A blog documenting the mundanely beautiful side of retail history since its launch in 2006, Labelscar takes its name from the mark left when a business closes and removes their sign exposing the virgin facade below, the equivalent of an architectural watch tan. Organized by state and with images and info, the site includes hundreds of entries to date and encourages submissions from readers.

Created by journalist Jason Damas and cartographer Ross Schendel (both fascinated by retail development (including retail industry trends, commercial architecture, and retail history), by creating an online archive, Labelscar aims to preserve the legacy of shopping malls that have been so central to American life. While often maligned and blamed for killing small town Main streets and downtowns, enclosed shopping malls are now themselves facing a slow death by attrition with the trends in consumer architecture favoring big box stores, open-air "lifestyle centers" and strip malls. In spite of their inherent tackiness, shopping malls have served as de facto town centers and—for better worse—have been a key influence in our culture over the last 25 years.


The sometimes haunting, sometimes bizarre photographs of dead and dying malls featured on Labelscar serve as a reminder of American consumer culture and values of the not-so-distant past. Examining the subtle and obvious differences in regional shopping experiences and their place in collective history, the project illustrates Joan Didion's theory that shopping malls are ''toy garden cities . . . profound equalizers, the perfect fusion of the profit motive and the egalitarian ideal."

via Fashion Binge