Saturday, October 14, 2006

Eastridge Mall

San Jose, California - 1970s

From General Growth Properties:
"In 2005, Eastridge opened the brand new Interior Mall with exciting new shops, a brand new food court, new family restrooms, and a spectacular 15 screen stadium seating AMC Movie Theatre. Scheduled for completion in 2006, Eastridge is fully renovating with a vibrant new retail streetscape including Barnes & Noble and new restaurants including Romano's Macaroni Grill and Chili's. These features encompass the living style of today's modern, diverse, and affluent customer base."
So there's that.

But back to the more vintage Eastridge. Interesting to note that, like recently featured Oakland Mall, in Michigan (sounds like it'd be in CA too, doesn't it?), Eastridge now has its own Blog. For what it's worth. So far it looks like it'll be updated about as often as Oakland Mall's (not much), but we'll see. Neat idea on paper anyway--even if it never really serves much of a point, other than for them to be able to say they have a Blog, so they feel on it. Or with it.

Also, I wanted to mention something cool that Steven Wilson pointed out in the comments of a past Eastridge post, re: the fountain sculpture in the photo above (and also in this one). He said this very sculpture now sits in downtown San Jose, and he took a couple of pictures of it that he posted right here, at his GREAT AMERICA parks website. Thanks Steven!

Mall history: 1971 - present
Current website: here
Current aerial view
Previous entries: 1, 2


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice to see this old photo, I had my first date here in 8th grade, We went to a pizza place but can't remember the name now. Anybody?

Sat Oct 14, 08:09:00 AM  
Blogger Scott Parsons said...

Love the photo of Eastridge! Especially the mysterious middle level that was only in the center court, and only on opposite sides. The flow used to be terrible. With the renovation, it's greatly improved. I found it interesting they have a blog. When I used to post comments on my site about Eastridge, the opinions I'd get were, um, interesting to say the least. Either you love the mall, or hate it. Nothing in between. People used to get into fights over it! So, I wonder how much editing Eastridge will do for their blog.

Sat Oct 14, 01:40:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This staircase reminds me of a similar staircase you used to find at Chicago, Brickyard.

Sat Oct 14, 03:34:00 PM  
Blogger Kangoon said...

The misterious middle level! The Laffeyett Plaza Mall in Bridgeport Connecticut had one of those too. You could only see it from certain angles. You could see it from the mid level garage walk way, but when you got indside the mall, there was no way to get to it!
The mall is now gone, converted into a comunity college. I should check and see if I can find that level now...

Sat Oct 14, 07:32:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have good memories of shopping at Eastridge. Now I have to make a trip over there and see the new mall.

Sat Oct 14, 07:59:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Thanks for highlighting my photos of the Eastridge sculpture at its outdoor home! Eastridge had some other large pieces of sculpture. I wonder if they found other homes, too.

In this post's photo you can see how expansive the grand court was. In later years, a two-level bridge was built right through the center of the grand court -- roughly along where the fountain and sculpture are seen here. The bridge connected middle level to middle level and upper level to upper level, making a shortcut for tired shoppers' feet.

About that middle level, Eastridge eliminated it in the recent renovation. The "mysterious" middle level was Taubman's way of squeezing in more retail space while keeping the centers still relatively compact.

Sun Oct 15, 12:18:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've encountered the mysterious middle level at Fairlane Town Center in Dearborn, MI as well. It's very unusual the way it transitions -- and in some places the walkways to either side of the mall are at different levels!!

Getting back to Eastridge, it was a very cool place to go in it's day, (though it could have used more plants inside). The Smith's store was an incredible expose on pop/op art - a total mind blower. The other big sculptures were cool as well and I have wondered about what happened to them as well.

I really wish I could pan to the right of this photograph because to the right of Dounut Hole is one of the first food courts I ever visited. It was, in fact, a restaurant called "World's Fare" and there were several in the SF bay area. The concept was to have different foods from around the world to eat, but the concept devolved into the food court we see today. On a Saturday, this place would be absolutely packed!!

Sun Oct 15, 02:11:00 AM  
Blogger hushpuppy said...

