Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Vintage Postcards: Stanford Shopping Center

Here's a beauty of early Stanford Shopping Center in Palo Alto. It shows the main walkway, with The Emporium to the immediate left (note the big "E").

The center is flanked with overhangs, tropical landscaping, and unique circular patterns in the concrete. Absent, it appears, is Macy's. That must have been added later (anyone know when that was added?)

The back of the postcard reads: "One of the San Francisco Peninsula's newest and most modern shopping centers adjacent to the Stanford University Campus."

The center remains one of the most popular in the region, but faces increased competition from Santana Row and Valley Fair. The Silicon Valley Business Times has reported that they are eyeing an expansion. With limited land and neighborhood concerns, I'd expect a creative solution.


Read my guide to Stanford Shopping Center

Visit the current Website.

See the aerial view.


Georob said...

Wikipedia says that Macys was added in '61. Somehow, the building looks newer than that, though it may have been renovated since.

But from the angle of that shot, I question if you could see Macys even if it WAS there, as the mall takes a jog to the left(south) before it would get to Macys. I suppose it would leave at least a big shadow in the picture, but maybe not.

Another item of note: The Emporium at Stanford(which is now Bloomingdales) was an exact replica of the Emporium at Stevens Creek(now part of Valley Fair) and the Capwells in El Cerrito(now demolished)

Having grown up at the El Cerrito Capwells, I can tell you that the first I time I set foot in the Stanford Emporium was quite strange, with the layouts and everything identical. But when I walked outside and didn't see the familiar El Cerrito Plaza shops, it was really jarring. Same with my first visit to the Stevens Creek store.

hushpuppy said...

Georob: I had the exact opposite feeling having grown up shopping at Stanford and then walking into the El Cerrito Capwell's for the first time.

I used to really liked the old Stanford Shopping Center. They had neat stores like Norney's (toys), Woolworth's, Joseph Magnin, Saks Fifth Avenue, Bullock's, and, of course, the Big E. For lunch there was Sandy's Coffee Shop, The Woodlands Restaurant, and, best of all, Blum's. Now it's very up-market and not nearly as much fun, IMHO

dean said...

Despite being a rather minimalist modern deign, it looks like it was a very comfortable mall to shop at during that time. I miss those cool "mushroom cap" landscape lights that used to be everywhere in those days.

Marty Weil said...

I'm glad you featured this ephemera. Old paper is often under-appreciated. I feature similar ephemera on my blog at

I enjoy your blog and thought this was a very cool post. Thanks for featuring it.

j7wb (at) said...


Do you happen to have any information about the Sunrise Mall in Citrus Heights, California? I am particularly interested in a sculpture that used to reside there in the 70's and early 80's It was a large steel sculpture. Most Sacramento area residents are familiar with it, as we all spent our youth climbing and playing on it, while Mom shopped.
I know this is an odd request, but I cannot seem to find any information about that mall (and the sculpture) from years ago.

Thank you,