Southdale in Edina, 8/14/1956 Star Tribune (Minnesota Historical Society Collection)
The same roads that brought early settlement to the area brought commercial development to the newly blooming suburbs. Improvements in highways and automobile technology allowed people to live greater distances from traditional employment centers. As this commuting population left the central cities, so did the commercial activity. Soon gas stations, convenience marts, and restaurants flanked the main roads throughout the suburbs. These businesses were not concentrated in a downtown fashion like small towns before.
With the development of malls in the 50s and 60s, the traditional department stores of large downtowns began to move toward the rapidly expanding edge of urban areas. The first completely enclosed shopping center, Southdale, opened in Edina , MN in 1956. Minnesota’s sometimes extreme elements made the air-conditioned and heated interior of malls especially welcoming.
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