Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Valley Fair Shopping Center

San Jose, California - circa '50s or '60s?

Since I featured a shot of Valley Fair last update, I thought this would be as good a time as any to post a follow-up aerial postcard of same (foreground).

Interesting to note, that other shopping center you can see just to the northwest of Valley Fair, would be the old Stevens Creek Plaza, in Santa Clara, across the San Jose/Santa Clara borderline these shopping centers sat on either side of--before being merged in 1986 to become the enclosed two-level, Valley Fair mall. But this photo is well before all that.

Mall history: 1956 - 1986
Developer: R. H. May & Co. Inc.
Current website: here (redeveloped)
Current aerial view
Info from Wikipedia
Resource links: 1, 2, 3
Previous entries: 1


Blogger BIGMallrat said...

Wow, brilliant card. Finding pictures like that is extremely difficult. Especially anything of Stevens Creek Plaza in Santa Clara. I can see the old I.Magnin way back there!
One thing I wish I could see better is the old Valley Fair sign right off the freeway. Its a site to behold!

Wed Dec 13, 12:17:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Holy moly! I grew up at this (these) malls! What wonderful memories. May even be able to see my house in the distance! Where, oh where, can I find postcards of Valley Fair/Stevens Creek Plaza (and Valco & Eastridge) for myself? I scour eBay everyday and have found only one of VF this year. Would love to be able to pass the cards to my young daughter. So, so many fond memories!! (Still at mallrat at 41.)

Wed Dec 13, 01:54:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

YES!! Been wanting to see this kind of view of it for a long time!

Wed Dec 13, 07:07:00 PM  
Blogger Cora said...

So what happened to the fun fair on the roof? Because I can't make out anything that looks like carousels or ferris wheels in this pic.

Wed Dec 13, 07:51:00 PM  
Blogger BIGMallrat said...

I'm not sure the fair was year-round. I'd bet it was gone by this picture.
I can BARELY make out the smokestack (I think), too.

Wed Dec 13, 10:01:00 PM  
Anonymous Steven Wilson said...

If you view the link to the current aerial view, note that along the north side of the mall there is parking on the roof. Zoom in for a better view. While on the roof, you can look through the skylights to see the mall interior below. This rooftop parking is basically above the parallel mall that was added in the previous major expansion. It's also above the new and relocated food court. The food court also features outdoor seating on a large balcony along the north side of the mall.

Wed Dec 13, 11:58:00 PM  
Anonymous Jody said...

thank you so much! ive reading your blog for months now and have been hoping someone would unearth a photo of valley fair. my grandma lives on one of those streets you can see off to the right of the mall; so close you can see the wreath in the new food court from her front yard. whenever she took care of me when i was a kid we'd always go there, and i'd convince her to buy me something. this was a total trip. thanks again!

Fri Dec 15, 02:08:00 AM  
Anonymous smallwhitecat said...

Here's a little tidbit...did you know that Valley Fair actually had an underground shopping level? A number of ground level stores like B. Dalton Booksellers actually had underground entrances as well. Think I remember a barbershop, salon and boot store with strictly underground entrance too. The main staircase was located near the north end Macy's entrance. There may have been another staircase elsewhere. As a kid I always thought it was kinda dark and spooky down there! I have so many great memories of VF and SC Plaza. As a 6th grader I would go to VF after school to play hide n’seek (boys against the girls of course). I may be able to help with questions regarding retail, layout or design—so feel free to ask!!


Fri Dec 15, 01:56:00 PM  
Blogger BIGMallrat said...

Tania, what do you remember about the lesser Stevens Creek Plaza? No one seems to remember anything. The layout was hard to make out.

Fri Dec 15, 10:53:00 PM  
Blogger hushpuppy said...

I remember a little bit about Stevens Creek Plaza. It opened in 1957, a year after Valley Fair. I. Magnin opened in 1964. Stevens Creek Plaza was much smaller than Valley Fair although it had some good stores, including the popular Roos/Atkins clothing store and Stickney's Restaurant. Even though The Emporium and the mall stores were open Monday through Friday from 9:30 until 9:30, I. Magnin didn't stay open past 5:30 until late in the 1970's and then only on Thursday until 9. I guess Madame preferred to do her shopping during the day. (I'm not sure I. Magnin even opened on Sunday until the mall was enclosed in the 1980's)

Sat Dec 16, 01:09:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


In the pic, the second floor to Macy's has been added, but the front parking lot structure is not there yet. The original green and white color combo is now light tan and brown. That would date it around 1964.

The roof-top fair -- which was appearantly seasonal but left standing -- was taken down after the Christmas of 1957. An ad The San Jose Mercury ran that season shows a cartoon family going to the "sky rides".

-Mike Carroll

Fri Mar 09, 09:51:00 AM  
Blogger jbpanther said...

Does anyone remember the diner in Woolworth"s or better yet the KarmelKorn store around the corner from Woolworth.?

Tue Dec 27, 03:44:00 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home

To see more posts, click on the monthly links
in the "Archives" section of the sidebar.