Friday, May 09, 2008

Vintage Postcards: Sunvalley Mall Center Court

This postcard was a rare find! Showing the center court, complete with gold-topped information booth.

The shopping cart mystery continues! In the lower right of the picture shows a woman wheeling her cart, apparently shopping for children. Could this be the same cart as the one pictured in the exterior Penney's postcard posted earlier? Where did it come from and where is she going with it? Were shopping cards outside stores a cultural norm in the late 60s?

This postcard shows my favorite accoutrement of Sunvalley Mall, the giant light fixtures. Each bulb hosting a number of filaments to create a spectacular "explosion" of light. Bulbs similar to these can only be found today in the Princeton Plaza Mall in San Jose.

In the center rises giant metal "trees" from the lower level. Although it never dawned on me before, they look more like palm trees in this photo than they did in real life. Perhaps my perceptions have changed.

The back of the card reads "Over 120 stores are located on the two levels of the mammoth mall at Sun Valley, the world's largest enclosed, air-conditioned shopping center." The card was postally used and the author wrote "Mary, we should do this shopping center together some day! Spent 3 hours there Monday and hardly scratched the surface." Mary Carello of Syracuse, this blog post is for you.

Enjoy the card!
Read my guide to Sunvalley Mall

Visit the current Website.

See the aerial view.


Anonymous said...

Never saw a shopping cart in an enclosed mall. She's just using it to push the kid around. What's it say ? Thrifty Drug maybe.

dean said...

This is definitely Taubman trying to beat Victor Gruen at his own game. I liked it much better when Taubman developed his own style of shopping center -- hence places like Eastridge and Woodfield.

Those "trees" look almost like giant dandelions to me.

randy said...

The "trees" were "planted" in the fountain on the lower level. I remember enjoying dropping pennies into that, and another fountain in the Sears court that had a statue of what appeared to be that of a monk or a mission padre. The latter fountain was removed for the Emporium-Capwell construction, and the expanded lower level to Sears. The lower level originally ended between Sears and Macy's with United Sporting Goods (later Oshman's), which had a staircase to the upper level.

romleys said...

The cart is from the Bazar Discount Store located adjacent to the mall. One of the Sunvalley exterior postcards shows a few Bazar carts scattered around the parking lot.
(The true discount department store)

Georob said...

I'm wondering if the lady in the shopping cart was purposely put in there to sell SunValley as a "one-stop shopping center". I ask this because the Bazar building was(and still is) a detached structure separated from the mall by the parking structure on the north end of Penneys.

To get a shopping cart on the upper level(as depicted in the photo) would require walking all the way around that structure and entering the mall on the west side. That's a little bit of a hike for someone with a shopping cart(especially full of groceries)

A quicker way into the mall would be to enter Penneys lower level on the north side. But that would require using an elevator to somehow get that cart upstairs(Sunvalley did not have cart escalators) It just doesn't make sense.

The only other store in the mall I remember that used carts was Walgreens, but theirs were much smaller. Plus, in that other postcard you can clearly see that the cart is from Bazar. BTW, someone should check that photo to see if it's the same lady.

The Bazar store is now Mervyns and Longs Drugs. It was originally built for Lee's Value World(part of Lee Bros. market) and predated SunValley by at least a couple of years. In the 70's, I remember Rhodesway being in there briefly, but it's been Mervyns and Longs since the mid-80's at least.

Maxine Weiss said...

Leeds (Quali-craft). I wonder if they had a Thom McCann, and a C.H. Baker ????

Anonymous said...

About the shopping cart--my guess (and I think I'm right because I've been going there since the thing opened) is that it's from Walgreen's, the only store in the mall to have them. They didn't want you to leave with them but they ended up here and there.

It was an upper level store next to Sears and for years was one of the only stores where you could get into other than the Big 3 without going into the mall itself. Their carts were everywhere, and I think they may have been open odd hours that the mall was not (hence the exterior entrance).

James said...

The trees were in fact sculptures of giant dandelions. Ironically those giant light fixtures that they had in the central atrium and on the north side near JCPenney are really in style now.

Sadly in the last 7 years the management has given up on the mid to high end shopper and is going for a different demographic. Many but not all of the stores are low end.

Anonymous said...

Hi, just curious; does anyone remember Joseph Magnin having a Sun Valley location? I just saw some old JM literature (circa 1979) and it listed SVM as a location for one of it's stores.

I was going to SVM in the mid-70's and I don't recall a JM ever being there. There was one in Walnut Creek's Broadway Plaza (which later turned into a I.Magnin store and is now a Macy's).

Also, does anyone remember a guy's clothing store in SVM called SCOTT ALLAN? Think mid-late 80s.