Sunday, March 09, 2008

Jumpin' Gyminy! It's Orange County Plaza!


There's just one photo today, but with two close-up views. We're looking at Garden Grove, around 1960. (Update: This was on the 9700 block of Chapman Ave.) In the closeups we see a billboard for "EASTGATE - A Planned Community," an A&W stand, a sign for Jumpin' Gyminy Trampoline Center, ("Fun for Everyone!") and a liquor store sign that was undoubtedly animated. Behind them you can see the remains of a eucalyptus windbreak -- a reminder of the agriculture that was rapidly giving way to everything these signs represented.
.
My favorite detail, however, is the wonderful sign for Orange County Plaza. If it were still there today, I'd pull over and admire it every time I was in the neighborhood. I hope the shopping center it advertised was even half as snazzy.

40 comments:

Anonymous said...

Taxing the old memory here but I believe that's chapman ave looking west. My mom used to shop at o.c.plaza, it was at the corner of brookhurst and chapman.

Chris Jepsen said...

Hmmm... The note on the back of the photo led me to believe it was Harbor Blvd. I have amended my post to allow for uncertainty. Thanks. Can anyone verify or clarify further?

colony rabble said...

Well, the Eastgate development is at Valley View and Chapman, so run 2 1/2 miles in Garden Grove and you are roughly Chapman and Beach or Chapman and Dale. Chris do you have that time period in the Directories at the Archives or do you want me to look it up in Anaheim? I know those signs, but drawing a blank on where. Let's go looking for an A and W, etc. clustered together in the directories. Now I HAVE to know....I've been there, I know it...aagh!

itsnotaplace said...

I know that the East Gate park and neighborhood today is basically at Valley View and Chapman... but all the the homes and street names east of Vally view seem similar (similar residential names continue east of Valley View) and seem to end at Knott (where industrial and commercial buildings take over.)

if the "first phase" of eastgate actually started at Chapman and KNott... then go 2.5 miles east on Chapman and you do arrive at the large shopping area at Brookhurst and Chapman (where there is a modern movie theater now). That kinda makes sense, but it depends on if those houses just west of Knott at Chapman were really the first phase of EastGate in the 60s.

okk.. enough speculation for me tonight. :-)

itsnotaplace said...

ok.. maybe not enough speculation...

look at the wide shot. Does the fence line and the buildings on the left seem to be angled in to intersect the main street (not 90 degrees to it... but angling toward it a bit at a 45 to 30 degree angle) It may be hard to tell, or maybe I an reading into it, but if that is what we see there... that could be the edge of the old diagonal red car path that even today is obvious from aerial maps) if that is actually what we are seeing, then this shopping center could be the one at chapman west of brookhurst. because the old red-car route is just west of there.

Chris Jepsen said...

No, I don't have access to directories from that period and area. Look-ups are always appreciated. Meanwhile, I will go back and (again) amend this entry to better match what we know so far. Thanks everyone!

itsnotaplace said...

Here is a google map of the section of Chapman west of Brookhurst, with the photo below it.. and my markings to indicate landmarks that may link to the two. (Red angle indicating my proposed angle of view in the photo.)
http://dregerclock.org/OCplaza.jpg

itsnotaplace said...

Found this posting that mentioned an A&W on Chapman Av in Garden Grove.
http://www.octhen.com/labels/Westminster.htm

Chris Jepsen said...

Got it! Orange County Plaza was on the 9700 block of Chapman Ave. in Garden Grove.

colony rabble said...

Thank you, that was driving me nuts! I remember a shopping center there, with either a Sears or JC Penney, some smaller shops...one of those vague childhood memories, and the sign was haunting me. Funny how that stuff becomes such a part of us. It is a glorified strip mall today. Now tell me, where can I get those milk chocolate star shaped drops they used to sell across the street from that center at the Newbury? Anyone?

xanghe said...

My favorite part is that Liquor signs today look the same as they did 50 years ago. hic

itsnotaplace said...

I shot a quick photo of the location today on the way to work.

It is not a perfect match of the angle... nor did I have a wide enough lens, but I put this page up with the two photos of the street...

http://www.dregerclock.org/history/ocPlaza.htm

the top image is a Flash file that fades from one image to the other matched on the liquor sign that is still there!

also included a close up of the liquor sign's condition today, the new shopping center entrance sign...

and a shameless self-promotion link at the bottom.

:-)

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I remember going to that A&W when I was in high school.
We ditched class one time and went there and ran into a teacher who was ditching too.
It turned into a Tommy's in the 80's and it was good for a while, but went down hill in the 90's.
The liquor store sign used to animate like it was exploding.
A friend of mine worked at the music store across the street in Anaheim Plaza.

Anonymous said...

I grew up in 1960's Eastgate and cannot remember the name of the BAR that was in the Thriftimart Shopping Center. It is driving me CRAZY!!!

Anonymous said...

Chris can you help me!!! I need to remember the name of the bar at the Thriftimart Shopping Center around 1965. In Eastgate. Maybe the something....Knight?? or Roman something???? It was located next to the grocery store and Bank.
THANKS!!

Anonymous said...

Okay, last one for tonight. Eastgate. 1960's. Valley View and Chapman. Shopping Center with a Thriftimart. The BIG T!! What was the name of the BAR in that Center? Anyone???

Anonymous said...

wow. Someone really needs a drink to settle down!

Chris Jepsen said...

Unfortunatly, I don't have a directory handy from the mid-1960s, but here are some potentially relevant businesses in that area from the 1975 Garden Grove directory:

The Golden Ox Restaurant, 11938 Valley View

Sweetpea's Restaurant, 11948 Valley View

Copper Penny Coffee Shop & Cocktail Lounge, 9791 Chapman Ave

And per your reference points...

