Monday, May 21, 2007

Retro Lakewood Shopping Center (aka Lakewood Center)

Lakewood, California - circa 1950s

Lakewood Shopping Center (now officially called Lakewood Center), just epitomizes retro cool and swank to me--the vintage version I mean. Oh it's still a pretty nice mall today, but it's not retro cool like this anymore! It's currently anchored by JCPenney, Macy's (formerly Robinsons-May), Mervyns, and Target.

The vintage postcard photo above was taken in much earlier, swankier days, of course, probably from right around 1952 when the shopping center first opened. There's a Columbia store visible on the left, among others, and the distinctive May Company anchor store in back with the big "M" logo. The card's short caption simply says: "The Attractive And Colorful Shopping Center, Lakewood, California."

Mall history: 1952 - present
Current website: here
Current aerial view
Info from Wikipedia
Previous entries: 1, 2, 3

Labels: , , ,


Anonymous didi said...

Those palm tress sure make it look mighty attractive.

Mon May 21, 08:10:00 PM  
Blogger Synthetrix said...

The Lakewood Center was one of the first major shopping malls in the So. Cal area, built along side of one of the first post-war, master-planned suburban housing tracts of Lakewood, CA. The May Company building was truly impressive in it's day. The building still stands in it's current modified form and the mall is an indoor one now.

Tue May 22, 01:08:00 AM  
Blogger Cora Buhlert said...

For some reason, the May Company logo is mightily reminiscent of the logo of the Rotterdam subway.

Still, a lovely photo.

Tue May 22, 05:42:00 PM  
Anonymous Mark said...

OMG! Thats how the May Company used to be like?

Wow they used to be stylish and modern,now that they're Macy's they look a whole lot more cheap and dull looking,sigh how things have changed.

The 'M' reminds me of McDonalds but in a good way.

Fri May 25, 09:50:00 AM  
Blogger Nessa said...

Wow, way, way cooler than the tired and ho-hum big-box look of today!

Mon May 28, 05:22:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Everyone,
My research on the LAKEWOOD CENTER of the 50's indicates that the nifty postcard pic here was probably taken during the time that the first phase of the complex was completed (1955-56), or soon after.
The Columbia store was a Bond's apparel in the earliest incarnation of the mall (1952).
It must have been a pretty awesome shopping center in those days!

The Curator
MHOF blog

Wed May 30, 08:24:00 PM  
Anonymous Amy said...

Lakewood California has the fantastic distinction of being the very first city built around a Mall. Across the street from the mall and movie theater was (is) the police station, library, city hall and post office. The thought being it's like a village center, houses and parks radiate from there.

This is my hometown and honestly life really does revolve around the mall.

I have been bugging my friends and family forever about the name of the stocking/hose shop that was in the wing of the mall pictured... all they did was sell nylons!

Fri Jun 22, 04:03:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It was a cool shopping center. I remember it in the 1950's. My mother and I used to walk six blocks to get there, walk around it for what seemed like hours and walk the six blocks home again.

Fri Oct 26, 03:15:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The name of the "nylon store" was "Albert's Hosery" (sp?) Grew up around the block from the mall. Was a great place to hang out. There was a small smattering of shops not connected to the shops called "The Faculty Shops". When the mall began modernizing, they moved the shops to Candlewood.Great Times!!

Thu Jan 24, 08:33:00 PM  
Blogger Marla said...

Grew up on Sunflower for a while in the 50's. Great place.Grandma moved to Graywood. Two blocks away from the Center.Looking for the name of the record store with the listening booths across the street. I remember riding the elevators at May Co.,eating ice cream from Boy's Market for a nickel.

Fri May 16, 12:22:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I believe it was wallachs music city that had the listening booths across the street. I used to go to Clifton's for dinner/lunch with my mom many times. It was usually decorated at Christmastime!

A fun time to remember.

Tue Dec 15, 08:53:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I grew up mid-60's through mid-80's in Lakewood. I remember it when it was an open shopping center, and then was enclosed in around '78? My mom took me on the number 10 bus from our house near Woodruff/Centralia. I loved going on those shopping trips. I remember life revolving around the mall. We went there nearly every day after school when I was attending Bancroft Jr. Hi. One of the original skateparks was also located in the parking lot between the Center and the City Hall complex across Clark (next to Apple Annies!). I don't live in the area, anymore, but I can't say I was impressed with the mall last time I was there. I missed the charm of the early days.

Sun Sep 19, 09:41:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The music store across from the center on lakewood blvd was Walach's music city:)

Sat Jun 11, 11:19:00 PM  
Blogger jcygrl said...

Also grew up in Lakewood in 70's and 80's....moved back and now a current resident. How things have changed!! Remeber Chic? They sold purses and old lady costume jewelry which was too cool for those mod/ska days...I miss the old Lakewood mall and the old Bullocks. It was awesomegood as anI outside mallis but weI loved it evenfor more when it waswas enclosed. Does anyone remember the underground army store that was located near the wing by millers outpost? Trip. Maycompany used to have a 31 flavors in the basement too! Great memories of just hanging out at this mall, I worked at the taco bell when it was brand new. Thanks for the photos.

Thu Sep 08, 10:29:00 PM  
Anonymous Prostrate Surgery said...

great site

Wed Sep 21, 10:38:00 AM  
Anonymous xl pharmacy said...

