13 October 2013

All Mallmanac - Windward Mall, Kaneohe, HI

As a kid growing up in Hawai'i, it was a rare occurrence to visit the Windward (eastern) side of the island of O'ahu. And when we did, it was kind of a big deal. From our subdivision on the Leeward (western) side, it was almost two whole hours away! So those ventures were usually reserved for day long beach sojourns to Bellows or for the occasional field trip to the Polynesian Cultural Center. Therefore, during the three years that both I and Windward Mall coexisted on that speck of a landmass, I don't recall ever having gone there. In fact, I don't even recall ever having any knowledge of the place. And I had no need to; Pearlridge Center was the entire shopping world to me.

L- Windward Mall Mallmanac, ca. 2010. View the full PDF version here.
R- Windward Mall Mallmanac, ca. 2013. View the full PDF version here.

It wasn't until 1993 during my freshman year at the University of Hawai'i at Manoa when I finally got the chance to partake in the pleasures of O'ahu's newest traditional shopping mall. Against the backdrop of the dramatic cliffs of the Ko'olau Mountains in about as suburban a setting as can be found in Honolulu County, I stepped off of The Bus and walked through the foyer of the whitewashed, double tiered retail facility. Inside was a treasure trove of early eighties design madness, from the burnt red clay tiles to the hanging planters to globe shaped lighting sconces. I loved it. And it remained this brooding, Allison Reynolds of a mall all the way until the mid-2000s.

L- Windward Mall in the early nineties. R- Windward Mall in 2012. Borders is now Sports Authority.

Windward Mall opened in the city of Kaneohe in 1982, completely under my blissful radar as I spent my seven year-old days hunting bullfrogs and watching airplanes land in Ewa Beach. Originally, the state's only extant department store names occupied all three anchor spots, JCPenney, Liberty House and Sears. Windward saw very few changes until the late nineties and early 2000s when JCPenney exited all of their locations in the islands, was replaced with a Signature Theaters and Borders and Liberty House was taken over by Macy's.

Windward Mall from Hawai'i's clear, blue sky. (Source)

It wasn't until 2006 when the darker tones were removed for the more contemporary colors the mall sees today. But its large center court and signature wind wheel layout remain. On my next trip to Hawai'i, a definite trip to Windward, after a twenty-five year absence, will surely be a priority.

Windward Mall's official website

1 comment:

  1. It's been a great mystery to me why JCPenney left the state of Hawai'i. They are in all 49 of the other states and Puerto Rico.

    My theory would be that it was too expensive for them to operate there, but Sears still remains, so I don't think it is that.