Mid-20th Century Shopping Malls

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Mid-20th Century Shopping Malls

Postby Mid Century Mod » Sat Oct 28, 2006 4:31 pm

Hello Everyone,

I am currently doing a bit of research on America's "classic era" shopping malls, this for content of a blog I have created called The Mall Hall Of Fame. This is to be a compendium of images, articles and artwork (this, done by myself); a cross-section of historic -and architecturally-significant- shopping centers of the 1950's, 1960's and 1970's.

It is VERY difficult to find out much about a lot of these "mid-cen-mod" malls. I was hoping that some of you folks on LottaLiving would be able to provide some input. I will be MORE THAN GLAD to credit you for any info I use in future Mall Hall Of Fame articles.

Currently, I have 22 articles (with "mall plan/layout" drawings and some images) posted...I hope to be able to get enough info to do several more.

At present, I am trying to fill in some details about two of Southern California's early shopping malls;

LAKEWOOD CENTER. So-Cal's first shopping mall. Opened in 1952. Was originally open-air, enclosed in 198???. Its original anchor store was a huge, 300,000+ square foot, May Company. There was also a department store at the north end of the mall (now a Target). I would love to find out who occupied this store in the 1950's and 1960's. Also, I would like to find out who leased the anchor store at the south end of the mall (near Del Amo Blvd.) during those years (it is now a J.C. Penney).

HUNTINGTON BEACH MALL [site now BELLA TERRA MALL]. One of So-Cal's first enclosed malls. Opened in 1966. Its original anchor was The Broadway. There was also a Montgomery Ward on the west end of the mall. A J.C. Penney was added (in a northwest wing) in 198???. What I need to know is, what retailer occupied the anchor store at the EAST end of the mall (toward Beach Blvd.)?

I am also in need of details about the following "mid cen" malls in Cincinnati, Ohio;

SWIFTON CENTER [1956]. Its 1950's & 1960's anchor stores?

WESTERN WOODS MALL [1963]. Was it open-air when built, or always an enclosed mall?

BEECHMONT MALL [1969]. Its original anchor stores.....Shillito's, ??? and ???.

Lastly, details about Baltimore's HARUNDALE MALL would really help me out in my endeavor to chronicle the early years of these (and other) mid- century shopping centers, before so many years have passed that no one can remember them in their original incarnations.

Thanks for reading, gals & guys........

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Postby egads » Sat Oct 28, 2006 11:16 pm

Well I grew up in Huntington Beach. The store at the east end, close to Beach Blvd was always a Broadway. At the center, opposite the added J C Penny was a large statue of a archer.

Lakewood center has been so completely reconfigured it's hard to say what was where. I'm pretty sure the May Company was always the big store in the middle. In the corner by Del Amo & Clark (where the supermarket & Home Depot is now was a beautiful Bullock's. The main level had solid rubber tile. On the fourth floor where the tea room was, in the end was an area called "grand finale" Long Beach also had a home grown dept store with several outlets called Buffum's. It's quite likely there was one at Lakewood.

Don't forget Bullock's Fashion Square in Santa Ana. When built, it was quite small, just Bullocks as an anchor. But a garden paradise. The parking lot was full of trees and the Bullock's entrances where deep set behind the facade. There where espalier trees on the side walls. I miss Bullock's and Robinson's too. Quality& Service Sadly lacking in todays all Macy's all the time. What kind of company is stupid enough to close the downtown Chicago Marshall Fields just to rebrand it?

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Postby r'n'r_beautyqueen » Sun Oct 29, 2006 12:32 am

Also check out this thread we had before


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Postby Mid Century Mod » Sun Oct 29, 2006 7:52 am

Thanks so much for the input Egads.

I did a bit of web browsing on the former SANTA ANA FASHION SQUARE. It would, indeed, make a great addition to my Mall Hall Of Fame blog. By the way, if you ever visit the Malls Of America blogspot, there is an ultra cool postcard pic of a Googie-era fountain that used to be at SAFS.

As for LAKEWOOD, it surely has been through many mutation/renovations over the past fifty-four years. I have never been to this mall, but hope to visit it in the near future. Of course, it will be nothing like being back in 1960-sum, and seeing the beautiful (then, new) Bullock's.

