Mall Memories: Northridge Fashion Center
Northridge, California - circa 1970s
MOA reader, Don Fields, sent in this wonderful Northridge Fashion Center postcard, along with his own youthful memories of the place. I thought I'd share not only the great photo, but also (with his permission) his fun reminiscing too.
Many months ago, while looking for any web sites on old 60s & 70s malls, I bumped into yours and, needless to say, was bowled over by your collection, knowledge and enthusiasm for this topic. So many old and uniquely designed palaces you have managed to mined that haunted my childhood and dreams.
Being a former mall rat myself (mid 70's to the very early 80's) and to show appreciation for what you've been doing for us rats, I'm sending you the following postcard for consideration for your web site. It's an old 'card of the older Northridge Fashion Center in Northridge, CA.
During 1977/78, I lived in Northridge and my favorite weekend place to hang out and away from the San Fernando Valley heat was this mall that first opened in 1973 [most online sources point to '71 --Keith]. I still love the place because the architecture and interior was heavily 70's influenced and was lit not too brightly which was good as that Valley sun would beat down on ya like a baseball bat.
The center had your usual flagship dept. stores, but with their own designed courtyards in front; Sears was standard but JCPenny had a small forest, Bullocks had a circular and more "mod" setting & Broadway had the largest and highest one. Bullocks was quite unique all by itself, one of the design features was a central mirrored escalator area with lighted streaks. It may not seem much, but to a bored Valley kid, stepping on that Bullock escalator was like stepping into a Star Wars set.
I heard from someone on the LottaLiving message board that when the place first opened, they had bean-bags instead of the usual rest chairs. Guess THAT didn't last too long. Anyways, the mall didn't have a "food court" as many of the food stands were scattered, but they did had a couple of restaurants surrounding the 3 screen movie theatre where I saw flicks like 'Fire Sale', 'Saturn 3' (first of many late 70's weird sci-fi flicks, thanks Lucas?!), 'The Goodbye Girl' and the last two Bad News Bears.
Even though I moved out of the Valley, I used to take the occasional trip back and visit this old friend of mine.
As you know it was seriously damaged during the 1989 earthquake and has gone through total remodeling and looks nowhere near the old self anymore. I have been to interesting malls like Del Amo Fashion Center, MetroCenter (in Phoenix, AZ), Fox Hills Mall, Ports O' Call and a couple more Valley ones before I grew out of malls in general and all, but this place will forever be permanently stuck into my consciousness like a bad habit.
I don't know if there are any other old pics of the older place, but imagine my delight when I bumped into this postcard while on business in 1988. Noting your extensive collection, you may or may not have this one, but I'm tossing this to ya anyways. Thanks for the site and I look forward to seeing more parts of retail that I can tolerate.
Don Fields (aka "Don-O" on you comment area)"
Thanks again Don! And if anyone else out there would like to, feel free to write up a paragraph or two (or whatever) of your own favorite mall memories and e-mail them to me. I just may feature them right here on the blog for everyone to enjoy! Doesn't have to be anything fancy or "professional" (I'll spellcheck and all for you), and you don't have to include a mall photo, as I can usually provide one if you don't have it. This blog is at its grooviest when it's interactive, so feel free to interact! :)
Mall history: 1971 - present
Current website: here
Current aerial view
Info from Wikipedia
Resource articles: 1, 2
Previous entries: none