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Crestwood Court: Post-Apocalyptic Portraits of the Abandoned Mall (PHOTOS)

Categories: Arts

Crestwood_mall_1.jpg
Dan Wampler
Photographer Dan Wampler was given access to the empty mall.
St. Louis has a thriving community of urban explorers who delight in drawing back the curtain on strange, human-made and human-abandoned urban landscapes. We've featured photos of Forest Park Hospital, the condemned Powell Square building and the old downtown Macy's here on Daily RFT.

Photographer Dan Wampler does things slightly differently: He gets the building owners' permission first. That's how he became the only photographer to get a glimpse of Crestwood Court mall, the empty shopping complex that closed its doors for good back in July.

With Wampler's permission, we pulled ten of our favorite images from his eeire new set from Crestwood, a part of his "Contemporary Ruins" series.

See also: Post-Apocalyptic Portraits of the Abandoned Forest Park Hospital (PHOTOS)

When it first opened in 1957, "Crestwood Plaza" was the St. Louis region's first major mall. It was once home to Dillard's, Macy's and Sears. Declining revenue and the departure of some of those major department stores caused increasing vacancies, and several development plans have fallen through. In 2012, the last of its tenants were told to move out, leaving only a LensCrafter store, due to close this fall.

Wampler had 1.1 million square feet of empty, echoing retail space to play with (not including a seriously creepy basement). Here's how he describes his process:

After 56 years in operation, Crestwood Mall closed its doors to the public in July. Digital artist Dan Wampler was granted access to the now empty Mall capturing images as part of his ongoing series, "Contemporary Ruins" an artistic archive of our society's modern ruins . His images are captured in High Dynamic Range (HDR) a process where between 3 to 9 images taken at different exposures are blended to create one finished image. In this case because of the low light, many exposures lasted as long as five minutes.

Check 'em out:

Crestwood_mall_1.jpg
Dan Wampler

Crestwood_mall_2.jpg
Dan Wampler

Crestwood_mall_3.jpg
Dan Wampler


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109 comments
Dennis Minner Jr.
Dennis Minner Jr.

Not sure but I'm now blind from looking at those HDR photos!!!!!

Vikki Christopher
Vikki Christopher

A outlet mall or a place with many bars and restaurant's maybe with a hotel attached.

Michael Mcmullen
Michael Mcmullen

Work at mall for many years at the pasta house sears and AMC movie Theater shop and hung out there miss that mall

Howard Scott Howes
Howard Scott Howes

How about we the people have a Hydroponics Mall where people can shop for Fresh Produce 12 months out of the year stores that grow by water grow by dirt. And do it your self for your home use. would love to help

Laura Dee
Laura Dee

I do miss the Art Space stores that were there. Should have stayed that way.

Laura Dee
Laura Dee

Tear it down for green space. We /need/ more green space. Too many big box retailers as it is.

Nola Murphy
Nola Murphy

anything! This was too nice a mall to just leave it empty

Dakota King
Dakota King

Who would drive to the county for art?

Ronnie Fisher
Ronnie Fisher

World's largest arcade...and food court........or a library

Kelly Gavan Vance
Kelly Gavan Vance

No. My old boss lives in CWE right by there and he said they stopped the project because they found human remains. Ewwww

WILS0N
WILS0N

I worked as a cook in the last restaraunt that was in there until the owners shut it down.in 2010. Was a place called Fletchers (where Hoolahans was before) The owner never told me they were closing..just came in one night said I cold go home they were closing. I was like "oh, we are shutting the kitchen down tonight cuz it's so slow?" he was like.."nope, we shutting down for good". Took me 3 weeks and a 2 hour bus ride to Bellville to get my last check and he only gave me half of it. The owner Derreck also owns Fletchers in Bellville, he is a real tool.

Lynn Croxton
Lynn Croxton

Send looters there to die of frustration because all the merchandise was already nabbed.

June Bugg
June Bugg

Literally. House those po lice inside, huh?

Virginia Sphere
Virginia Sphere

Art Museum, Performance Art Center, Stockholm style huge Dance Club

Bob Goode
Bob Goode

My dog Buddy took a shit in the middle of this mall when it was an Art Colony....right there on the marble floor. Why I happened to have a paper towel in my pocket that day remains a mystery. Easy pickup.

Jennifer Clough
Jennifer Clough

I worked at Sears there back in the late 90s and early 2000s.remember going there almost every weekend with my girlfriends and other friends. awesome times and great memories were made and spent there.it was a big part of my childhood..... soooo terribly sad to see it go.

Très Johnson
Très Johnson

i was going to suggest art space. bummer they failed at that.

Darin Driver
Darin Driver

IKEA is already opening their store in St. Louis off Forest Park Kelly

Steve Bruns
Steve Bruns

So sad. This was a thriving mall just ten years ago. Then, they had the clever concept to make it an art space ( which might have worked if they concentrated the stores on one end rather than having them scattered.) What now? Convert the big stores to office space? Apartments?

John Marco
John Marco

So sad. Spent a lot of time there in the early 90s. Worked at the Mrs. Fields as one of my first jobs during high school. My girlfriend worked down at Claires and then hot topic.

Chris Gee
Chris Gee

Agreed! Any chance I could get in there to skate for a bit?

John May
John May

Event space. Paintball/ airsoft field. Or zombie experience? Ala Generation of Z.

Mike Curry
Mike Curry

Been gone from st. Louis for almost 20 years. I miss that mall. Lots of fun times!

Cory Hart
Cory Hart

It used to have both of those.

Eric Lachmiller
Eric Lachmiller

Use it as a detention center for the Ferguson police.

Pete Hayes
Pete Hayes

Crestwood Plaza's old radio jingle just popped into my head ...

Owen Simpson
Owen Simpson

People in other cities have been hosting shows in abandoned malls.

George
George

I checked out your photography, and I think you are blind,  

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