Friday, November 03, 2006

Vintage Postcards: Eastridge Mall in San Jose


Wow... another postcard of the grand Eastridge Mall in San Jose. Can we get enough? You may be able to understand the massiveness of this mall with this picture. The center court was (and still is) enormous. A lot of floor space with wide-open spaces. In those days, they filled open spaces with gracious fountains and elegant sculptures. Or, in the case of Eastridge, sculptures IN fountains.

In the background, you can see Liberty House, which is now gone. Replaced by Emporium-Capwell, it was shuttered when Federated purchased the chain. Sitting vacant for a number of years, the building was torn down to make way for a mall addition.

The back of the card reads: "Eastridge Shopping Center, the largest in the West, is a shopper's paradise, comprising over 160 shops and four major department stores under one roof. The three climate controlled levels are unique in their bold design. Capitol Expressway, Tully and Quimby Roads, San Jose, California."

Enjoy!
Scott

See more photos that'll make you say "oh, snap!"

Read my Guide to Eastridge Mall

Visit the current Website.

See the aerial view.

37 comments:

dean said...

Wow...seating pits, fountains, modern sculpture, tubular chrome light fixtures.....and look at all those steps!!!!! One thing that amazed me about Eastridge is how many steps and levels they incorporated into the design. Walking up towards Liberty House or Sears was like hiking up into small canyons.....all very cool. How they ever decided to build so many levels on the flat east side of San Jose is beyond me. Fortunately for those on the upper walkways, it was a masterpiece of geometry to look down upon.

Eastridge was also the place where one could get up close and personal with contemporary art. The "seating pit", that popular icon of the 70's, was not only a cozy place to share with complete strangers, it also usually included a 30 ft high mass of crafted steel to get acquainted with. Somehow this became a signature of Taubman's malls and although I cannot say the seating pits were successful from a sociological, or even practical point of view, they were very cool nonetheless, and later included planters to soften them. The seating pits at Eastridge are long gone, and now Stoneridge is tearing theirs out for new "upscale seating". I haven't been to Hilltop in a while, but that might be the only hope for contemporaty 70's mall seating in the San Francisco region.

Steven Wilson said...

This is a great photo of the Eastridge grand court. It makes me wish that it was still like this today. Thanks for the link to my site.

The randomness of all the steps looks very cool, but it was probably an insurance nightmare. I wouldn't be surprised if there were a lot of falls. I believe that today, handrails may be required for all steps like that.

The changes in elevation of the mall's levels had nothing to do with the topography of the building site. These were created deliberately as part of the formula for inserting the middle level along two sides of the grand court. The upper and lower levels at the Sears end were intentionally set higher than the upper and lower levels at the JCPenney end. At the grand court, the middle level was inserted on two sides and it played a role in the transition of the upper and lower levels between Sears and JCPenney. It was done in a similar manner at Woodfield, too. Only in that case, the JCPenney wing was higher and the Sears wing was lower.

dean said...

Yes, it's very likely that one could not do steps like this today -- not only for the issues of having the proper handrails, but also because of the Americans With Disabilities Act which requires equal experiences for both ambulatory and nonambulatory people. Thus it's considered discriminatory to put in steps for the sake of creating a varied and interesting environment because persons with disabilities might not be able to enjoy it.

With all that said - take a second look at the photo. There was a lot of care put in to using different colored tile to make the steps very distinguishable so that patrons would not fall on them. I don't ever remember the steps being problematic for any reason other than they could tire out shoppers and distract them from looking into the stores.

One of these days I'll have to get to Woodfield.

BIGMallrat said...

I always hated those damn stairs. Meadowood Mall in Reno did the same thing.
Eastridge did put in a series of ramps to comply with the ADA. However, the stairs are still there! In fact, there is a set of stairs on the second level from the center court towards Penney's. Those are new because of the removal of the mysterious middle level.
Scott

Steven Wilson said...

