Thursday, July 20, 2006

Broadway Plaza Walnut Creek Memories

Here's one for the memory files. A postcard showing Broadway Plaza and downtown Walnut Creek. I very nearly didn't recognize it myself.

It features a Safeway Foods, H.C. Capwell's department store (now Macy's) and a small collection of mostly downtown-looking retailers. The postcard is postmarked May 1970.

A few things have changed since then, most notable, much of Walnut Creek! It looks nearly rural here. Now it's very urban, built up, and hordes of traffic.

Safeway was torn down and replaced by a bank. The Nordstrom building isn't even there. That was added later when Bullock's joined the shopping center. The parking garage in the photo was replaced with a taller structure. And finally, the back of the shopping center was paved over with a multi-story parking garage. An entire transformation from sleepy downtown Walnut Creek to uber-chic Broadway Plaza.
The back of the postcard reads "Aerial view of one of the many shopping centers of this bustling East Bay area."

Make a comparison by checking out the current aerial.

Visit my review of Broadway Plaza, with photos!


Steven Swain said...

That is one massive department store on the right. I guess that the Capwell's

Georob said...

There are A LOT of Broadway Plaza postcards from the 50's and 60's floating around if you check EBay.

On the upper(north) side of that picture is a Lucky supermarket. It was that building that was torn down for Bullocks and is where Nordstrom is today. David M Brian is in the old Penney's and the Crate & Barrel building was formerly Joseph Magnin and before that a Sears store, believe it or not.

Broadway Plaza has no doubt benefitted from being in a very affluent area. However, the strong sense of community in Walnut Creek may really be what has kept this center thriving. Between nearby Sunvalley and Stoneridge malls, this center could have easily rolled over and died a long time ago, but it didn't

BIGMallrat said...

Holy cow... someone remembers all that. I didn't know Joseph Magnin was ever in Walnut Creek. That's great info... thanks for contributing!

Anonymous said...

Hmmm... we moved to Orinda in 1956 and Broadway Plaza was our main shopping location (other than The City). I don't remember there being a Sears there, or a Safeway. There was definitely a Penney's-- one of the old-fashioned smallish downtown Penney's stores. I do have fond memories of the Compton's cafeteria connected to Capwell's. They had great custard in green stoneware cups. Amazing the stuff you remember from your childhood ...