Avondale Mall

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Avondale Mall / Columbia Mall
Location Near Avondale Estates, Georgia, USA
Coordinates 33°45′24″N 84°16′04″W / 33.75667°N 84.26778°W / 33.75667; -84.26778Coordinates: 33°45′24″N 84°16′04″W / 33.75667°N 84.26778°W / 33.75667; -84.26778
Opening date 1964
Closing date 2001
No. of anchor tenants 2
No. of floors 1

Avondale Mall, originally known as Columbia Mall, opened in 1964 as an enclosed mall in the state of Georgia, United States. The mall's original name came from its location at the intersection of Columbia & Memorial Drives near Avondale Estates. It was demolished in 2007.


The mall's original anchors were Davison's and Sears. After Sears closed and before renovations began, some indoor and outdoor shopping mall scenes for the Chuck Norris movie "Invasion USA" were filmed here. The "entry" crash of the Chevy pickup into the mall was shot at the mall's main entrance. The scenes inside the mall with the Nissan pickup were inside the mall nearest the Davison's end. The escalator scene was inside the old Sears building, and the "exit" crash through the window was on the western side of Sears on the first level (the movie then cut to an exterior scene of a mall in South Florida).

After the filming, Columbia Mall was renovated and renamed "Avondale Mall" in an effort to reverse years of decline. The mall was expanded into both floors of the former Sears store, which were subdivided into smaller tenant spaces. At one time, the lower level of the old Sears building housed a new, smaller Sears Outlet Store, which became a Goody's for some time. The mall also featured a McCrory's.

Later years[edit]

The decline at the mall began in the 1970s and 1980s. When the two anchor stores left in 1984 and 1995, the mall was unable to attract replacements. Management tried in 1995 to increase foot traffic. After Davison's/Macy's left the mall, that anchor building's upper floor was converted to a 16 screen movie theater, while the lower floor remained vacant except for a newly built stairwell leading from the lower level mall to the upper level theaters. This addition to the mall may have helped keep them up and running for another 6 years, but the mall was closed at the end of 2001.[1]


Demolition of the mall began in February 2007. The last two walls of the old Sears came down on March 21, 2007.[2][3][4] The former mall was replaced with a Wal-Mart Supercenter, as well as space for condominiums and commercial outlets. This plan met with strong resistance from residents of nearby Avondale Estates. However, the Wal-Mart opened in March 2008.


The Avondale Mall site is unique in that it has a small family cemetery in its parking lot. The graves belong to the ancestors of the original property holders, and the mall was built on the condition that the graves would not be disturbed. The cemetery is surrounded by granite walls, square in shape and inward-sloping, with an iron fence at the top. The headstones and grave sites are at the top of the structure, as this is the original grade level of the property; the construction of the mall removed approximately 12 feet of elevation.[5] This site remained undisturbed during the construction of the Wal-Mart.

James M Crowley moved to Decatur, Dekalb Co., Georgia in about 1822 – 1823, which is now a southeastern suburb of Atlanta. He owned about 500 acres. The Atlanta area was Creek Indian Territory until the Indians ceded the land to our government in 1822.

They put their cemetery on a hill overlooking their land about 100 yards north of their house and put a barbed wire fence around it. When James died in 1829 he was one of the first ones buried there.

Allen Crowley owned the land from 1829 to Nov 1846, when he moved his family by wagon train to Northern Mississippi. It is believed that Seaborn Crowley family owned the land from 1846 to 1896 when it was purchased by the Hill Family (also Crowley relatives). In about 1960 the Hills sold part of the land and leased the other part so that the Avondale Mall could be built. The mall is near the intersection of Memorial Drive and Columbia Road. The Mall was completed in 1963. The builder agreed to build a mausoleum around the cemetery, which is now in the parking lot.

The mausoleum is built of granite stones and is about 60ft long and wide and is about 25 ft high. A huge amount of dirt and trees had to be removed from the hill where the cemetery was in order to make the parking lot and to build the mausoleum. The graves are on top of the mausoleum.

There are seven adults and four children that lay in unmarked box tombs:

These first two are the only ones that have inscriptions

Delaney Crowley Cross, the wife of Zachariah D. Cross, born 1808 died April 17, 1892. Age 82 years.

Zachariah D. Cross Aug 15, 1815-Nov. 18, 1891.

Benjamin C Crowley Aug. 03, 1812 - Jan. 03, 1869

James M Crowley born 1777 died Feb 9, 1828. Came to Dekalb County from Oglethorpe County, Georgia.

Dorcas Smith Crowley, no inscribed marker. Died about 1851 or 1852. Wife of James M. Crowley, Sr.

James Crowley, Jr. Died when a young man.

Mary J. Tuggle Crowley July 12, 1823-Sept.14,1863, wife of Benjamin C Crowley.

John Hawkins, no inscribed marker. Father of John M. Hawkins. This was recorded Dec. 11, 1931. (note; he was friend of the family)

There were 40 or 50 slave graves buried surrounding the cemetery, but when the mall was built they made no effort to save these graves.