Dorri Partain 

Headed to the Antioch Center mall to visit Santa? Be sure the kids visit Antimouse and Antimoose too!

These furry companions were the official mascots of the Antioch shopping district from the late 1970’s to the mid-1980’s.

Located at the junctions of Antioch Road, Chouteau Trafficway, and Vivion Road (U.S. 69), the first shopping mall built north of the river encompassed 55 acres and attracted 35,000 shoppers when it opened on August 23, 1956.

Built by Charles F. Curry Real Estate Company, the modern facility was designed by local architects Kivett & Myers at the total cost of 3 million dollars. The open air shopping mall held 500,000 square feet of retail space and featured stores such as W.T. Grant, T.G. & Y, Kroger’s and Thriftway. A center walkway featured brick planters filled with evergreens and concrete play structures to entertain the kids while parents shopped.

In the next decades, the mall expanded northward, adding Macy’s and Kline’s in 1964, and Sears in 1973 for a total of 94 stores and services in a combined shopping experience.

When Santa made his usual Christmas arrival that year, he was joined by new costume characters Antimouse and Antimoose. As illustrated, their Christmas finery included red neck scarves and a sprig of holly behind one ear. To notate they were affiliated with the Antioch shopping mall, the capital “A” in each name mimicked the style used on the Center’s neon entry sign.

When Metro North Mall opened in 1977 at the intersection of Barry Road and U.S. 169, shoppers were eager to abandon the cold, windy outdoor shopping venue for the newer, indoor, climate-controlled facility. By 1979, the Antioch mall had joined older malls such as Blue Ridge and Ward Parkway to enclose the entire mall. The change brought in new businesses and the Antioch Eatery offered quicker food options for shoppers for a total of 123 outlets.

As shopping habits continued to change and folks had less time to spend all day hanging out at the mall, stores shuttered until Antioch was nearly vacant. By December 2011, demolition of the south end of the mall commenced, leaving mostly the north end’s newer and larger shops that had remained open.

The vacant land attracted a new Walmart and other smaller businesses scattered around. The reimagined shopping area was renamed Antioch Crossing.