Lastly, I suppose that we nostalgia-minded folk will never be able to think very positively about the Macy's coast-to-coast, regional department store buy-outs. Yup.......no more Marshall Field's. No more Rich's (in Atlanta), no more May Company.......

They are, by now "America's Department Store" (prolly because there aren't many other ones left).

So much for "progress".

And, thanks R'N'R Beauty Queen for the link to the LL discussion on So-Cal's 20th century department stores. That was an interesting thread.

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Postby wallcrawlr » Sun Oct 29, 2006 8:29 am

Apache Plaza in St. Anthony Village, MN


(the mall was just leveled a couple years ago)

It was a great classic mall.

opening day 10/06/61
http://apacheplaza.com/apachehistory3.html

that site has lots of news/info


had to include one of the Captain. :wink:

Image

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Classic Apache Plaza:

Postby Mid Century Mod » Sun Oct 29, 2006 3:09 pm

Yup, indeedy, Wallcrawlr, Apache P. was one helluva "Googie Mall". I have seen several gorgeous pics of it, and been to the website.

I could put together an article about it for the Mall Hall Of Fame blog...it CERTAINLY is deserving of a spot there. Being as how it no longer exists, this is even more incentive for me to do so. :D

I only hope that I could find out at least a few details about it that are not in any other internet descriptions (websites, blogs, etcetera). I don't want for the Mall Hall Of Fame to just be a tee-total rehash of information available someplace else on the web. We shall see........

Btw, has anybody from here visited the Mall Hall Of Fame Blog yet? It appears that it is something of a "dead" mall-oriented website. I am hoping to see at least a comment or two on there soon. I'd hate for all of the very hard work I have done "building" the thing to go completely unnoticed....... :(

Cheers,

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Postby BOXOUTBM » Mon Oct 30, 2006 7:47 am

I also Grew up in Huntington Beach (70's though 2000) and Agree with Egads on this. Huntington Center was very small (One long Hall) and it was flanked with Montgomery Wards, JC Penny, and Broadway.

Westminsiter Mall (Not Sure when it was built) has some interesting details on the Sears end of the Mall.

Fashion Island in Newport Beach has some interesting details. Robinson's has some really Great Pillars at both entrances

South Coast Plaza (Sears End) is also interesting

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Kinda Confused About The Layout Of Huntington Beach Mall:

Postby Mid Century Mod » Mon Oct 30, 2006 10:45 am

Boxoutbm,

First off, thanks for the HUNTINGTON BEACH (and other) MALL musings.

I gotta say that I am getting more and more confused about the physical layout of the old HUNTINGTON BEACH MALL. I have posted requests for rememberings -about the anchor store orientations of the old mall- on a few other message boards, and am getting some conflicting info.

Checking a US Geological Survey map (from July of 1979), I see that the original shopping center included only two anchor stores.....the one at the west end of the mall concourse, near Gothard Street (a Montgomery Ward??), and the main mall anchor store (pretty much at the center of the center) which -I thought- was occupied by The Broadway.

Consulting an article from the OC Metro magazine, it says (in essence) that the present-day Kohl's is in the actual store once occupied by The Broadway. Looking at a store map of the new BELLA TERRA MALL (built at the site of the old HBM), the Kohl's does appear to be in the same store once (according to the article) occupied by The Broadway. Maybe this article is incorrect..I dunno.

The anchor store at the east (Beach Blvd.) end of the old mall (a J.C. Penney??) was apparently torn down. The old anchor store at the west end of the mall (near Gothard Street), once a Montgomery Ward (??), is apparently still standing, but, thus far, has not been leased to a new tenant....or so the OC article sez.

Looking at old (circa-1990's) aerial photos of HUNTINGTON BEACH MALL, it looks like a fourth anchor store was added to the northwest of the original mall (this, probably in the 1980's). This was eventually occupied by Burlington Coat Factory....and still is in the new BELLA TERRA MALL. I was hoping to find out what retailer would have been in this location before Burlington moved in.

I hope that this is not getting you all as befuddled as I am, hee hee.

If you would like to see a physical drawing of what -I thought- was the orientation of the old mall, please go to my Mall Hall Of Fame (on Blogger.com) and look up the article and mall plan drawing of the Huntington Beach Mall. It might make this all a bit easier to decipher.

