22 September 2023

Lewis County Mall, Chehalis, WA

 A dead mall

I once took a train down to the twin cities of Chehalis and Centralia located close to the halfway point on I-5 between Portland and Seattle.  They were cute smaller towns with few of the facilities I’m used to in the big city, but smack dab in between the two villages there was one item of interest that I did find, the Lewis County Mall.

Lewis County Mall's exterior.

Built in the mid-seventies, Lewis County Mall opened with retail stalwarts JCPenney and Sears as dual anchors located at either end.  JCPenney pulled out in 1999 while other national retailers such as Payless Shoes, Hallmark and Radio Shack soon followed.

The Sears mall entrance and their groovy clock.

These were eventually replaced by local merchants as well as government offices.  Sears held on for much longer than anyone could have imagined before vacating Lewis County in 2018.  I’m so grateful that I got to see it for myself when it was still open, along with its wooden analog clock as one of my favorite retro highlights.

The main concourse of Lewis County Mall.

Lewis County Mall was recently purchased by a local group who announced big plans for the only enclosed center between Olympia and Kelso.  In their announcement, additions including apartments, educational facilities and (gulp) storage space were in the works.  Lewis County Mall had a really good half-century run, but it looks like it’s all coming to a close.

Lewis County Mall pamphlet ca 2021.  See the full PDF version here.

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