Thursday, June 29, 2006

Hillsdale Shopping Center

San Mateo, California - circa 1957

Dig this peachy shot of the Hillsdale Shopping Center way back when! Nice view of Macy's, J.J. Newberry Co., Hartfields, Leed's shoe store, and a store on the right that looks like it says "Douglas" (or Douglass) something or other. I'm sure someone out there will know which store that is/was, but I'm not readily familiar with it myself from the bit I see in the photo.

If you'd like to see this mall in action from around the time this picture was taken, see my recent "Shopping Can Be Fun" video entry, if you haven't already. It's pure retro shopping mall bliss to me! In fact, my brain goes on overload and melts down whenever I watch it.

History: 1954 - present
Developer: David Bohannon (1899-1995)
Current website: here
Current aerial view
Previous entries: 1


Anonymous tkaye said...

Love the classy old Macy's signage. When the Macy monster swallowed The Bon Marché here in the Seattle area, a lot of 40-year-old Bon signage came down and got replaced by that ugly, stuck in the '80s, macy*s logo. Too bad they couldn't have used this vintage logo on the old facades that are still around!

Fri Jun 30, 01:59:00 AM  
Anonymous didi said...

The JJ Newberry in this photo doesn't have the script logo. I always associated Newberry's with the script logos and didn't realize they used other type faces.

Fri Jun 30, 12:26:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Living in the east bay, we didn't get over to Hillsdale Mall, though Bohannon had properties all over. There is even a school named after him.

The pic reminds me a lot of the sunny open-air malls that were all around the bay at that time such as Bayfair, Stanford, Valley Fair, and our local Fremont Hub. It wasn't until Taubman came around with places like Southland and Sun Valley that malls started going indoors and then he built Eastridge in the early 70's which totally blew everyone away.

Watching the video, your mystery "Dougl.." store is Douglas Shaw's Fine Candy & Ice Cream. Seems they were a local chain though unfortunately I can't remember them.

BTW. Hillsdale is still going strong despite the competition from the newer Fashion Island which actually ended up being torn down. The Fashion Island story is one worthy of the "dead malls" sites as it had an incredibly creepy abandoned phase before it's ultimate demise.


Fri Jun 30, 05:06:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is a Shaws Ice Cream store still in San Bruno... or Millbrae. On El Camino Real.

Sun Jul 02, 01:58:00 PM  
Blogger hushpuppy said...

In 1975-76 I worked in Men's Clothing, just inside that door of Macy's to the right. By then, they had added another floor, giving a total of 4, including the basement) and changing the outside sign to a more prominent, brighter one, but still retaining the same 1950's era logo. Sometime in the 80's I believe, they switched to the all lower-case macy*s logo still on the store now. (The one in the photo was backlit, which, interestingly enough is the method of signage they used when they bought up all the old Emporium stores in 1995).
I remember, on slow days, we would duck out the side door seen in the photo (not the regulation employee entrance) and go down to Newberry's for popcorn and munch on it behind the sales desk (also against the rules). Newberry's also had a decent lunch counter where I ate many times during my year here because it was cheap.

Douglas Shaw's was a local chain of candy and ice cream shops up and down the San Francisco Peninsula. I remember in 1968 at the Shaw's in Millbrae, I badgered my Uncle Marvin to buy me a banana split, which at 95 cents, was way more than my parents would've ever spent. He said I could have it, but only if I ate the whole thing by myself. I took my banana split and sat down, alone, at the table while my cousins all walked around the store (they had a gift shop attached) and started eating. Soon, perfect strangers were coming up to me asking me if I was really going to eat that whole banana split all by myself. It turns out my uncle was over in the gift shop, going up to people asking them to go over to the kid at the corner table and ask him if he was really going to eat that whole banana split all by himself. Needless to say, I did eat the whole thing and boy, did I get sick the next day. My uncle is now 77 and I'm 49 and every time he sees me he still asks 'Hey, had any banana splits lately?'

Mon Jul 03, 11:15:00 PM  
Blogger BIGMallrat said...