Scott,

We were referring to the steps that are all over the floor of the lower level, particularly as seen in the photo going from the fountain sculpture back to Liberty House. While lovely to look at, those steps occur at random intervals and angles and surely were problematic to one degree or another. If you look closely near the Liberty House, you'll even see a set of steps with a small ramp through the middle -- all with no handrails. Although I haven't been to Eastridge in over a year, I'm fairly certain that these steps have all been taken out. That's not to say that all stairs are gone. Obviously, there are still stairs at Eastridge, but not the sea of random steps that are seen in this photo.

On another topic, does anyone have old Eastridge directories from the original Taubman era? I don't recall if I've ever seen the original Eastridge logo or not. It would also be interesting to see the list of tenants. Does anyone know what that store is on the lower level, two floors below Jarman and directly below what appears to be Eastpoint Imports? What is the tenant to the right of Eastpoint Imports on the middle level?

BIGMallrat said...

The stairs are willy-nilly in this photo. Definitely more than are there now. One thing everyone in my party commented about: The stairs. No one liked them.
Compared to what it used to be like, it's a lot flatter... the stairs are grouped together now. But, they still have them in unusual places and a number of sets that makes it weird. I couldn't imagine it any worse!
The store two down from Jarman? I blew up the picture and could make out "The V--- Two"
Sound familiar?
Scott

BIGMallrat said...

Well, I think that store is "The Wax Tree." That second word is definitely "wax" and it makes sense with the honeycombs. It looks as if they sell candles... or jewellery. Makes more sense to sell jewellery with that name, but who knows.
Scott

Anonymous said...

The pictures capture that era in retail perfectly. All the right stores and design elements are there.

Steven Wilson said...

Scott,

Good work. Thanks. I wonder if The Wax Tree might have been a candle shop, something like Wicks 'n' Sticks. Okay, so what's the tenant to the right of the Eastpoint Imports on the middle level? My guess is that it's some kind of restaurant.

dean said...

I wish I could find my old store directory. The logo for Eastridge was a sreies of lowercase "e"'s arranged in a circle - very similar to the logos of other Taubman malls.

I talked it over with a friend and we think the restaurant on the mid level with the striped awnings was a Farrell's Ice Cream Parlour. Above that on the top level is the World's Fare Restaurant which was like a food court. Bottom level with the white windows is See's Candies.

BIGMallrat said...

It's Farrell's. 395 Eastridge Mall. Check out Farrell's Zone.
Here I was trying to figure out the store between Farrell's and Eastpointe. Petite Sophistocate? :)
Scott

dean said...

It's funny these things pop back into my mind....but wasn't there a Motherhood Maternity store in that area??

Steven Wilson said...

Are you sure that it's Farrell's? They usually went for locations next to mall entrances so that they had easier external access. A friend of mine knew the Eastridge Farrell's very well. I'll ask him where it was located for confirmation.

Between The Wax Tree and See's Candies is Albert's Hosiery. Never had reason to go inside one, but I know that at one time they had three locations in Woodfield. Hot Sam pretzels also had three locations in Woodfield. Did any stores have multiple locations in Eastridge? I don't mean relocating from one space to another, but rather multiple locations that coexisted.

BIGMallrat said...

Well, 388 Eastridge Mall is the Todai, which is near the JC Penney entrance (with an outside exposure). "TouchDown" is at 394 Eastridge Mall on the lower level between Macy's and Penney's. The address 395 doesn't exist anymore.
So, you got me!
It looked like a Farrell's to me... or TGIFriday's.
Scott

BIGMallrat said...

My source tells me the colors are wrong, it can't be Farrell's. She said it was pink, not red.
She thinks it was a burger place or Swenson's Ice Creamery.
Scott

Georob said...

My vote is that it was a clothing store. If it WAS a restaurant, the darkened lighting would indicate a fancier sitdown place to me. But like Farrell's, that type of tenant would have been at the outside of the mall.

But if it was a restaurant, it wouldn't surprise me. My parents and I drove all the way down from Richmond many times to visit Eastridge in the early 70's, and I remember seeing a lot of things that I'd never seen before.

Taubman obviously opted for a lot of experimentation at Eastridge, which was consistent with the fact that the San Jose area was often the "launching point" for many new retail concepts, largely becuase of available land. In fact, I remember a small shop(I think on the middle level) that was a combination Far east gift shop with a small tea and sandwich shop attached. That was wild, though it didn't last long. Anyone remember that?