Again, thanks so much for your input and mall musings here.

Have a great week.

Cheers,

Mid Century Mod

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Postby egads » Mon Oct 30, 2006 11:34 am


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My 2 cents.....

Postby modfan » Mon Oct 30, 2006 2:03 pm


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Postby SpudGirl » Mon Oct 30, 2006 6:28 pm

The Mervyn's addition to the Huntington Center came in the 80's, and it created another leg of the mall, so the layout was more of a backwards L.

The Westminster Mall started with a Sears, Robinsons, May Co., and Buffums. The Buffums went out of business in the 80's and sat empty for a long time. When Robinsons and May Co. merged, they closed down the Robinsons store, kept the original May Co, and made the Buffums into a Robinsons May Home Store. Penney's moved into the old Robinsons and Macy's moved into the old Buffums/Robinsons May Home Store.

I knew bother of these malls well, since I grew up right between both of them on the border of Westminster and Huntington Beach.

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NEW & improved Huntington Beach Mall "mall map"

Postby Mid Century Mod » Tue Oct 31, 2006 8:28 am

First off, I would like to thank each & everyone who contributed information to this thread concerning So-Cal's "classic era" shopping malls. Your input has been INVALUABLE to me in my quest to compose a correct and accurate "Mall Hall Of Fame Blogspot" article about the HUNTINGTON BEACH MALL.

My confusion about the orientation of anchor stores in HBM has been completely cleared up by the information that all of you have so graciously provided.

So.........here is a link to the latest, revised, "mall map". If you will, please click on it, take a look, and tell me if ANYTHING is incorrect.

Image

I am also going to cut & paste the "new & improved" HUNTINGTON BEACH MALL article, that I have written for the Mall Hall Of Fame Blogspot; this using info provided by "Egads", "Spud Girl" and "Boxoutbm".

Again, please peruse, if you will, and indicate if you see ANYTHING that is not accurate......

*********************

HUNTINGTON BEACH MALL
Edinger Avenue and Beach Boulevard
Huntington Beach, California

One of the first enclosed shopping malls in Metropolitan Los Angeles opened in the Orange County suburb of Huntington Beach in 1965. HUNTINGTON BEACH MALL was built on a sixty-three acre tract, which was adjacent to an interchange with a newly-opened segment of the San Diego Freeway. The mall was originally anchored by a branch of Los Angeles-based The Broadway, and Montgomery Ward. A J.C. Penney was eventually added at the midpoint of the mall. This store faced a main court area that had a statue of an archer at its center.

A northwest wing was built in the 1980's. This included a branch of the Hayward, California-based Mervyn's chain, and several new stores. However, by the early-1990's, the mall was going under. The J.C. Penney relocated to another shopping center in the area, and the Montgomery Ward closed. The Broadway store folded in 1996. The mall was left virtually vacant, as tenants and customers had moved on to newer and more trendy retail complexes, such as WESTMINSTER MALL and SOUTH COAST PLAZA.

A 170 million dollar "wrecking ball renovation" at HUNTINGTON BEACH MALL got underway in late 2003. Most of the existing mall was razed, with the four anchor department stores, and an outparcel structure to the east, left standing. Ground was broken in April 2004 for a new, open-air shopping center, with upscale retail spaces and restaurants, and a 5,000 seat -20 screen- multiplex cinema. A six-level, 1,500 space, parking garage was also built at the north end of the site.

Rechristened BELLA TERRA MALL, its grand opening was held in September 2006. The anchors of this new lifestyle center are Mervyn's and Burlington Coat Factory (holdovers from the original mall), a branch of the Wisconsin-based Kohl's chain, Barnes and Noble, Circuit City and REI. The shopping center is operated by San Jose-based D.J.M. Capital Partners.

