Eerie never-before-seen photos from inside one of Chicago’s abandoned malls

Seph Lawless

Chicago’s Lincoln Mall shut its doors in January 2015, joining hundreds of now defunct malls in the graveyard of American shopping centres.

In the nearly two years since it closed, the mall has transformed from a vibrant shopping center into an eerie, deserted wasteland.

Photographer Seph Lawless, who became famous documenting the decline of abandoned malls, theme parks, and other buildings, recently visited the location to capture images of what remains. 

Here’s a never-before-seen look at the depressing shell of what was Lincoln Mall. 

[slideshow]
[slide
permalink=”/#today-the-mall-is-empty-except-for-garbage-dead-trees-and-a-few-stray-shopping-carts-1″
title=”Today, the mall is empty, except for garbage, dead trees, and a few stray shopping carts.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/58349425ba6eb66d268b5970″
source=”Seph Lawless”
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”/#a-few-remnants-of-the-malls-past-remain-like-these-banners-2″
title=”A few remnants of the mall’s past remain, like these banners.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/58349416ba6eb619268b5974″
source=”Seph Lawless”
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”/#however-lincoln-mall-today-is-more-haunted-house-than-shopping-hot-spot-3″
title=”However, Lincoln Mall today is more haunted house than shopping hot spot.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/58349411ba6eb620008b5d3b”
source=”Seph Lawless”
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”/#lincoln-mall-first-opened-its-doors-in-1973-4″
title=”Lincoln Mall first opened its doors in 1973.”
content=”Source: The Chicago Tribune
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/58349405ba6eb604688b4cde”
source=”Seph Lawless”
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”/#the-700000-square-foot-mall-had-the-capacity-to-host-four-anchor-stores-and-100-smaller-shops-5″
title=”The 700,000-square-foot mall had the capacity to host four anchor stores and 100 smaller shops.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/583493deba6eb605688b4ccd”
source=”Seph Lawless”
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”/#however-in-the-malls-final-months-it-was-home-to-just-40-businesses-6″
title=”However, in the mall’s final months, it was home to just 40 businesses.”
content=”Source: The Chicago Tribune
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/583493dcba6eb6771b8b5a4b”
source=”Seph Lawless”
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”/#the-closure-of-sears-in-2012-was-a-major-blow-to-the-malls-business-7″
title=”The closure of Sears in 2012 was a major blow to the mall’s business.”
content=”Source: Chicago Now 
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/583493e2ba6eb634008b5d26″
source=”Seph Lawless”
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”/#in-2013-the-malls-owner-told-the-chicago-tribune-that-the-mall-was-losing-2-million-a-year-8″
title=”In 2013, the mall’s owner told The Chicago Tribune that the mall was losing $2 million a year.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/583493e3ba6eb671018b5cfd”
source=”Seph Lawless”
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”/#the-same-year-a-court-ordered-receiver-was-appointed-to-force-the-location-to-pay-taxes-and-fines-as-well-as-make-necessary-repairs-9″
title=”The same year, a court-ordered receiver was appointed to force the location to pay taxes and fines, as well as make necessary repairs.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/583493e3ba6eb604688b4cdc”
source=”Seph Lawless”
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”/#the-malls-tenants-did-not-generate-enough-in-rent-to-pay-for-the-improvements-or-repairs-according-to-an-attorney-for-the-owner-10″
title=”The mall’s tenants did not generate enough in rent to pay for the improvements or repairs, according to an attorney for the owner.”
content=”Source: The Chicago Tribune
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/58349418ba6eb601688b4d3c”
source=”Seph Lawless”
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”/#the-mall-reportedly-failed-to-make-these-changes-which-included-creating-new-exits-to-comply-with-fire-codes-and-replacing-electrical-and-air-conditioning-systems-11″
title=”The mall reportedly failed to make these changes, which included creating new exits to comply with fire codes and replacing electrical and air conditioning systems.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/583493f3ba6eb64e018b53e4″
source=”Seph Lawless”
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”/#in-november-2014-cook-county-judge-ordered-the-closure-of-the-mall-following-the-holiday-shopping-season-12″
title=”In November 2014, Cook County judge ordered the closure of the mall following the holiday shopping season.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/58349403ba6eb634008b5d29″
source=”Seph Lawless”
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”/#at-the-time-the-malls-owner-owed-10-million-in-unpaid-fines-and-taxes-according-to-local-officials-13″
title=”At the time, the mall’s owner owed $10 million in unpaid fines and taxes, according to local officials.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/583493f3ba6eb67d058b5c79″
source=”Seph Lawless”
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”/#now-the-mall-is-in-a-far-worse-state-of-disrepair-14″
title=”Now, the mall is in a far worse state of disrepair.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/583493e8ba6eb620008b5d38″
source=”Seph Lawless”
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”/#roughly-two-years-after-the-mall-was-ordered-to-close-lawless-visited-to-take-these-photos-15″
title=”Roughly two years after the mall was ordered to close, Lawless visited to take these photos.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/583493fdba6eb6771b8b5a4e”
source=”Seph Lawless”
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”/#the-photographer-says-he-visited-the-mall-on-november-20-2016-just-days-before-black-friday-16″
title=”The photographer says he visited the mall on November 20, 2016, just days before Black Friday.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/5834940aba6eb6d3008b5ce7″
source=”Seph Lawless”
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”/#shops-are-dark-and-empty-17″
title=”Shops are dark and empty.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/58349408ba6eb637008b5cf1″
source=”Seph Lawless”
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”/#forget-shoppers-there-isnt-not-another-person-in-sight-18″
title=”Forget shoppers — there isn’t not another person in sight.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/58349404ba6eb6b1018b5cd3″
source=”Seph Lawless”
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”/#the-trip-was-part-of-lawlesss-project-autopsy-of-america-which-is-intended-to-document-abandoned-and-forgotten-sites-across-the-us-19″
title=”The trip was part of Lawless’s project, Autopsy of America, which is intended to document abandoned and forgotten sites across the US.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/5834940aba6eb605688b4cd0″
source=”Seph Lawless”
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”/#lawless-collected-the-photographs-in-his-book-autopsy-of-america-the-death-of-a-nation-which-was-released-in-early-2017-20″
title=”Lawless collected the photographs in his book, ‘Autopsy of America: The Death of a Nation,’ which was released in early 2017.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/58349408ba6eb606688b4d01″
source=”Seph Lawless”
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”/#in-may-demolition-began-on-the-vacant-mall-21″
title=”In May, demolition began on the vacant mall.”
content=”Source: The Chicago Tribune
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/58349414ba6eb6b1018b5cd5″
source=”Seph Lawless”
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”/#the-village-of-matteson-where-the-mall-is-located-requested-that-the-property-be-destroyed-citing-safety-concerns-22″
title=”The village of Matteson, where the mall is located, requested that the property be destroyed, citing safety concerns.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/58349412ba6eb603688b4d1f”
source=”Seph Lawless”
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”/#it-is-expected-to-take-about-four-months-to-complete-the-razing-of-the-mall-23″
title=”It is expected to take about four months to complete the razing of the mall.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/58349424ba6eb604688b4ce0″
source=”Seph Lawless”
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”/#in-the-meantime-heres-a-video-that-lawless-made-documenting-his-trip-24″
title=”In the meantime, here’s a video that Lawless made, documenting his trip.”
content=”To see more of Lawless’s photographs, you can visit the photographer’s Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Youtube

(video provider=’youtube’ id=’rClyAQ4rXyM’ size=’xlarge’ align=’center’)”
image=”http://img.youtube.com/vi/rClyAQ4rXyM/0.jpg”
source=””
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[/slideshow]