MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — If you remember parking in the rabbit lot, turtle lot or camel lot, you’ll love our next story. Those were the signs they used to identify parking lots at all of the shopping “Dales” back in the day.
Now, with Brookdale Center just a fading memory, two Minnesota men are doing their best to save those signs for posterity.
Back in the day, the rabbit sign had plenty of company. A dozen animals stood tall over the Brookdale parking lot, but now only a few remain. Most of the mall is gone, torn down to make way for a new Walmart, and other retail stores.
“It completely bums me out,” said graphic designer Jon Hunt, who grew up near Brookdale.
So, when a friend asked him to turn the mall animals into pictures for a baby’s room, he didn’t hesitate.
“I would have wanted to do it anyway,” he said, “even if she hadn’t said it was for her daughter’s bedroom. It’s just an awesome idea.”
Working from pictures, he turned them into high resolution images.
“I remember them to this day,” he said. “Even if I hadn’t seen the pictures, I could have drawn them because they are such gold, striking, graphic images.”
When he was done, Jon shared them on Facebook and Tumblr, which is how he found out somebody had already done the same thing.
Two years ago, Dallas copied the animal signs to hang on the walls at Monkey In A Dryer, his printing business in Richfield.
“I went home and traced all the photos and recreated them,” said Dallas Poague. “(I) figured they wouldn’t be there forever, so I better save them.”
Poague also grew up near Brookdale, and when he called the mall’s demolition company looking for discarded signs, he got an interesting answer.
“They said they’ve been getting hundreds of calls a day,” he said. “They’re down in Tennessee, and they had no idea what these signs were, and the lady was like, ‘I need to know what these signs are. Why is everybody obsessed with them?’”
Animal signs are still used at Southdale and Ridgedale, but with more modern designs. Rosedale doesn’t use animals anymore.