By coincidence, I was just at Eastridge the other day (for the first time in 10 years, at least). The remodeled mall is very nice but doesn't have the pizzazz of the original. Both Penney's and Macy's haven't been altered very much since the 70's so it's kind of a trip back in time. Macy's still has the original sign seen in the photo. Sadly, the former Liberty House (later Emporium) has been bulldozed. Oddly enough, except for an Old Navy now under construction, there is no Gap-family store in this mall. Good foot traffic for a Thursday, though, so it looks like Eastridge is being supported by the community.

Sun Oct 15, 10:47:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was taking a look over at the Macy's sign and noticed that this picture was taken before they added the ramps that criss-cross that part of the mall. I guess they realized that the circulation with the middle level was problematic early on and added the long ramps to connect the levels between both sides. I had always wondered since they looked a bit different from the rest of the architecture.

Sun Oct 15, 03:47:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another casualty of the recent Eastridge renovation was the Eastridge Ice Arena. It may have been the last remaining example of a Taubman ice arena. Are any Taubman-built ice arenas still left? I can't think of any offhand.

Sun Oct 15, 06:07:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's a great observation about the ramps in front of Macy's. Woodfield has a set in the analagous location as well (even more analagous now that Marshall Field's has become Macy's). Now it makes me wonder if the Woodfield ramps in that spot were added on, or whether they were original. I've never seen a Woodfield photo without them.

To compare this photo without the ramps in front of Macy's to a similar view after the ramps were added, scroll down to the last picture on this little vintage Eastridge page: vintage Eastridge photos. The ramps are visible between the sculpture and Macy's.

Sun Oct 15, 06:45:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Ice Arena at Eastridge was downstairs, just to the east side of Liberty House (later Emporium). The roof of it was used as a plaza in front of one of the entrances. I went down there on a photography outing once, looking for original parts of the mall to photograph. The original entrances to the mall had quite a brutalist quality to them, with heavy concrete overhangs.

Fairlane has a lot of ramps as well, but was built in '76. Now I wonder if they were planned or added later.

Sun Oct 15, 08:32:00 PM  
Blogger Scott Parsons said...

Yeah, the ramps were added in the Eighties, just about the time they replaced the handrails with glass. Maybe it was the early Nineties, I forget. I just recall not paying too much attenton and ending up on the entirely wrong level. And getting from one side of the mystery level to the other side of the mystery level, well, took a magician.

Mon Oct 16, 12:52:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Driving from Hollister back in the 1970's to Eastridge was a thrill for me. I always thought I was so hip to the fashions back then because Eastridge had so many wonderful shops. I'm glad to see the old photo. It brings back so many good memories.

Mon Oct 16, 06:30:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This mall looks a lot like Independence Center in suburban Kansas City before Simon bought it and renovated it.

Tue Oct 17, 10:49:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm surprised that no one has mentioned the "Eastridge airport" aka Reid-Hillview. In the parking lot, planes literally buzz overhead. This is from a 2002 newspaper article about the then-proposed renovation and expansion that's recently been completed:

"Since Eastridge opened in 1970, at least six airplanes have crash-landed on the shopping center and its parking lots. No one has been injured on the ground."

The recent expansion went into safety zones that were established after the mall was built:

"With a consultant, the commission in 1974 established safety zones that blocked plans by the developer, A. Alfred Taubman of Detroit, to build a theater, a hotel, office buildings and apartments at Eastridge."

The blocking of Taubman's expansion plans reportedly led to the sale of Eastridge in 1980.

Thu Oct 19, 04:59:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

About those Eastridge sculptures...I did a little digging and found that the three sculptures were donated to the City of San José in January of 1983. The one that now stands in downtown San José is named Stainless Steel Tubes and was installed there in late 1984. The other two pieces were Aluminum II Towers by Roger Bollomey and Neon Plexiglass Towers by Boyd Mefford. Neon Plexiglass Towers was designed for indoor display and the city had no interior space large enough for it. Aluminum II Towers was to be installed at an outdoor location, but had suffered damage in being hauled around from one warehouse to another. A 1988 repair estimate for this piece alone was set at $130,000. The city was looking for someone to take the two pieces, including the artists. Apparently no takers were found and the two pieces were destroyed. We are lucky that Eastridge's Stainless Steel Tubes survived!

Thu Oct 19, 05:25:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's a terribly sad day when art that has been entrusted to a city government is allowed to be destroyed out of convenience.

Thu Oct 19, 11:57:00 PM  
Blogger Scott Parsons said...