SOURCES:

LottaLiving website / Favorite Building Forum / Contributors: "Egads", "Spud Girl", and "Boxoutbm"
Belle Of The Malls: Huntington Beach Mall Reborn As Tuscan-inspired Lifestyle Center"/ Melissa Adams / OC Metro Magazine / "Retail" / February 16, 2006
www.ci.huntington-beach.ca.us
"Dennismpat" / Los Angeles City Forum / City-Data.com
djmcapital.com
"The Broadway" article on Wikipedia
"Mervyn's" article on Wikipedia


OHHH, one more thing......was there any special significance to the archer statue that graced the central court area of the old HUNTINGTON BEACH MALL? I mean, did it have some special connection to So-Cal, Orange County, or the city of Huntington Beach?

Just wondering.

Cheers,

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Postby nichols » Tue Oct 31, 2006 11:24 am

Image
I wish to give a hearty plug to the once spectacular EASTLAND shopping center (1957, A.C. Martin & Assoc.) in West Covina. Absolutely incredible in it's day.
Image
http://www.charlesphoenix.com/2004-01-08/

Originally nchored by a 5-level May Co. store and discounter WT Grant, it also featured the amazing Huddle Coffee Shop in the parking lot.
http://65.254.59.194/~vstapf/huddle/HWC01.htm

LA TV Personality Coach Clayton at the Eastland May Co., 1968
Image
http://latvlegends.com/Mudturtle/MudTurtle.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Westfield_Eastland#History

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Postby egads » Tue Oct 31, 2006 12:21 pm

"OHHH, one more thing......was there any special significance to the archer statue that graced the central court area of the old HUNTINGTON BEACH MALL? I mean, did it have some special connection to So-Cal, Orange County, or the city of Huntington Beach?"

None what so ever. It was quite large, like 20-30 ft long and about 8-10 ft high. Set in a large planter in the center area. Unceremoniously sold off at some point. There is a HB historical society based at the Newland house. I bet someone there could nail down some dates, the sculptor and such. Also check through stories in the local papers. There is the Independant, The Huntington Beach News, the orange county edition of the California section of the Los Angeles Times and the Register. I remember some history in the articles about Bella Terra.

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Eastland Center / LA's First Malls:

Postby Mid Century Mod » Tue Oct 31, 2006 6:08 pm

Yup indeed, NICHOLS, Eastland Center certainly does deserve a hearty plug. The pic of that May Company looks quite awesome.....why can't they build "googie" malls anymore?

The L.A. metro had so many incredible shopping malls -even in the 1950's- that I don't know if I could ever do each and every one of them true justice (by trying to put together articles -for ALL of them- for the Mall Hall Of Fame).

It would take some time, but it sure would be interesting!

As a starting point, I started a (very tentative at this time) list.....the working title being "LA's First Shopping Malls". Thus far, here is what I have.......

[the three indicated with asterisk have articles on the Mall Hall Of Fame]


*1. BROADWAY-CRENSHAW CENTER -1947 [originally a regional strip center, enclosed & malled in late 1980's] Now known as BALDWIN HILLS-CRENSHAW PLAZA (Baldwin Hills-LA)

2. VALLEY PLAZA - 1951 [built open-air] (San Fernando Valley-LA)

*3. LAKEWOOD CENTER - 1952 [built open-air, enclosed early 80's] (Lakewood)

4. BROADWAY - ANAHIEM PLAZA - 1955 [built open-air] (Anahiem-Orange County)

5. EASTLAND CENTER - 1957-1997 [built open air] (West Covina) [replaced by power center]

5. SANTA ANA FASHION SQUARE - 1958-1986 [open-air plaza] (Santa Ana-Orange County) / New enclosed mall built onto existing (circa 1954) Bullock's department store. Opened 1987. Now know as MAIN PLACE MALL (Westfield)

5. STONEWOOD CENTER -1958 [built open-air] (Downey)

6. WHITWOOD SHOPPING CENTER - 1958 [built open-air] (Whittier)

7. DEL AMO SHOPPING CENTER - 1958 [built open-air ?] / merged with DEL AMO FASHION CENTER - 1970

8. SHERMAN OAKS FASHION SQUARE - 1962 [built open-air ?] (Sherman Oaks-LA)

9. FALLBROOK MALL - 1964 [built open-air] (West Hills)

10. CENTURY CITY SHOPPING CENTER- 1964 [built open-air] (Century City)

11. TOPANGA PLAZA - 1964 [built enclosed / LA's first enclosed shopping mall] (Canoga Park-LA)

*12. HUNTINGTON BEACH MALL - 1965-2003 [built enclosed] (Huntington Beach-Orange County) [replaced by BELLA TERRA lifestyle center]

I would imagine that this chronological listing (covering 1952 to 1965) is quite incomplete. Metro-LA prolly had over twenty shopping malls by 1959......heaven only knows what the grand total of regional/super regional malls there are in the region now.

