When I was in junior high school I would occasionally hang out in the Logan Valley Mall in the booming metropolis of Altoona, PA. The majority of my time was spent in 2 places inside the mall: B. Dalton Booksellers and Crocodile Alley. The latter of the two was a pool hall and arcade. I spent hours and hours playing Street Fighter 2, Golden Axe, and various forms of pinball. The time I spent in Crocodile Alley was directly responsible for my purchase of a Super Nintendo and accompanying Street Fighter 2 cartridge.
On December 16, 1994 the Logan Valley Mall burned in a huge fire. Large swaths of the mall were consumed by the fire, including Crocodile Alley. The fire supposedly started in the Murphy’s drugstore. Murphy’s was similar to a CVS or Walgreens. An electrical short was blamed for the fire.
The back story to the fire is that Altoona had been lobbying for a new mall for awhile. If I remember correctly, the proposal was shot down. Then the fire happened. There was speculation that the owners of the mall had it burned so that they could revamp the building. It was decided in the fire report that the mall burned because of the previously mentioned electrical short.
Eventually, they rebuilt the mall and now it is very nice. I’ll always miss Crocodile Alley though. While going through some stuff from high school I found a token from the arcade. Finding it was quite a blast from the past. It was certainly a happy discovery.