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'Buried treasures' unearthed at Old Park Central Mall in Phoenix

Posted at 7:13 PM, Jan 26, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-27 07:00:20-05

Arizona State University researchers and librarians are working to preserve and protect artifacts unearthed where Park Central Mall in midtown Phoenix once stood. 

Last year, two real estate companies, Peoria -based Plaza Companies and Tucson-based Holualoa Companies, announced plans to reinvent the aging shopping mall near Central Avenue and Osborn Road.

"It's really part of our whole idea that we want to make this not just an office project where off his tenants come and then leave, we want to make this a big part of the community again," said Stan Schafer, CEO of Holualoa Companies. 

Since the face-lift began, construction workers found microfilm reels, news clippings, antique signage and old photos from the 1950s buried underneath the first mall in Phoenix.

Matthew Delmont, Director and history professor, says he was very excited about this discovery.

"I was really excited because this is the time period of history I work on, the 50s and 60s in America," said Delmont. "To be able to find a time capsule like this with all this material from Park Central mall going back to several decades, and it just happens to be in such good condition, that's what so remarkable about it."

A group of researchers and librarians have launched the “Park Central Mall Collection,” which will give the public a glimpse into what was found, as well as providing a background about the artifacts. 

"We are talking everyday history. These are things that mattered to people on a day to day basis.  What they're going to wear, what kind of food they are going to eat, where they are going to connect with their friends. That is what is so important about all of this stuff," said Delmont.

The redeveloped mall will undergo a transformation into a “community hub.” The masterminds behind the project hope it will serve as a hot spot for community gatherings and activities while maintaining the historical memory of the property. 

Construction for the venue is slated to be done later this year