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Postby nichols » Wed Nov 01, 2006 12:24 pm

In the strictest sense, Eastland was not exactly "replaced" by that power mall..as much as it was absorbed by it. The sign tower (though altered) remains and the new stores were built around the shells of the old ones. So when the archeologists come... there might be tiny pieces of the old Eastland in there to excavate!

Your list is great. Poor Valley Plaza lasted well into the 1990s, but is almost completely overgrown with stucco and pediments and bad signage. Here she is in her Stiles O. Clements prime.
Image
(lapl)

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Valley Plaza

Postby Mid Century Mod » Thu Nov 02, 2006 6:11 am

That's a real cool (circa-early 50's) pic of the Sears at Valley Plaza, Nichols.

I would presume that none of the mid-century shopping centers on the "L.A.'s First Shopping Malls" list look anything at all like they did back in "the days".

Is there a more or less original -circa 50's/60's style- shopping center remaining ANYWHERE in the United States?

Maybe Rochester's MIDTOWN PLAZA would qualify ??

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Those Sears

Postby modfan » Thu Nov 02, 2006 8:01 am

I remember similar ones in the 'Pomona Valley Center' and 'Buena Park Center' now remodeled beyond recognition and some are not even Sears anymore.

Add to that list from what I can remember: (Some may be to late for the time period referenced or may not be considered large malls or are too recent?)
Pomona Valley Center
Buena Park Center
Montclair Plaza
Inland Center Mall
Glendale Galleria
West Covina Fashion Plaza
Puente Hills Mall
Riverside Plaza?
Brea Mall
Los Cerritos Center
Long Beach Plaza
Hawthorne Plaza
Fox Hills Mall
Beverly Center
Montebello Town Center
The Quad (Whittier)
The Esplanade (Oxnard)
The Oaks (1000 Oaks)
Topanga Plaza
Desert Fashion Plaza? (Palm Springs)
Palm Desert Town Center
Indio Mall
Eagle Rock Plaza
Tyler Mall
Plaza Camino Real
Grossmont Plaza
Parkway Mall (El Cajon)
Mission Valley Center
Wasn't there a also a Valley Plaza in Bakersfield?

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Postby nichols » Thu Nov 02, 2006 12:10 pm

Edgewood Shopping Center
Palo Alto, CA
Image
(photo by Adriene Biondo)

http://www.recentpast.org/types/shopcen ... index.html

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Postby SpudGirl » Thu Nov 02, 2006 6:02 pm

The Center City Mall/Carousel Mall in San Bernardino is on the chopping block to make way for a "live/work/entertainment" community. It has some really great details still, and has that "late 60's/early 70's" vibe to it. I think the only thing that wont be torn down will be the old Harris building, which is a designated landmark, from what I understand.

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"Late 60's/Early 70's" Vibe

Postby Mid Century Mod » Thu Nov 02, 2006 8:59 pm

That reference in SpudGirl's post about the Center City/Carousel Mall in "San Berdoo" got me to thinking about something (again).....

It has been established that the space-age design aesthetic, in vogue between 1950 and 1965, is now known as "Googie" (I think that the old classification, "Populuxe" is rather archaic now?).

Anyway.......it is said that Googie's last gasp was in the form of pavilions and structures at the '64-'65 New York World's Fair. After this....it kinda morphed into something else.....??

Have they coined a retro term yet for this "Post Populuxe" architecture and design? Wouldn't one of these "Late 60's/early 70's" malls have been designed in this style (whatever it is/was)?