It sounds pretty interesting. I would like to go there. Because every mall is the same boring thing.

Thu Oct 06, 06:36:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does anyone remember the name of the wedding/dress shop that was 2 story in the Lakewood mall? It was there in the 80's and I think it was near Contemporary or the midde of the mall. HELP! It's on the top of my tongue!!!
Great pics,,,,,,,,loved ands truly miss the old Lakewood!!

Sun Aug 05, 12:58:00 AM  
Anonymous Ray Reinhard said...

Lakewood Center was a major source of sales tax revenue for "Tomorrow's City Today." Lakewood has another distinction: it is relatively famous among urban economists as the origin of the "Lakewood Plan" in which cities contract for their public services, rather than providing them themselves (e.g., LA County Sheriff, LA County Fire Department, LA County Library). Proponents cite the efficiency of not having to replicate infrastructure. Critics complain that it facilitated a proliferation of small cities in the LA County area.

Tue Nov 27, 09:56:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

At age 3 I moved into a tract home just north of Lakewood Center in 1950, just north of the mall (between our tract and the mall was an open field that tumbleweeds blew through before the homes on Camerino fenced their backyards). Boy's Market at the north end, Hiram's Market at the south end of the Center's parking lot. May Co. sat in the middle of the unenclosed string of shops. Butler Brothers department store anchored the north end, next to SavOn Drug Store. See's Candy, Clifton's Cafeteria, Bank of America, etc.
Later, the Faculty Shops went in a couple hundred yards to the east; I shined shoes at a barber shop there in 1962-63, and there was an Orange Julius, a great authentic deli, liquor store, sporting goods, and a Chinese restaurant.
Just across Lakewood Blvd to the west was Lakewood Chevrolet and Wallach's Music City.
The nearest elementary school was Betsy Ross, and if you grew up here, you probably attended Mayfair H.S.

Sat Jun 14, 08:49:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

wasn't there a bowling alley over by the faculty shops!! I remember a liquor store there used to have7up boxing news.

Sun Aug 24, 11:55:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

parkwood Chevrolet was on Lakewood blvd. wasn't there a Vic TANNYS GYM down from there?

Sun Aug 24, 11:57:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does anyone remember L's restaurant at the corner of Lakewood and Del Amo.We had dinner there every Fri. nite in the 60s

Sat Nov 15, 08:07:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

we grew up one block from the mall in the late 50's and early 60's and it was our playground. we would go there with the intention of getting thrown out of every store we could. does anybody remember the bowling alley and the nursery that was at the corner of clark and del amo. going way back. the faculty shops had a radio station and a babysitting service called "check a child" where parents could drop the kids off to be watched while shopping. remember riding my bike in one door of lucky's and out the other. getting caught trying to steal easter candy and the embarrassment of my dad having to come to the store to retrieve me. one of my favorite memories was of the futuristic car display in front of May co. these cars went around in a circle tethered to a pole on a cushion of air. still waiting for those cars. and riding our bikes down the center of the mall between shops before it was enclosed. and climbing on the huge planters that housed the fans that sucked the exhaust from the underground tunnel used by the delivery trucks that ran from candlewood to del amo. we would walk thru there and pretend we were on some secret mission and hide from the truck drivers as if they were trying to capture us. i think the first time in my life i saw a black man working at the car wash on the corner of lakewood blvd and del amo by L's coffee shop. and the woolworths and their hot dogs in square buns and cone shaped paper water cups in the silver base. and the pet section down stairs. never forgot the smell of the turtle aquariums. and clifton's cafeteria where we would envy the rich kids that got to have their birthday party there then get to pick out a prize from the treasure chest. so many memories. a simpler time

Sun Jan 18, 11:57:00 PM  
Anonymous Roy said...

We moved there in 1956 just off Lakewood Blvd on Blackthorne Ave.
I too remember all the stores, got kicked out of the May Co. or Bulter Brothers, with my friends trying to run up the escalators on the going down side. Can't remember which. Got caught trying to steal some Butch Wax at Hiram's Market and loved Bowling at the Alley at Faculty shops with the money I made delivering the Los Angeles Examiner. Walachs Music City for sure and the 5,10 & 15 cent ice cream cones at Save-on Drug Store Soda Fountain.

Thu Mar 12, 07:18:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Walleach's Music City on Lakewood Blvd @Candlewood

Fri Apr 15, 06:41:00 PM  
Blogger crow8870 said...

Anybody happen to remember the name of the music store (instruments, not records) that used to be in the Lakewood Center Mall?

Sat Sep 17, 03:26:00 AM  
Blogger Bob Hennessey said...

I took Guitar lessons there long time ago. It was called Al Kali Music or something like that
Bob Hennessey

Sat Aug 12, 07:05:00 PM  
Blogger Bob Hennessey said...

We used to ride our bikes down to the Lakewood Center when they were first building it and watch them work on the buildings. That was in 1952. Once they finished it we would go down there a lot and head for the record department at The May Co and play all the latest records (78 RPM's) and once in a while even purchase one. I was attending Lakewood Junior High at the time. It was later changed to Bancroft Jr High. Wow such a long long time ago.

Sat Aug 12, 07:10:00 PM  
Blogger SeattleSuze said...

I took accordion lessons at Al Kali’s. Every week we had to solo a piece for our parents and then...there was the accordion band! What a memory!

Mon Mar 05, 09:59:00 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home

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