One of America’s First Suburban Malls Gets Chance to Square Its Debt
In a time when malls fail [daily], historic Valentown Hall, a modern American shopping center prototype, has a chance to clear its debt via a challenge from its sole remaining creditor: Raise $50K by Oct. 25, 2012 and $350K of debt will be forgiven.
Even though the railroad went bust before it got to Victor, the Valentown Hall came close to fulfilling Levi Valentine’s vision. Most of its core businesses continued to operate through the First World War, when Valentown Hall served as a center of activity for recruiting and fund drives.
Hard Times and Redemption
The Hall fell on hard times following the war, and in 1940 the properties were acquired by antiquarian Sheldon Fisher, who hoped to preserve them as a record of a community’s commercial life at the turn of the 19th to 20th century. Fisher helped found the Victor Historical Society in part to look after the interests of the Hall, and served as its caretaker until it fell into bankruptcy in 1998.
Since then, and especially thanks to the early generosity of a particular donor, the Victor Historical Society has struggled to protect the approximate 13 acres and the Valentown Hall from the shovels of developers. Now, thanks to that benefactor’s challenge, they have a chance to have their remaining debt forgiven -- but only if they can raise $50K by October 25th, 2012.
Ahead of its Time, or Prototype for the Modern Mall?
While terms like ‘synergy’ weren’t in use at the time, Valentown creator Levi Valentine clearly hoped to create synergy from Valentown’s blend of crucial small businesses, friendly civic space, and then-cutting-
Ironically, Valentown Hall now sits within sight of one of the area’s largest and busiest shopping centers, Eastview Mall, in the midst of a cluster of suburban commercial activity. Valentown Hall can serve as "A time-out to show people what maybe commercial areas were like a hundred years ago," in the words of the Victor Historical Society’s Kathryn White. "A way for us to understand both how far we have come, and other directions we might have gone."
The Victor Historical Society is gratefully accepting donations in the interest of meeting their challenge. Donations can be made at the Victor Historical Society’s website: http://valentown.org/
Please support this irreplaceable piece of our country's history known as Valentown, go to http://www.valentown.org for more information. Please note, this is an OFFICIAL Valentown press release and is not related to any "ghost hunting" or paranormal media, and in fact... in the interest of preserving a privately owned historical property we discourage any commercialization or dramatization or promotion of interests to develop the historical properties that are outside of and unrelated to the interests of the Victor Historical Society towards the preservation of its historical existence. Thank you for watching, and please come visit us!