrive as an enclosed mall, Lindale advertised the wide building canopies that kept shoppers out of rain and snow.

Lindale was billed as one of the most luxurious shopping centers in America.

Grand opening advertisements in The Gazette featured Hershey’s Kisses for 57 cents a pound, women’s sheer seamless nylons for 57 cents a pound and a Philco phonograph for $19.95.

One of Lindale’s more distinctive features was the rows of huge columns in the center courtyard covered by tiny gold-flecked ceramic tiles manufactured in Japan.

Four mall buildings that surrounded a central concourse that linked end-cap anchors Younkers and Sears & Robuck were landscaped and decorated in richly textured bands of ceramic tile.

A 20-year rivalry with downtown retailers ensued.

“Lindale had the parking, but downtown had the real entertainment options,” said Mark Stoffer Hunter of Cedar Rapids, historian.

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