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Have you ever wondered, as you walk through the hallways of Casper's Eastridge Mall, how many of the stores were around when the mall first opened on Oct. 13, 1982 - the day shopping in central Wyoming was changed forever?

If you've thought about this, and if you can harken back to that autumn day when a talking robot named FUBAR entertained Casperites of all ages, then it's likely you can easily name three of the mall's original stores which are still around.

These three stores are, of course, the three original anchors: Sears, J.C. Penney and Target.

The Bon, anchor number four, opened several months after the late Gov. Ed Herschler, alongside a resplendent Miss Wyoming, cut the mall's opening-day ribbon.

Identifying the other original stores still in business at the Eastridge Mall proves to be a tougher task, since these shops are all considerably smaller than the three original anchors, and since the mall itself has no records available listing the opening-day stores.

Radio Shack, Aquatics and Critters, Aladdin's Castle, Waldenbooks and 1 Potato 2 are all original stores. So are Carmel Corn, Hot Dog on a Stick, Zales, B. Dalton, and Regis, according to advertisements printed on the day the mall opened.

Foot Locker and Sadler's Hallmark are also original stores that have grown since 1982 and taken over space once occupied by long-gone stores like Trends.

Other original mall tenants that are still open include Maurice's, The Shade Tree, Payless Shoes, Roth's, GNC and Demarcos.

The total number of original mall tenants that are still open number 21, which accounts for 22 percent of the mall's current 93 businesses.

Of course, most of the original mall tenants like The Denim Connection, Il Edition, The Sweetbriar and that jewelry store that employed a tarantula to patrol its wares have long gone the way of Buttery-Osco.

Other original mall tenants were ill-conceived offshoots or relocations of Casper businesses that had already been around many years when the mall opened, and terms like "food court" and sayings like "Mom, can I have money for tokens?" entered the Casper lexicon. Among these stores are Lou Taubert's, which still thrives at its downtown location, and the legendary haberdashery Harry Yesness, which still thrives in the memories of some long-time residents.

Have you ever wondered about why some trivial facet of Wyoming life is the way it is? If you have and you want to see it answered, e-mail your pondering to Brendan Burke at

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