Saturday, May 13, 2006

South Coast Plaza

Costa Mesa, California - circa early 70's

Vintage aerial view of South Coast Plaza, with the May Co. anchor store on the left side.

Way down there in the lower-right corner, you can just barely make out the mall entrance sign. And though no real details emerge, I blew it up for a closer look (at left). At least we can see the general shape of it easier. I'll see if I can't dig up a nice clear shot of it sometime.

Mall history: 1962 - present
Architect: initial design by Victor Gruen (1903-1980)
Current website: here
Current aerial view
Previous entries: 1


Blogger Kittenwtw said...

I went into debt at SCP. Why did they give college kids credit cards with such high limits.... took me a while to pay it off! This is a very nice mall.

Sat May 13, 06:41:00 PM  
Blogger hushpuppy said...

Look at all that empty space around the mall! Now, it's one of the most densely populated areas of Southern California

Sat May 13, 11:40:00 PM  
Blogger BIGMallrat said...

I can't believe how urban the area is now compared to this photo. Crazy population explosion!
Oh, and I went in debt at Del Amo. They had credit card giveaway day and I picked up 5 in one day (ah, good times of easy credit). Let me see if I can remember. Robinsons, May Co., JC Penney, Bullock's, Broadway.
Ironically, I was approved down there for cards I was denied in my home town in northern California. Credit is easier in the southland?

Mon May 15, 01:27:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Talk about debt! I think it was about 1988 and South Coast Plaza had its own credit card good in all of the stores. I went nuts at Gucci I was about 20 my mom went through my things and made me return everything I bought and then tore up my card. Thanks mom! Still love that mall though!

Mon May 15, 05:49:00 PM  
Anonymous Jeff said...

Dumb Question.

Was there a Buffum's ever in this mall. I ask this because I am looking at the bird's eye view on the overhead view, and that looks like it could have been an old Buffum's store next to Nordstroms. It makes sense too that it was at least a department store, as its the only spot in the mall that is three stories.

The Buffum's in Santa Anita had the same looking white rock walls, and they built the Nordstroms connected to the old Buffums.

Mon May 15, 11:19:00 PM  
Blogger hushpuppy said...

No, there was never a Buffum's at South Coast. They had a store in downtown Santa Ana and another in Fashion Island in Newport Beach.

In the good old days, the two nearby centers had no overlapping of the anchor stores. South Coast Plaza had May Company (soon to be Bloomingdale's), Sears, Bullock's (now Macy's), Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue, and I. Magnin (now Macy's Mens).

Fashion Island had The Broadway (now Bloomingdale's), Robinson's (now Macy's), Penney's (now a combination Bloomingdale's Home Store and Food Market), Bullock's Wilshire (now Macy's), Buffum's (bulldozed, I think), and Neiman-Marcus.

Tue May 16, 06:30:00 AM  
Blogger Cora said...

I like the arched design of the May & Co store exterior. Quite a difference to the plain box look that most mall department stores nowadays have.

Wed May 17, 05:42:00 PM  
Anonymous Gary said...


I have a Firefighter/Fire Department Support Website with lots of links to Malls across the US. The links start at webpage and go through


Mon May 29, 03:40:00 PM  
Anonymous Stimpy586 said...

There was never a Buffum's at SCP. What you are seeing is the 3 level original Nordstrom that was built in 1978. In 1985-86 Nordstrom decided to build an entirely new 200,000+ sq ft. building directly north of their old 90,000 sq. ft store. The 1978 Nordstrom was then converted into mall space. This also happened in Brea in the late 80s.

Sat Jun 24, 02:24:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Given the comments aoubt Buffum's, South Coast Plaza, and Fashion Island- it sounds like you all know a lot. I'd be interested in finding pictures or information about the Buffum's, Broadway, or Bullock's depatment stores. Buffum's is espcially difficult to dig up. Can anyone advise? ok to email me at

Fri May 11, 01:17:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

1962-present? I thought it opened in 1966 (though the May Company's memorable archecture does date back to 1961's "May Co. Buena Park", at least. Good pics.

Steve C.

Fri Jan 11, 02:12:00 AM  
Blogger Sunny said...

What a GREAT blog you have!
I remember Buffum's in Santa Ana when I was growing up as a kid in Huntington Beach.
I still have a silver ice bucket in the original Buffum's gift wrap that my mother bought there in the 60's.
And South Coast Plaza?
Don't even get me started!

We also have a new shopping "village" here in South Carolina that reminds us so much of Fashion Island that's what we call it instead of its gritty sounding (The Village at Sandhills) real name.
Thanks for the great memories!

Fri Apr 10, 08:40:00 AM  
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