Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Country Club Centre


Sacramento, California - circa 1950s

My time has been short the past several days, so blogging has been a little leaner and less frequent than usual (which is why I'm doing at least a little bit kind of late here today). But all will be back to normal very soon. :)

Anyway, so yeah, this is a really cool and vintage postcard photo of the Country Club Centre, in Sacramento. Here's the postcard caption:
"Country Club Shopping Center. One of Sacramento's most complete suburban shopping areas, with ample free parking. Located on El Camino near Watt Avenue."
Edit: Thanks to Randy, for positively identifying this shot for me. Earlier I had it posted as the Country Club Plaza Mall, which though right across the street (you can see it in the aerial), is not the one pictured here. This is the Country Club Centre. My confusion came largely from the postcard caption itself, which does read exactly as I have it above. But anyway, I think we're all set now.

Btw, please read the comments for this entry. Randy's looking for some history help re: Rhodes department stores (Tacoma-based chain), as seen in this photo. I'm sure the experts here can help him out. Scott?...


Mall history: 1952 - 2003 (dead/redeveloped?)
Current website: n/a
Current aerial view
Resource links: 1
Previous entries: none



23 Comments:

Blogger Kangoon said...

Wow! I love the cars! Hey close the door kid!

Wed Nov 15, 09:49:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This makes me smile. Grew up north of Sacramento (Redding) but spent ALOT of time in Sac. And of course, all the malls! Roseville has a really nice one now.

Wed Nov 15, 10:08:00 PM  
Anonymous Randy said...

This mall is actually Country Club Centre, which was Sacramento's first suburban mall, built in 1952, nearly nine years before Country Club Plaza opened across from Watt Avenue from the east.

The Rhodes department store anchor was California's first outlet of the Tacoma-based chain. I have been searching online for information on how Rhodes made their entrance into California with not much sucess. Your help would be greatly appreciated.

Rhodes later became Liberty House (from Honolulu) in the mid 1970s, and closed in 1984, when they turned their focus on their mainstream Hawaii chain.

Thu Nov 16, 01:36:00 AM  
Blogger Keith said...

Thanks for catching that Randy! I really appreciate it and have updated this entry. :)

Thu Nov 16, 03:45:00 AM  
Blogger Georob said...

I believe Rhodes entered California around 1960, when it acqurired Kahns, which was based in Oakland. Kahns had some branch stores too, but the only one I know for certain was in Concord. However, I would assume that any Rhodes stores in the Bay Area built prior to 1960 opened as a Kahns.

Whether or not Kahns went all the way to Sacramento is another question. Local chains stayed pretty local back then unless they had the cash to expand, which is why they all eventually died or got bought out. Weinstocks is the only local store based out of Sacramento that I ever knew of, but there may have been another if you go back far enough.

For myself, I'll guess that the Country Club store originally was a Kahns. Of course, all of these would become Liberty House after Amfac bought out Rhodes in the late 60's. In fact, I recall seeing a Liberty House in the old Southgate Center on Florin Road that looked like it dated from the 1950's. My guess is that was also a Rhodes and probably a Kahns as well.

Thu Nov 16, 11:54:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's a Wikipedia article about Liberty House that lists some former Liberty House locations in California, some of which it lists as having been Rhodes and/or Kahn's originally;
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liberty_House#California

Thu Nov 16, 02:44:00 PM  
Blogger BIGMallrat said...

Country Club Plaza, Country Club Centre, it's easy to confuse. In fact, unless you live in the immediate area, you probably don't know the difference. Funny, I was just there. Country Club Plaza is still a small enclosed mall. Country Club Centre, though, is really just Wal-Mart (in the old Montgomery Ward building), and some incline shops in a strip center. The Liberty House (previously known as Rhodes) and really small enclosed mall is now some sort of office building (more or less). It had glass doors that you can look inside and see what could have once been a really small mall (in the style of Mayfield Mall in Mountain View, CA).
However, I'm having trouble reconciling this postcard because it makes the center look much bigger than it is now. Perhaps a portion of it was torn down at some point; I just don't know (and can't seem to find anyone who does).
As for the Liberty House, Rhodes, Kahns story, I think Georob has got it covered. It's easy to tell what was previously a Rhodes because the stores were smaller than the later Liberty House buildings (Southland, Sunrise Mall, etc). But, that's all I know!
Scott

Thu Nov 16, 03:43:00 PM  
Anonymous Wednesday said...

Randy, is this the side of the Centre facing El Camino? I work in this neighborhood and I can't place this image. At first I thought it was the Plaza (facing Watt Ave.) and that Gottschalk's is now located where the Rhodes store is in the photo.

