Sunday, October 17, 2010

West Hill Mall Huntsville Texas: Last article of 2010

West Hill Mall is in the town of Huntsville Texas; famous for Sam Houston State University and a huge statue of Sam Houston. Many of the state correctional facilities are here as well. For a city of around 30,000 people a mall should do fairly well since the nearest mall is over 45 minutes to the south in the Woodlands suburb of Houston. This is not the case for West Hill Mall; the mall only has closed off over 2/3 of the retail space for government offices and there are only a handful of stores left. A couple of the stores still have not updated their storefronts from the late 1980's to early 1990's and the mall seems to be very quiet. I wish I could have seen this mall in the prime years when the whole building was open. The design of this mall is very similar to the Deauville malls that were built in the Houston area in the 1980's that have vanished or have been re-purposed like the one in Kingwood that is now a hospital. You can see all the way across the mall from both anchor entrances since the mall space has been reduced.

We start our tour of the mall from the Palais Royal entrance.

The mall stops here; less than a 1/3 of the mall is still used for retail; the rest of the mall space has been taken over by the State of Texas for various offices.

These next two photos are from the same spot, but different angles. Just past the Cato store is the JCPenney entrance.

The next three pictures are taken from the middle of the mall; which is just a few steps away from the entrance to Palais Royal.

I tried to get a good photo of the mall map, but there was a nearby security guard (not pictured), so I had to be discreet. The two anchor stores on the left of the map are the JCPenney and Palais Royal, so you can see how much of the mall is closed off.

This is the view as you enter the mall from JCPenney; you can see the other end of the mall from this view (look above the trashcan). As you can see there are some 1980's style storefronts still intact here.

Gotta love the mirrored glass JCPenney entrances.

This is the only entry to the mall that does not go through an anchor.

The back of the mall is very similar to the back of a regular shopping center.

The mall has tons of vegetation covering the building, so it is very hard to get far away shots. Pictured here is the wing used by the State of Texas DPS and other offices.

This is the only non-anchor entrance to the mall shops.

One of the former anchor spots (does anyone have info on the former anchors)

Palais Royal

JCPenney; very small maybe around 30,000 sq feet.

I am going to take a break on this blog until after the new year just like last year. I will have some great new articles including an article on retail for an entire section of suburban Houston. Once again thanks for reading and participating in my blog and keep the comments coming as I will still be checking this site often.


  1. I took pictures of this mall about a year ago, and it's in the same condition as now. I'm worried about the JCP: a new strip center down on 45 looks like it may take JCP at a moment's notice.

    The former anchors I have no idea on what they might be, but I was also intrigued at the chairs and tables they have near the closed end of the mall. There's no food establishments.

  2. I was here around 3 years ago and more of the mall was open and there was an old foot locker. There was a dollar tree and a few more clothing stores past the palais royal entrance and the mall just came to a stop.

  3. Yeah, there was a Foot Locker, a clothing store, a pedicure/manicure place (you know the type: chemicals), a miscellaneous "gift" (read: junk) store or maybe two, and a few local clothing stores.

  4. A little digging shows that it may have been Kerr's, shuttered in 2007. It was a subsidiary of Dunlaps. However, I'm pretty sure that part of the mall was sealed prior to that.

    1. I went to the mall in early 2006 for the first time. The mall stretched a little further down than it does now, but not to the other end. There was a closed vintage Foot Locker, a Dollar Tree, and a mid sized clothing store down just past where the mall is walled off now. I did not venture towards the closed end of the mall on that trip though so I can't confirm if the store was open at that time.

  5. I went to the mall a few times from 1991 to 1995 when I was a student at SHSU. I recall a western wear store at one end named Baskins. There was a "record store" at one end that sold CDs and tapes. I ran across one of the CDs in my attic several weeks ago. The CDs were sold with a sticker on the back that provided a one year quality guarantee. I thought that was funny. My younger sister was in high school at the time and I taught her to drive a standard transmission in the streets around the mall.

    1. Thanks for letting us know what the anchor on the far side of the mall was.

  6. I was working in Huntsville at that little radio station KHUN back when they had the grand opening of the mall. I guess it had to be 1987/88? We did some live broadcasts during the celebration. It was a pretty cool deal for that town, and the turn-out was huge. One thing I'll never forget - growing up in Houston, I hated being in such a small-town, and thought the name West "Hill" Mall was so Mayberry sounding. On the air I would always say West "Hills" Mall. A nurse from one of the hospitals called me after I'd called it "Hills" and said "Honey, go look at the city limit sign... you're in Huntsville and there ain't no HILLS out here. It's west HILL mall". Sad sad dose of reality :-( But the memories are still funny.

    1. Thanks for your story Clayton. Has the inside of the mall changed any over the years? There is not much of a turnout these days on the retail side of the mall, but the government office side is booming.