MOUNTAIN MILEPOSTS #968 March 26, 2020
THE ALPINE MALL IN LAKE GREGORY VILLAGE: The Alpine Mall in Lake Gregory Village started its life in the 1940’s as a motel and was one of the original Lake Drive businesses. This week’s image is taken from a real photo postcard and depicts the smaller half of the Mall as it looked in the 40’s and 50’s, when it housed Hal’s Place. A very popular hot dog stand and cocktail lounge, Hal later added “Hot Dogs – Café Open – Home Cooking” at the bottom of the window. He would also drop the “chamber” slogan and replace it with “Visit The Corral,” the name of his lounge. Russ Keller writes in his book Crestline – The Swingingest Town In America that Hal “was the unofficial mayor of Crestline and also claimed to be a one-man chamber of commerce.” Hence the slogan. To the left of Hal’s stood Dinky Golf, now Ace Garden Center. The first of a dozen or so cabins is visible, and at the other end of the arch, which says Crestline Motel, is a larger building. The arch came down in the 1970’s and the front buildings were completely remodeled, as were some of the cabins. They were converted into various-sized retail stores, some of which would later be rented as offices. Larger businesses could be accommodated in the front buildings. The tall neon sign, which once said “Kelly’s Crestline Motel,” became the iconic new symbol for the ambitious new enterprise, reading “Alpine Mall.” The Mall has been family-owned for some 40 years and has hosted a diverse range of businesses and has served numerous functions. Many successful businesses got their start in the Mall, some going back 30 years. Many expanded into larger, successful enterprises. The Mall has been an anchor business for generations and has kept current. The entire operation got a major remodel and facelift over the past couple years and has been turned into a showplace. Check it out. We always need to support our local businesses. By Ken Brafman, Image from Rhea-Frances Tetley Collection.