Malls and airports don't mix... There are at least two others next to runways here: Sunvalley and Southland. However, at Eastridge, you can see the whites of the pilot's eyes. Not to mention, Reid-Hillview is a favorite for first-time flyers.
People have been known to scramble in the parking lot due to the landing aircraft.

Fri Oct 20, 06:59:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous im sure the pizza place you went to was the Orange Bowl. All us kids hung out there in the late 70's early 80's. Its funny that I cant find any information or history on the place. This blog brings back great memories. Anyone remember the head shop in eastridge? Had the black light posters and bongs? I cant remember the name of it. Something you wouldnt find in a mall today. I havent been there in over 20 years. I remember our jr high choir sang christmas carols at Eastridge in 1978. Thanks for the memories!

Wed Mar 28, 12:13:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In reference to Doug's October 17 10:49:00 PM comment: Right you are! That was the very first thought that came to mind when I saw this pic of San Jose's Eastridge Mall. Ooooh, does that bring back memories! (We spent Labor Day weekend in Missouri, and later just KC, for about 10 years straight and ALWAYS stopped at Independence Center.)
The layouts of these malls also remind me of another Chicago-area mall - Fox Valley if I recall correctly. 'Interesting how some design concepts were used over and over across the country. I still like this one very, very much.

Wed Aug 08, 03:26:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To Doug and EM - boy do I see the similarities to KC's Independence Center too. I was the Marketing Director at Independence Center during the renovation in '98 that removed those ramps and much of that '70s architecture. We viewed it as an improvement at the time - replacing the ramps with escalators. Not sure how I feel about it ten years down the road. Also, like Eastridge's "middle level", Independence Center had a bizarre mezzanine/bridge between levels one and two that topped a row of food court shops residing on a "garden level," all under 7O' tall atrium ceiling. The mezzanine was also removed in the renovation.

Wed Jun 04, 05:15:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

that was the orange bowl right next to jcpenneys! they had great thin crust pizza.

Fri Dec 05, 01:17:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember Patti's Chinese kitchen (From Hawaii) next to JC Penney

Fri Jan 14, 12:00:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

the name of the pizza place was orange julius,loved that place thats where everybody hung out

Sun Sep 23, 06:18:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is an Oakridge Mall in San Jose.

Sat Feb 02, 11:23:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I loved that hole in the wall old school Cantonese fast food! They had the best pork steamed buns or called by their Hawaiian name, manapua.
Also they had some of the most original quirky stores, Haight Ashbury head shop and Morrow's Nut & Candy shop - miss those kind of shops now only at farmer markets & Whole Foods groceries or rare alternative natural foods stores.

Mon Oct 28, 02:15:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

..i wish there were more photos. i remember coming here (with my grandmother) when i was a wee kid, going shopping for toys at King Normans, buying my pop-up books at Hallmark, and playing free music on the broken jukebox inside Clothes Barn..(all gone, all gone)..

Sat Nov 09, 12:58:00 AM  
Blogger wnleon said...

Our church group would leave Salinas to Ice Skate at the mall and go to O'Farrells Ice cream parlor. We'd order the king kong and two employess would run through the place carring the ice cream like a stretcher on their shoulders yelling king kong. It was a mountain of ice cream.

Thu Jan 16, 07:06:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...


Sun Oct 18, 08:50:00 AM  
Blogger Cindy said...

In 1971 I worked at the food court Mexican place in the "World's Fare". I'm trying to remember the name. "Pepe's" I think...They had a German Hofbrau, Chinese food and others but can't remember their names and I can't find anything about them on the internet.

Mon May 09, 04:28:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Does anyone remember that restaurant diner that served burgers, fries & shakes. I believe theirs a a tomi sushi buffet now?

Mon Jul 23, 12:37:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I believe it was called IMP Import.

Sun Aug 05, 04:27:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I would love to have a map of the old mall layout...
I remember King Norman’s and Pine Tree Candies, there was MusicLand Records and little IMP Imports, the Orange Bowl and The Donut Hole... Does anybody remember Bumbleberry Pies..?

Mon Aug 06, 12:32:00 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I remember orange bowl pizza and zebra icecream and a orange icee loved that place my mom use to take me and my brother. I was like 8yrs old. And i remember the black light place but you had to go behind a curtain or something and had to be a certain age. Dont remember tje name either.

Thu Oct 24, 04:37:00 PM  

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