It's a shame Country Club Centre has been swallowed up by Wal-Mart. I used to run to Long's Drugs and some of the other stores there after work. My favorite store there was Woolworth's. I miss that place.

Country Club Plaza used to be a nice little mall, too, but it's been renovated into a big, drafty, echo-y cavern of a place.

Fri Nov 17, 06:48:00 PM  
Blogger hushpuppy said...

here's a bit more history of Rhodes:

Prior to 1960, there were 3 chains that made up the Western Department Store Company: Kahn's (Oakland and Concord), Olds & King (Portland and Gateway Shopping Center) and Rhodes (Tacoma, Lakewood, Fresno, Country Club, and Florin Road in Sacramento). In September 1960, all stores were consolidated under the Rhodes name, and the parent company was changed to 'Rhodes Western'. During the period between 1960 and 1969, additional stores were opened in Phoenix (Camelback), Albuquerque, San Antonio, and Mountain View, CA.

In 1969, the 13-store Rhodes chain was sold to Honolulu-based Amfac, owner of Liberty House department stores (and new owner of the Joseph Magnin specialty store chain). Under Amfac ownership, new stores were opened in Jantzen Beach, OR; Tacoma Mall; Dublin, CA (a conversion of the failed RhodesWAY discount chain); El Paso, and Phoenix (Metrocenter). I believe it was during this period that the downtown stores in Tacoma and Portland were closed.

In the early 1970's Amfac opened Liberty House stores in San Jose (Eastridge), Hayward (Southland) and Sacramento (Sunrise). Then in 1972 they bought the failed City of Paris department stores in downtown San Francisco and Stonestown and renamed them City of Paris by Liberty House. They tore down one of the City of Paris buildings and built a new Liberty House store in 1974. Stonestown was closed in 1973, less than a year after it opened.

Their mainland stores bleeding red ink, Amfac then decided to consoldate all their department store operations under the Liberty House banner. It didn't help much since the old Rhodes stores were smaller and hopelessly outdated while the new Liberty House stores were large and ultramodern. Unlike Hawaii where they had no competition and a rich history, mainland shoppers had no idea what Liberty House stood for and stayed away in droves.

In the late 1970's, the Pacific Northwest stores were sold to Frederick & Nelson and the Southwest stores were sold to various companies. The San Jose store was sold to The Emporium in 1977.

Liberty House tried bolstering their Northern California presence with new stores in Santa Rosa, downtown Sacramento, Reno, and San Mateo but the chain was almost never profitable. They sold the Hayward store to The Emporium (now named Emporium-Capwell) and closed the Dublin and Florin stores but Amfac threw in the towel in May 1984, selling the remaining stores to archrival Macy's and leaving the mainland altogether (having earlier sold off Joseph Magnin at a loss).

The only exception was the San Mateo store. Required by the lease to continue operating, it was treated as a branch of the Honolulu division and stayed open until 1987 when it was sold to Whole Earth Access. The entire shopping center was bulldozed a few years ago and replaced with a power center.

Fri Nov 17, 07:15:00 PM  
Anonymous Randy said...

Many thanks to Hushpuppy about the history of the Rhodes chain, though I already knew about the Kahn's and Olds & King acquisitions. I am still wondering on how the Tacoma-based chain chose to venture into those retail markets as distant as San Antonio. It's possible Rhodes might have acquired Wolff & Marx in downtown San Antonio.
As for Wednesday's inquiry, I could not tell which street the center was facing as pictured in the postcard, for this was before my time and I could only recognize the Rhodes anchor.

Sat Nov 18, 06:51:00 PM  
Anonymous Wednesday said...

Thanks, Randy, I spotted Woolworth's right in the middle of the photo so now I recognize the location. This is a great image, by the way. I love the cars!

Sat Nov 18, 10:29:00 PM  
Blogger Marty Kobata said...

bigmallrat is correct that the Rhodes/Liberty House is now an office building, if I remember correctly, sometime in the 80's part of the mall was torn down to make a much smaller mall. If you look at the aerial view, the building just to the left of the main part of the mall was once attached.

The other post about Rhodes being once being in Southgate is correct, I remember going there as a kid in the 60's. They even had a miniature golf course right in the mall right outside Rhodes!

Mon Nov 20, 12:46:00 PM  
Blogger BIGMallrat said...

Hughpuppy, that history was well written. Now I know why my mom would call it Rhodesway!!

And Marty, thanks for confirming the demolition of part of the mall. THe aerial makes sense, now.
Scott

Mon Nov 20, 04:44:00 PM  
Blogger BIGMallrat said...

