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The Pearl Street Mall
Excerpt from Privileged Information

pearl street mall

     I left the office and walked two blocks east to the Downtown Boulder Mall.  Economic redevelopment motivated the permanent closing of four blocks of Boulder's "Main Street" in the mid-1970s. Coffee shops, pharmacies, hardware stores, and a Woolworth's surrendered their storefronts to upscale shops, and the two-lane blacktop of Pearl Street was transformed into a pedestrian sanctuary of paving bricks, statuary, fountains, playgrounds, and a designer jungle of trees, shrubs, and flowers. Hair nets, hammers, and twenty-five-cent cups of coffee were no longer to be found in a retail district whose shopkeepers sold virtually nothing one couldn't live without. Unless one placed south- western knickknacks, gourmet kitchen supplies, and outrageously priced clothing on one's list of essentials. Renovated turn-of- the-century buildings loaned charm to the mall, the jutting Rocky Mountain foothills twelve blocks away added a sense of space, and Boulder's peculiar locals had a place to gather.  

     In a town where ice cream trucks were illegal for making too much noise, where airplanes pulling banners violated the city sign code, and where municipal employees are prohibited from smoking even when alone in city vehicles, the mall was a bit of an oasis of noninterference.  As long as you didn't want to skateboard, ride a bike, panhandle, or run your dog, it was Boulder's most tolerant four blocks.

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