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The Central City Mall/Carousel Mall

Postby scottkaycee » Thu Nov 02, 2006 9:23 pm

This Mall was laid out in the mid 60's but being a government/city owned project it didnt get finished til 1972 I believe. That it has always been owned by the city is probably the cause for so much of the original detail to be intact. In 1990-91 it underwent a minor remodeling consisting of a name change and new paint scheme, addition of a carousel and carousel themed art. Other than that it is intact to 1972. Recently the city has beem leasing the abandoned storefronts to office tennants and little by little the footprint of the Mall itself has been filled in with office space. Some of the original details are Courts with actual ceilings supported by giant glu lam beams(painted chocolate brown, may be boxed in steel members), no space frame skylights, honest to god accoustic tile ceilings and clerestory windows. Plus each of the two courts has an abstract modernist clock. The development was planned by Victor Gruen and associates and included a massive redevelopment including a city hall/convention hall connected via a skyway overpass to the mall, all gestures more suited to a much larger city. The scent of death is in the air for this place come see it while you still can, oh and for those looking for a somewhat intact 50's mall check out the Mission Valley Center in San Diego, while extensively renovated it still is open air, still has the low flat roofed arcades and a beautiful Macy's(former May Co.? or Robinson's) You have to squint but the bones are still here beneath a Theme Parkish layer added by Westfield?
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Postby Synthetrix » Fri Nov 03, 2006 12:03 am

Synthetrix Photos of the Forgotten
http://photosoftheforgotten.synthetrix.com/

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Postby scottkaycee » Sat Nov 04, 2006 9:38 am

What is the source for that May Co. pic? IS it possible to get a clearer shot?

That Building was fantastic, while they built on top of most of the Mall I think the Big M was razed to the ground for the Target, which seems a waste given what they acomplished in Pasadena. There are other remnants od Eastland besides the remodeled sign tower and that is the Palos Verde Stone retaining walls that are still visible.

By fluke I went to Eastland on the day that The Big Boy Jr. closed(thge Big Boy was intatc) but the rest was a pretty sad sight and had already been remuddled beyond it's original glory.
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Bergen Mall

Postby djberson » Thu Nov 09, 2006 8:33 pm


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Postby nichols » Thu Nov 09, 2006 10:21 pm


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Postby nichols » Thu Nov 09, 2006 10:23 pm

Is this the Topanga Plaza?

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(© California State University, Northridge 2006)

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Fallbrook Center

Postby Mid Century Mod » Fri Nov 10, 2006 12:16 am

Nichols,

That's a neat ad there.

This "PLATT RANCH CENTER" shopping center isn't TOPANGA PLAZA, though, it's what came to be known as FALLBROOK CENTER. It was an open-air mall, built two mile's west of TOPANGA PLAZA, at the intersection of Victory Boulevard and Fallbrook Avenue.

This is in the West Hills area of Los Angeles' San Fernando Valley.

The mall opened the same year as TOPANGA PLAZA.......1964. It was enclosed in 1985, and then de-malled (into an open-air power center) in 2002.

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Postby classicsat » Sun Nov 12, 2006 7:38 pm

New York - Leeds- Los Angeles - San Francisco - Toronto
Wherever Google Earth takes me.

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Del Amo Fashion Center

Postby lorz » Mon Nov 13, 2006 3:30 pm

This is in reference to this mall's mention in a list above thread.

I grew up near this mall, and my mother says I took my first steps in the open-air section, which must have been 1963. I don't know when this original section was built, but it had a Broadway and a Sears.

Sometime in the late 60's, Bullocks and I.Magnin were built across the street, with a short strip of shops between. These shops had outdoor access.

Then the Mother Ship was built around 1971. The Del Amo Mall. It was enclosed, and started with Bullocks, turned the corner at I.Magnin, continued up to a mall center (where they had Santa and models, etc). The anchor store at that center was a bright blue Orbachs.

An escalator at that point divided the mall into two stories, where you could continue east to Montgomery Wards. At that end was a giant mural of hippies, gazing down onto a silver domed fountain. It was gorgeous. A movie theatre was on the top floor, along with a Woolworth's, and a Pickwick Bookstore, which moved to the escalator area in 1978 and became B. Dalton (where I worked from 1978 - 1981).

In the 80's, they had the much celebrated "marriage of the malls," where they enclosed the old open-air section, built a Robinsons, and built a connecting mall section that went over Carson Street. The place was huge.

I don't live there anymore, but apparently, the entire place has been overhauled and has lost its charm.


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