Wednesday, this postcard most likely was taken from the corner of Butano and Watt.
Scott

Mon Nov 20, 04:55:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can also confirm that a part of this mall was torn down in the 80's by Buzz Oates during a redevelopment project to mix the retail with some office space. The Rhodes/Liberty House building is actually now the parking lot to the west of the current office building. Part of the west wing was demolished to build the office space. I remember going to this mall as a kid in the 70's, and my mom would always park in the underground garage, and I loved the glass doors leading to the escalator that would pop you up right in the middle of the mall by the Karmelkorn. You can guess what I went for first thing.... Other stores of note in this mall were Kid-E-Corral, Longs Drugs, and Montgomery Ward (now occupied by a Wal Mart). The current incarnation of the mall bears little resemblance to the photo.

Wed Feb 07, 05:44:00 PM  
Blogger Johnny Cat said...

Half of the Country Club Centre Mall was torn down somewhere between 1998 to 2001 . Where you see a tall structure with pipes sticking out of the top is toward the end of the mall today, where See's Candies is located . So the mall in the groovie post card from the 1950s, you can see this same structure with pipes sticking out of the top, right in the middle of the mall . So it was double the size back then that it is today .

Fri May 04, 08:33:00 PM  
Blogger Johnny Cat said...

To help look for the structure with pipes, look at the postcard, look at the set of palm trees in the middle, then look at the roof . There it is, on the roof, about 6 to 8 meters back from the palm trees . I hope this helps .

Fri May 04, 08:42:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm 33 (2007). This photo is of what was Country Club Centre. The office building which every one is discussing was Rhodes, (later Liberty House in the early 1970's). It remained intact with the Liberty House signage until 1988 vacant and empty. The building was NOT demolished but guted and the frame stayed and made into this very private office building.

Liberty House closed in 1984. The mall suffered and remained open but was vancant with all but Montgomery Ward (now Wal-Mart) and Longs Drug store (now Office Depot). This mall was until the end of the 1970's being the more high end of all the malls in Sacramento.

Next to Rhodes (Liberty House) was Joseph Magnin which also was closed in early 1984 at the same time as Liberty House.

After that many stores moved to Country Club Plaza. The mall from Joseph Magnin to what looks like Woolworth was demolished in 1995.

What is interesting is that I remember that mall and what it looked like as a child in the late 1970's.

Each store inside had it's signage on a uniform space right under the roof the of the mall. The floors were spaced with trees and benches and infront of Liberty House and Joseph Magnin was skylight and a large open space which lead to the parking lot at the back entrance of what was the 1970's Liberty House.

In 1986 plans to renivate the mall were made public by Buzz Oates but once Arden Fair made public of its plans two years later the mall just became closed and now is what is today.

MaxMikeLatino@hotmail.com

Tue Aug 28, 05:17:00 AM  
Blogger RosevilleAndRocklin said...

There was a restaurant here that severed bagel sandwiches that were incredible. I have such great memories of this place. They had THE BEST Santa's workshop set up here. What a great post and picture.

Wed Apr 14, 10:20:00 AM  
Blogger Daniel said...

Today is August 19, 2010. I know I am coming in on this years late. Thank you for the picture. I grew up in Carmichael and needed to reminisce. The Country Club Center had a neon sign on the El Camino side that changed from "center" to "enter" with an arrow, as I recall. Strange thing about this mall is that it was originally open, and got enclosed some time between 1970 and 1974 I think. I have deep memories of Christmas shopping through the mall in the early 70's -- lights, music, crowds. Thank you.

Thu Aug 19, 03:49:00 PM  
Blogger mary825 said...

I am also posting long after your original thread started...I remember CCC being an open mall, we were trying to remember what was on the other end before Montgomery Wards (now WalMart) Kid-E-Korral was where everyone shopped for school uniforms...first communion dresses...and all the gear you needed for scouts and campfire girls. I think Emigh's Hardware was in there too (before moving to the old Kinney's shoe store location LOL) Wow! Memories!

Mon Oct 11, 12:29:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I grew up with this mall and have loved reading everybody's comments. The mall was actually a large open-air shopping center with a row of stores in the back as well. Before it was Wal-mart, it was Montgomery Ward, but the original store where Wal-Mart is now was a Lucky grocery store. I remember it had yellow and green tile on the outside. Inside the open air section was a House of Fabrics, my mom and I used to do in there. In the back stores I also remember a Tall-Girl's shop also if my memory serves me correct. The view of the postcard is taken from Watt Avenue. Thanks for the memories guys!

Tue Mar 15, 12:22:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bigmallrat, the Country Club Centre picture was taken from along El Camino ave, which runs east-west in front of the mall. A portion was torn down between the old Rhodes Building and See's Candies (See's is the only surviving ORIGINAL store that has NEVER moved since CCC opened in 52)

Wed Jul 24, 04:59:00 AM  

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