Friday, November 17, 2006

Valley River Shopping Center


Eugene, Oregon - Circa 1977

I nabbed this postcard view off of an ebay or Yahoo auction a long time ago (intended to buy it but forgot to), and never have been able to get a crack at another, but I like the shot, so even though it looks kind of rough I think I'll add it to the archive anyway--at least until I get a replacement.

Poor quality aside, I still think it's a fairly groovy image of the Valley River Shopping Center (as it's called on the postcard) in the 1970s--more commonly referred to as Valley River Center these days. There's a Memory Lane store clearly visible here, but what I really like is the gothic vaulted pillars & ceiling design going on (or whatever that is), which kind of puts me in mind of the interior courts of Tacoma Mall or Southcenter. Nice!

Edit: Updated opening date below. Thanks Justin!

Mall history: 1969 - present
Current website: here
Current aerial view
Info from Wikipedia
Previous entries: 1



12 Comments:

Anonymous justin karimzad said...

This view towards the anchor Meier & Frank (Macy's as of 5/2006) looks somewhat the same, but mostly very different today. The Meier & Frank kept that exact facade and sign right up to the end, but it was redone when Macy's moved in. The skylights in the mall look the same. The staircase in the background is gone, as are the Memory Lane and the Leed's Shoes on the left (with the green sign). Also, the vaulted columns and all of the wood paneling along the walls, as well as what appears to be a terrazzo floor, are gone. The mobile hanging from the ceiling, the flag, and the planters are also gone. In their place are kiosks. There is also a JC Penney opposite the Meier & Frank that's still open, and at the time of this photo there was a Montgomery Ward on the right (demolished for a theater) and a Lipman's or Lammont's on the left (now Copeland's Sports).

Sat Nov 18, 02:17:00 AM  
Anonymous justin karimzad said...

The mall actually opened August 4, 1969. Initially, only Meier & Frank and some of the secondary stores were open, but more stores opened during the course of the year, and the JC Penney opened January 7, 1970. In 1974, the mall added a perpendicular wing that had the Montgomery Ward on one end and what was Lipman's, Frederick & Nelson, and Lamont's at different times on the other (from http://www.angelfire.com/wa2/hwysofwastate/MandFValleyRiver.html). In 1990, another wing was added near the JC Penney that led to the Bon Marche (later Macy's and, as of 9/2006, Gottschalks).

Sat Nov 18, 02:57:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As to the opening year, the very page you cited above says, "The first phase of Valley River Center opened for business in 1968". Is that incorrect then?

Sat Nov 18, 05:49:00 AM  
Anonymous justin karimzad said...

1968 is incorrect, and I know so because I reasearched this at the Eugene library and printed out newspaper articles about it.

Sat Nov 18, 02:40:00 PM  
Anonymous didi said...

Damn, Justin, if all the vintage greatness is gone, what's left?

Sat Nov 18, 03:50:00 PM  
Blogger Keith said...

Why, Malls of America, of course, Didi. ;)

Justin: Thanks for the clarification on the opening (I'll update it in the entry, since you obviously have positive proof).

I'm always darned if I do and darned if I don't with stuff like this--if I would have posted that it opened in '69, guaranteed that someone would've said: "You know, portions of it technically opened in '68"... So I played it safe (I thought). :D Indeed, I was going by the statement quoted above, on that same page you referred to.

Hey, thanks also for the great update notes! I appreciate you taking the time.

Sat Nov 18, 05:46:00 PM  
Anonymous justin karimzad said...

Keith, I think you did the right thing by going with the evidence that you had initially, and I appreciate the fact that you believe me.

Sun Nov 19, 12:08:00 AM  
Anonymous justin karimzad said...

One thing that hasn't changed inside the mall itself is the facade of the JC Penney, which still has the wood paneling towards the bottom (now painted) that the other parts of the mall had in this picture.

Sun Nov 19, 12:14:00 AM  
Blogger Kangoon said...

Thanks for that great picture. I like the open space in this picture.
The trend twoard packing every square foot of hall way with kiosks is terrible. I know it is all economics but it ruins the experience of the architecture.
I also do not like being hawked at by the kiosk people.
Thanks
Kev

Sun Nov 19, 12:36:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Isn't this where "How to Beat the High Cost of Living" was filmed? Does anyone remember the money ball?

Mon Nov 20, 06:21:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I visit Valley River Center quite often.. I enjoy looking at your old photo's of mall's.

Mon Nov 20, 04:48:00 PM  
Blogger BIGMallrat said...

You know, this picture could be today for all I know. It's not in that tacky-Seventies style. I hope it's still thriving!
Scott

Wed Nov 22, 05:24:00 PM  

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