Many people agree that the first real mall in New England was the Westminster Arcade in Providence, Rhode Island.  Even though it was built in the 1820s, it would take decades before the concept of an indoor shopping center really caught on.

By the 1970s, America was on a mall-building kick.  They were going up in every decent-sized city across the country.  Maine was no exception to this trend.

Between the late 1960s and late 1970s, Maine saw the construction of several malls.  These included Augusta’s Turnpike Mall, the Bangor Mall, the Auburn Mall, and South Portland’s Maine Mall.

In addition to the sprawling mall complexes mentioned above, the state was filled with dozens of smaller malls and shopping centers.

While most of the proposed malls in Maine were eventually built, at least one plan never came to fruition.

Heidi Fin / Unsplash
Heidi Fin / Unsplash

Augusta’s City Center Mall

According to a post on the Mall Hall of Fame website, there was a plan in the works in the late 1970s to construct an enormous mall in downtown Augusta.

The proposed mall would have “roofed-in” a section of Water Street.  This would have allowed people to walk from store to store without concerns about the weather.

A parking garage with enough spaces for 1,500 vehicles was to be built adjacent to the mall.

There was also a plan to build a marina on the Kennebec River.  This would have made the mall more of a destination.  People from the Augusta area could dock their boats at the marina, and people from elsewhere could have visited the mall via the river.

According to the article, Augusta architectural firm Bunker & Savage Architects did a rendering of the mall.  You can see that HERE.

In 1978, the project's proposed cost was just over $7 million.  That would be the equivalent of $35 million in 2024!

While we have spent time digging for more information about this proposed project, the only information we can find comes from the Mall Hall of Fame article.  Do you know anything about the proposed project?  If you do, send us a message inside our app or email

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Thanks to our great listeners we were able to compile a list of many of Maine's great restaurants, cafes, pubs and bakeries that are worth a long drive to get to.

These great spots can be found across the state and waiting for you to give them a try.

How many have you been to?

Gallery Credit: Chris Sedenka

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