Monday, July 10, 2006

Park Central Shopping Center

Phoenix, Arizona - circa 1950s

Nice shot from this shady corner (looks like one of the few) of the parking lot at Park Central. Store sign on the left says "Coffee Dan's", I believe, and there's a Walgreens visible in the center, and the Goldwaters anchor on the right.

Last I heard this shell-of-a-mall is mostly being used for office space these days--its bustling shopping center days far behind it now. Sad. If only these walls could talk...

Mall history: 1957 - '90s? (dead)
Current aerial view
Previous entries: 1


Anonymous kostia said...

My grandmother lived in Phoenix. When I was a little kid (mid- to late '70s), I remember being allowed to play "shopping" with her Goldwaters credit card. It was bright yellow and that weird narrow shape that some department store cards had back then. I just about melt with happy memories of my grandmother whenever I see a reference to Phoenix on your site. Thanks!

Mon Jul 10, 11:49:00 AM  
Blogger Cora said...

I like the font on that Coffee Dan's sign. And of course the beautiful vintage cars.

Mon Jul 10, 04:50:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love seeing pics and videos of Phoenix history.

You might be interested in a video of Jimmy Stewart narrating a Phoenix drivers education video. It was shot in and around Garfield elementary school.

Phoenix Driver Education.

Mon Jul 10, 05:22:00 PM  
Blogger Keith said...

I'll check that link out later. Thanks. Love Jimmy Stewart!

kostia: I'll try to post more Phoenix stuff for ya soon. :)

And I like that sign, too, Cora! Like to have one hanging over my computer. Reminds me of the "Dunes" logo in Vegas or something. Or an old motel sign even.

Mon Jul 10, 06:12:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Was the store owned by Barry Goldwaters family?

Mon Jul 10, 08:21:00 PM  
Blogger Mitch Glaser said...

Yes, this mall is now largely used for office space, but it is entirely intact. You can definitely still tell that it was Phoenix's first shopping mall.

Yes, Anon 8:21, Goldwaters was owned by Barry Goldwater's family, and he worked at the store in Downtown Phoenix for a number of years. He was known for playing practical jokes on the other staff. Goldwaters was sold to Associated Dry Goods in 1962, which expanded its Phoenix presence and brought into Tucson, Las Vegas, and Albuquerque.

In 1989, shortly after May acquired ADG, Goldwaters was disbanded. The Phoenix stores became Robinson's (later Robinsons-May), the Las Vegas stores became May Company (also later Robinsons-May)and the Tucson and Albuquerque stores became Foley's (the Tucson units later reverted to Robinsons-May).

Park Central began to decline in 1990, when both Robinson's and JCPenney (part of a later addition not pictured in this post card) closed for good. Dillard's (formerly Diamond's) held on for a number of years as a "clearance center," but it too closed in the late 1990's.

Park Central seems successful as a business center, but I suspect that its valuable property will be extensively redeveloped in the coming years. If you're ever in Phoenix, make sure to stop at Park Central and visit this preserved "dead mall" while you still can!

Mon Jul 10, 10:27:00 PM  
Anonymous dean said...

Wow. That googie style Coffee Dan's is pretty nifty!! I hope the design survives in some way.


Mon Jul 10, 11:42:00 PM  
Blogger Keith said...

I agree, Dean.

And thanks for all that great info, Mitch!

Tue Jul 11, 05:42:00 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Ah, I remember Park Central very well. I don't remember Coffee Dan's. I think that space was a lounge of some sort by the late 70s. I remember when the Walgreens had a restaurant.

I'd usually go to lunch at Miracle Mile with my mom, and occasionally, if was very, very good and/or begged long enough, I would get to see one of the Wallace & Ladmo stage shows at the fountains in front of JC Penney's (or was that Diamond's/Dillard's)?

Thu Jul 20, 11:16:00 PM  
Blogger netron said...

great shot of the vintage cars in the foreground. there's a lovely vibe about that photo.

Mon Sep 18, 12:00:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This mall does still somewhat function as a mall. The front end features a Starbucks, Jamba Juice, Qdoba and a few other restaurants in the main corridor, mostly supported by the area office workers. I believe the Hi Health store near the Dillards is still open also and looks like it is about 20 years old along with a cigar shop.

Sun Oct 01, 03:57:00 AM  
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Anonymous buy generic viagra said...

This is nice because I like to do a compilation of retro photos, I have a fascination for those things how the space was placed, the environment and other details.

Mon May 16, 12:44:00 PM  
Blogger gary said...

Is there anybody that remmbers coffee dans at park central mall back in 1963

Mon Jun 13, 07:44:00 PM  
Blogger gary said...

Coffee Dans along with the geronamo room was a coffee shop & dinning room combind in the same building. I worked there in 1963 as a teenager, would like to find somebody that remembers back then.

Mon Jun 13, 07:56:00 PM  
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