BTW, what did they do with the middle level in the renovation? Did they knock it out and combine it either the upper or lower levels, or does it still exist and just hidden and closed off?

If I recall, the Eastridge JC Penney was the last Bay Area store that opened with the 60's era "Penneys" logo. J.C. Penney himself died not too long after that and I think that's when they switched back to using the "JC", possibly as a tribute.

dean said...

Sory about the Farrell's confusion. I saw the striped awnings and thought of TGI Friday's, but I remember only going to them first at Valco. Farrell's seemed like a good guess, but it does make a lot more sense that they would want to locate near one of the entrances. Perhaps it was a clothing store? I notice in the pics at GreatAmericaParks.com that the space was also (later?) occupied by a Wherehouse record store.

Steven Wilson said...

I have only been to Eastridge once since the middle level elimination was completed. They achieved this mainly by raising the floor of the lower level in most of the middle level areas. Then, the lower level was adjusted -- heightened a bit -- to fit just under the upper level. To visualize this, look at the higher elevations of the lower level's floor in this post's photo on the right in the background towards Liberty House. Picture now making the floor in this entire view all at that same elevation. Then raise the lower level in the three-level section on the left up to the higher lower-level floor and extend the storefronts up to just under the upper level and you've made the middle level vanish.

BIGMallrat said...

Someone suggested Brumbleberry's Pies. We blew up the photo and there looks to be large horizontal cabinets (lighted). They look like they would hold ice cream or pies. We also discovered TGIFriday's has stripes on a 45 degree angle, so that is out.
The mystery goes on.
Scott

Steven Wilson said...

I have the answers. The middle level tenant in question was called Le Petit Cafe. Between Eastpoint Imports and Le Petit Cafe was Motherhood Maternity. On the lower level, The Wax Tree was indeed a candle shop.

dean said...

Whew! At least I got the Motherhood Maternity correct. ;)

I looked up the location of Todai and now realize that's where Farrell's was located. I think we even ate there once at my insistence -- upper level, near Penney's, on the south entrance to the mall. Too bad they are not still around. It's interesting how Friday's is doing so well on a similar concept.

I only remember the Bumbleberry's that was located in Fremont...lots of purple decor to say the least. Not sure there was one in Eastridge.

I noticed in the pics at Steve's site that there was also a Tiffany's at Eastridge which I absolutely have no recollection of. I noticed there was one in the old pics of Northridge Mall as well. Anyone have any insight into what Tiffany's was??

Alas, I'll have to take a drive down to Eastridge sometime soon to figure out what they have turned the place into. The last time I was there was just before the remodeling. Judging by the lease plan, the upper level has a strange dead end on the south side that used to be the Liberty House wing. Doesn't look like good mall design, but I'll have to see what it's like in person.

I also read that the AMC theaters (that were supposed to go in the demolished Liberty House spot) were built instead over by Sears because the approach to the Reid-Hillview airport imposed restrictions. I assume these are the same restrictions that caused Taubman to throw up their hands on the property.

Steven Wilson said...

To see a vintage ad for Eastridge that includes the original logo, take a look at this early Eastridge ad. In the Taubman tradition, the logo was a repetition of the first letter of the center's name. In this example, a lowercase "e" was spun around into a flower-like shape. Interestingly, there are two rings of e's. The e's on the inner ring are more open than those on the outer ring. I wonder why it was done that way.

@Dean: Tiffany's was a chain of bakeries that were found in malls nationwide. They seemed to be everywhere and suddenly they were nowhere. I don't know if any remain, but I haven't seen one in more than ten years.

Evie said...

Thanks for all the memories. I used to work at The Chainery during the late 80's which was also located in that area of the mall. I can remember some of the stores in the grand court area included Albert's Hosiery, Floresheim Thayer McNeil, Kays Jewelers, Wicks & Sticks, Deck The Walls, Petries, and Petries Plus, Size 5-7-9, A Hirsh And Son, La Petite Boulangerie, Payless ShoeSource, and my favorite THE BIG WIG. This was during the the late 80's. I may have a directory lying around as this was my favorite mall back then.