Gawd, San Mateo Fashion Island mall was torn down a decade ago. I used to work there in its final days. On opening day in 1983, it opened with four department stores: Bullock's, Liberty House, JC Penney, and Montgomery Ward.
However, that same year, both Bullock's and Liberty House decided to pull out of the northern California market. Of course, they still had leases that forced them to stay open in the mall, but they didn't advertise or try to draw people in. When both their leases were up, they both closed. Bullock's had this Teflon tent-style roof that made the interior dreadfully hot in summer and freezing cold in winter. It made it inhospitable for future tenants and a SportsMart tried leasing the space, but lasted only about a year. Liberty House sat vacant for a while, but eventually Whole Earth Access leased the anchor with its new concept store. It lasted about 2 years and then shuttered.
Only Montgomery Ward and JC Penney remained, but by then, Ward's was in a tailspin and lasted only a few years more. By then, the mall sold and was rename “The Island.” The new owners advertised the mall’s entertainment venues: an ice skating rink and movie theatre, which both remained very popular. After Ward’s closed, Penney’s soon followed suit. The mall was then knocked down and a new power center rebuilt. The only part of the mall that remains today is the ice skating rink, now its own building. As a constant reminder, the exit from Highway 101 is still named "Fashion Island Boulevard." Yes, the island where fashion is king!

Wed Jul 05, 01:37:00 PM  
Anonymous Loren said...

I go to this mall all the time and the only that has stay the same is the Macy*s buliding. Even the Macy*s sign has changed.

Sun Jul 23, 11:07:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Grew up next to the fabulous Hillsdale mall, with my brother, 3 sisters, a sister in law, her mom, and me all working there at one time or another. Now where that Douglas sign is, in the early 70s that building held a grocery store. My brother worked as a checker there for a while. I dont think Shaws was there anymore. Yep we used to go to the Shaws in Millbrae every so often...loved it. I also worked in the Macys with my sister, in the basement at the Mamas restaurant. I was 15-17, had a BLAST. When I was younger I used to go to the mall almost every day after school (Abbot and then Hillsdale) and eat at the lunch counter at JJ Newberrys. They had the best fries! Such a wonderful place and time to grow up in! Best...

Sun Jan 28, 11:21:00 AM  
Anonymous John Ruskin said...

Keith, just watched the movie. That was great, it really makes you want to go back to that simpler time. Obviously there was a business propaganda angle to it, but all those events did make shopping fun. Thanks for sharing.

Wed Feb 21, 07:48:00 PM  
Anonymous peterB said...

wow--this place looks clean

Wed Oct 24, 03:20:00 PM  
Blogger Didi said...

Kind of reminds me of the outside of Llyod Center.

Thu Oct 25, 01:32:00 PM  
Anonymous peterB said...

That a girl didi, I knew I would go it alone

Thu Oct 25, 03:57:00 PM  
Anonymous peterB said...

I mean I knew I would not go it alone, Duh!

Thu Oct 25, 03:57:00 PM  
Blogger Didi said...

Hell, no! Should we move on to the next photo after this one?

Sat Oct 27, 11:22:00 AM  
Blogger Leftie said...

I watched the video and was delighted to see the Giant Toyland motorized toys again. It was our holiday ritual to go see them.

Whatever happened to them? I hope that they weren't left to rot someplace.

Wed Jan 02, 12:59:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Help! Does anyone recall the name of the high end women's clothing store (mostly eveningwear) at Hillsdale from not much later than the early 90's where a person went in, but there were no racks/clothes to rifle through. Rather the employees would bring out different clothes from the back after discussing what you were looking for, just like from the 50's and 60's. Anyone recall this store's name?

Wed Aug 13, 07:42:00 PM  
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Sat Oct 02, 06:27:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i liked scott's story on Fashion Island, but he got a few things wrong. the mall open in 81 not 83 ans was closed down in 96. the main problem for the mall was its location, it was not easy to get to and many people got lost try to get there, even if they could see its tent tops from the freeway. Liberty House was a Hawaii based store and it gave me my very first credit card. The mall also failed because it could not get any big name department stores in since Macys and Nordsrom were already at Hillsdale mall only 2 miles away. It was a nice mall, but just not well executed plans. Too bad.

Wed Jan 29, 02:22:00 PM  

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