In late 1964 the city of Harvey incorporated 58 acres of land that made up the "Dixie Hi" golf course. By early 1965 ground was broken for Montgomery Wards, the first store at the Dixie Square Mall.
Dixie Square Mall was designed and built by William H. Metz & Associates, Inc..Total square footage was 780,567 feet and cost $25 million dollars.
Montgomery Wards was the first to open in 1965. The mall opened in April of 1966 but many areas were still under construction, November 1966 was the "Official" grand opening.
Montgomery Wards and J.C. Penny's were the main anchors for the mall. Other well known stores included Jewel, Walgreen's, Fanny May, Baskin Robbin's, Hallmark Cards, Hickory Farms, Singer Sewing Center, Wurlitzer, and Woolworth.
Turn Style opened as a third anchor in 1970. This addition, started in 1969, adds over 100,000 square feet to the mall.
The mall had it's fair share of misfortunes that lead to a downward spiral just several years after it opened. Besides the high rate of theft, death was also high. An elderly woman was killed by a hit and run driver in the parking lot. A security guard accidentally killed himself. Four male youth shot a woman to death in a failed robbery attempt. Another robbery, this time successful, left a man dead next to his truck. A 13 year old girl is lured from the mall by other young girls and killed. A world famous flag pole sitter falls to his death in the parking lot just shy of his world record.
There were also some odd happenings at the mall. Two men were busted in the parking lot for selling pornographic movies. Then there were the many UFO sightings over the mall.
By 1978 the mall was down to 20 tenants. The newest anchor, Turn Style, closed it's doors. Most were sold and became Venture stores, the Dixie location never reopened. Also that year, J.C. Penny's decides to close. For some reason the store is left stocked for a year until 1979 when it reopened for it's "Dixie's Last Gasp" sale where everything was sold down to the fixtures.
Management decided to shut down the mall in November of 1978. Security could no longer protect shoppers from crime or tenants from theft. Jewel and Walgreens operate till the spring of 1979 because they have exterior entrances to their stores.
On July 23rd, 1979 Hollywood set up shop inside the Dixie. John Landis brought his "Blues Brothers" crew into the mall for filming. Stores were set up with false fronts and the Blues Mobile, being chased by several State Trooper squad cars, literally destroyed the mall during a car chase. This by far lead to one of the most famous car chases ever brought to the big screen.
In 1979 the mall is donated to the Harvey-Dixmoor School District with the understanding that they pay the $800,000 in back taxes. It is used for two years while a new school is being built. After the school left, the mall was never used again.
Many developers and planners have come to the city of Harvey with plans to revive the Dixie, they range from the obvious to the absurd. Some of these ideas include a baseball stadium for the White Sox, airport, school, government offices, transportation hub, mausoleum and yes, a shopping mall.
The current status of the mall is, as it has been for over 20 years, in limbo. A developer started to clear out the interior of the mall in order to tear it down. However the state of Illinois EPA office found that the demolition crew was illegally removing asbestos and halted the demolition.