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The day I stop hunting is the day I stop breathing shirt, hoodie, tank top
Susannah Sudborough | The Taunton Daily Gazette TAUNTON — Though demolition work has started at the Silver City Galleria, it is clear that it will live on for a long time in the hearts of Tauntonians, Rhode Islanders and others in the area for many years to come. To make sure it is never forgotten, we have collected locals’ best memories of the mall. From family and friend hangouts to treasured workplaces, the mall was a home for so many. More: End of an era — Taunton Silver City Galleria mall to be demolished More: ‘Our mall forever’ — Taunton’s Silver City Galleria vandalized nostalgically Dick Shafer, economic development director Dick Shafer was the economic development director for the city of Taunton at the time the mall was built. He not only helped the mall get through the permitting process, but saw it from conception through completion. According to Shafer, The day I stop hunting is the day I stop breathing shirt, hoodie, tank top the land the mall was built on was originally zoned for industrial development, and there was a plan to built another industrial park on the site in the late 1980s. But the developer for the industrial park did not have the money to pay for a sewer extension to the land, so the project was dropped. Soon after, Shafer said, the land was picked up by Pyramid Corporation, a national company known for developing malls, and they came up with the idea of building a mall on the site. They were able to afford the sewer, as well as bridges and roads for the mall, and completed the project.
It’s sad, from a developer’s perspective, to have such a large, important facility become obsolete,” he said. Diana Shearstone, President of Taunton Area Chamber of Commerce Shearstone was the president of the TACC at the time the Silver City Galleria was built. “It was very exciting, and we just couldn’t wait for it to open,” she said. “People said this would put Taunton on the map.” The chamber held a “hard hat” tour of the mall before its grand opening. Shearstone said hundreds of people attended. There were so many, she said, they had to have a second night of touring. At the time, Shearstone said, people were afraid the mall would cause downtown Taunton to turn into a ghost town. Instead, she said, not only did the galleria have an office downtown, but the mall held a show for local vendors every year and provided grants for facade improvement for downtown businesses. Shearstone said she hopes that whatever replaces the mall provides people jobs, as it is a great spot for development. Sonya Howland, 79, Taunton Sonya Howland was the store secretary for Lechmere department store, one of the anchor stores in the mall when it opened. At the time, she said, it was easy to get a job at the store. She said she interviewed in a tent just inside the store and was given a job right away. Opening night was exciting and memorable, Howland said. “We had a piano player — she actually was my teacher. She came up from Sandwich and she supplied the music,” she said. “There was a large buffet that we served right there in the customer service area.” From there, Howland watched the store and the mall grow. The workers at Lechmere were like a family, she said. They still keep up over Facebook.