DaveInVisalia said...

There was a Bumbleberrys in the Eastridge mall in the early 70's. I worked there for a few years while in high school. It was mid level, in the North-West wing, under the record store and the GAP. It was a fun place to work. We used to throw a frisbee around out around the fountain when the mall was closed, until security would kick us out.

Cindy said...

THANK YOU SO MUCH! I have been trying to remember the name of the purple pie place I used to visit as a kid. All I could think of was The Purple Pie Man but that wasn't right. I loved all the purple in that place as a little girl.

Anonymous said...

I worked at Tiffany's Bakery from 1972 to 1973 there was a Peperage Farms across from us at that time
I'd take a fresh loaf of french bread over to trade for some summer sausage. I was sitting on the roof of sears eating my summer sausage lunch when a small plane comming in for a landing at Ried hill view airport wheel clipped the top of the building flipped and skidded upside down on the roof
noone was hurt and I was outa there in a hurry.

TONIA said...

CAN SOMEONE PLEASE HELP!!! I have been trying to remember the name of a store that use to be at Eastridge mall in San Jose, CA in around 1985-1988. It use to be next to Judy's I believe. I was 16 at the time. It was a girls store and it had kind of a punk vibe, kind of like a Madonna look/vibe. The clothing and accessories you could see Madonna wearing and shopping there. I keep thinking it starts with a V but I just cant remember, it may not even start with a V. I use to shop there all of the time. If anyone knows the name PLEASE PLEASE TELL ME.
Thank you,
Desperately Seeking Tonia

Anonymous said...

I think it might have been Express
the department store that was close to Judy's. Does anyone else remember if Express was there around 1984-87?

Anonymous said...

I think I remember something about reading where a small private plane lost power and had to land on the Mall Roof, and crashed in to Farrells Ice cream Parlour. But hey what do I know....I've slept since then... But it was a cool mall

Anonymous said...

Tonia, there was a punk-ish store called Nobbi or Nobby that was there briefly; I remember they had cool stuff but I think they went away pretty fast. This was 1984-85.

Anonymous said...

Roof crash was Eastridge. Farrell's crash was in Sacramento.

Tree said...

I talk about Eastridge Mall of the time. I moved from San Jose in 1976, however we went to Eastridge every Saturday morning since it opened. That was when kids could go to the mall without parents...there were at least 6 of us. I remember going thru Sears and acting that the furniture was mine, picked out an entire interior of my home there...in my mind of course! I was ages 5-8. I remember Farrell's, it had my favorite ROCK CANDY, Giant Jaw Breakers and very large swirled suckers. I had my 5th birthday party there. There was also a toy store there that I used to buy Pop Rocks, Sugar babies and the little parachute men (strings and piece of plastic strapped to their backs) ..those went off the balconies into the water fountains...along with pennies..sorry if you were the recipient that got hit...heehehee
Seems to me..Farrell's was on the side of the mall. See's candies are still a household favorite..we have that in kiosks in the malls here in Minnesota. Yes..we have the Mall of American and yes it's HUGE...but when you are small child that was wowed by the biggest mall in the West, the MOA wasn't so big...though I know it is...very impressive. My childhood memories are always with Eastridge and Woolworth's MALTS!!!! yum...great, fun memories with my brothers...btw I had a no boys 5th birthday...they were aloud though cuz they didn't count. Thanks for reading my memories of ERM...

Anonymous said...

There was a popcorn shop there in the mid 80's. Does anyone remember what the name was? I remember that it was located on the third floor above the McDonald's. They sold all types of flavored popcorn.

Chuck Stutz said...

Albert's Hosiery had two locations and Farrell's was located lower level at the mall entrance near Penney's

Chuck Stutz said...

It was called Le Petit Cafe

Dee said...

I think the candy store was MacFarlands, and the candle store was awesome! Used to go there as a kid, they had ice cream sundae dishes with wax that looked just like scoops of ice cream...and I loved Shirtique--custom iron on shirts while you waited

Dee said...

And the restaurant was Bumbleberry's, pink and purple decor