MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — This holiday shopping season, there’s a good chance you’ll be heading to one of the “-dales” – Rosedale Center, Southdale Center, Ridgedale Center.

The names are unique to Minnesota. So, how did we end up with them? Good Question.

Southdale came first in 1956, followed by what used to be Brookdale Center in 1962. Rosedale was the third in the family in 1969 and Ridgedale came last in 1974.

“Southdale was the idea of Donald Dayton and the Dayton Corporation to build the first fully-air conditioned mall in the world,” Tom Fisher, a professor of urban design at the University of Minnesota, said. “It was so successful that they said let’s do it in all parts of the city, so they kept the ‘-dale’ name to identify the brand of all four of these malls.”

The Dayton Company (which is the original parent of Target Corporation) developed all four malls with the idea that they’d handle the regional demand in the suburbs. Victor Gruen, an Austrian-born architect, designed them all.

“This idea of getting people out of their cars and into a pedestrian environment was based on his experience in Europe was that we needed pedestrian streets,” Fisher said.

Fisher says “-dale” is an old English term that means low, peaceful valley.

“It has this bucolic connotation,” Fisher said. “It conveyed this idea of come out of the city into this peaceful place to shop.”

The names are based both on geography, location and existing city names. Ridgedale sits on a ridge in Minnetonka and Southdale is south of the Twin Cities. Rosedale is located in Roseville and Brookdale was located in Brooklyn Center.

Now, one of the original four is gone and the remaining three are owned by different companies.

Heather Brown

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