Aug 11, 2022 - News

"It's boggling": A look back at The Mall of America's 1992 opening

newspaper headline about mall of america opening
The Star Tribune Sunday paper the weekend before MOA made its debut. Image via Newspapers.com

The Mall of America turns 30 today, meaning it's officially too old to shop at its own Forever 21 store.

Flashback: An estimated 150,000 shoppers showed up for the grand opening on Aug. 11, 1992, the Star Tribune reported at the time. The crowd grew so large that the mall opened its doors earlier than scheduled — "as soon as the freshly mopped floors had dried."

What they said: "It's boggling, isn't it?" Becker resident Darlene Schull told her hometown paper, The St. Cloud Times, as she explored the labyrinth of stores. "You really need time to stop and stare. There's just so much."

The intrigue: Not everyone was sure the mega-mall would stand the test of time. Days before its big debut, the Star Tribune's Sunday cover story carried the headline "Experts ask: Will mall last?"

  • "For the Mall of America to fulfill its promise as a tourist-drawing shopping mecca, it must first prove immune to an epidemic that threatens the future of retail malls," Star Tribune writer Tony Kennedy wrote, citing "stressed-out and recession-weary consumers."

What happened: While predictions of a rocky future did come to pass for malls as a whole, and MOA hasn't been immune from challenges presented by online shopping and the pandemic, the shopping and entertainment complex still attracts an estimated 40 million visitors a year.

What's ahead: Bloomington officials are optimistic they will cement a deal with MOA to build a $430 million indoor water park connected to the mall.

Correction: This story has been updated to reflect that the Mall of America attracts 40 million visitors a year.

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