Thrifimart #67, 11861 Valley View

Bank of America, 11887 Valley View

I couldn't find anything in that area with "Knight" or "Roman" in the name.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for trying, Chris. I may have to find a classmate from Pacifica High School who might have been one of the "babysitters" too! It's worth a try I guess. It's weird how things can stick in your mind from so long ago. I appreciate the info. You've got the right area. And this place was just a little dump. :)as I recall. But I never saw the inside ofcourse.

Chris Jepsen said...

To find your mystery bar, try looking in the directories in the California or Local History section at the Garden Grove Public Library. They have a good collection, and they probably have GG directories from the mid-1960s. Look under "Cocktail Lounges" in the yellow pages section and look for similar addresses on Valley View and Chapman Ave.

Anonymous said...

I will do as you suggested. Thanks so much. You have been a great help. I know I sound like a "wino" but seriously, it was a running joke to all us teenagers who babysat for the mom's who went there when their husbands were at work during the day! HA!

Mistress Babs said...

Thanks for the great picture of OC Plaza, corner of Chapman and Brookhurst (yes, that's definitely the place!). And I love the "googie" look of the sign. I too wish it were still there.
Does anyone remember Belle Isle restaurant (Harbor & Chapman), with enormous portions, where "5 out of 4 eat"?

Plaza Hag said...

Since this is an older post, it may not be read, but I grew up around the intersection of Brookhurst and Chapman and the Plaza was my hangout.

The picture is definitely looking west on Chapman, just west of Brookhurst, and the next cross-street/signal beyond the liquor store is Gilbert. On the opposite side of Chapman was the Womens' Club of GG, which I believe is the building you can see on the far left of the close-up of the Plaza sign. In the 60s, the liquor store was called Chappy's, and my brother and lots of friends worked there, doing home delivery of liquor, if you can believe that (they were 16!) Yes, that is the old Red Car rail line on the left - we used to find pollywogs there. The shopping center on the left that was yet to be built in front of part of the Red Car line included the IHOP "L" strip, the Zody's department store and, closer east to Brookhurst was the Sav-on/ Newberry's center, when Newberry's still had a diner inside (is it gone?) and we would have milkshakes where they left the metal container with the extra left next to your huge glass. Yummy. :)

To the right of the OC Plaza sign were some shops sitting in front of the main strip, which included the Copper Penney restaurant and heading east again towards Brookhurst was Thriftimart, where my other brother worked and my parents always shopped.

My mind is blanking right now on lots of the stores, but then I am old. :)

Love your blog, and thanks for the memories.

MCAS El Toro said...

The Orange County Plaza Shopping Center was built in the late 1950's and, at the time, was one of the largest (if not *the* largest) shopping center in Orange County. I have a list of the original stores at work but off the top of my head, the anchors were the (JC) Penney, Thriftimart, Economart and Grant's. The center declined after 15 years and the plaza was remodeled during Garden Grove's "City Redevelopment" phase in the mid-1970's. It was reconfigured and re-branded as the 'Garden Grove Mall' and given another facelift in the late 80's as the 'Garden Promenade'. About ten years ago the JC Penney building was razed to make way for the current Regal movie theater.

Check back later for more history . . .

Synthetrix said...

Great photos! I remember that sign well.

Billyboy said...

The name of the bar in the Thriftimart shopping center (Eastgate Plaza) at Chapman and Valley View in Garden Grove was................................................The Sea Wolf!

Anonymous said...

This really brings back memories. My mother worked at the Magic Mirror beauty salon in Orange Plaza, so I hung out there during school vacations. I'd get donuts from the donut shop at one end and comic books from the dime store. What was it, Rasco's? I got my cub scout uniforms at WT Grant.

I remember there was a fire at the Copper Penney. The customers all poured out into the parking lot and the firemen stormed in.

A&W across the street had the best taquitos. Well, they were the best then. My sense of taste is about a half century older.

Thanks for the stroll down memory lane!

Anonymous said...

This response might be a couple years late, however Mistress Babs, I remember Belle Isle at Chapman & Harbor. I was young but remembered the large servings. I was telling a friend they've never rebuilt a restaurant on that corner. (regardless what's there now)

brianmbb said...

Plaza Hag; You got it! Your recollections are about spot on with mine. Did you ever go to Savons and get 3 for a dime candy bars or 5cent ice cream cones? I grew up on Melody Park Dr. and the plaza was a quick bike ride away. BAKER,B.

Anonymous said...

I was actually searching for an image of the "Orange County Plaza' sign. I grew up in Garden Grove and walked to that plaza a billion times! If I'd known they would tear down that wonderful googie sign, I would have saved my pennies to buy it. Lots of wonderful memories at that plaza. The 'Plaza Hag' has got it right. That view is facing West looking at the sign on the North side of Chapman. I used to also dine inside the Woolworth's as a kid. Bought my cord jeans at Red Eye as a teen, along with my Hang Ten shirts. We would ride our sting-ray bikes over the mogules on the corner of Gilbert and Chapman next to the Safeway there on the end when it was a dirt lot. Zody's was across the street, and a big treat for our family was getting a huge 2 scoop ice cream cone at Sav-on's (SW corner of Brookhurst & Chapman). I'd get my records at Licorice Pizza (in the SE corner of this Plaza)..... during high school. I still have my Beatles albums that were on sale for 4 bucks each! wow, thanks for having a photo!!

Anonymous said...

I am begining to wonder if you guys ever went down there. All of the bars had Navel themes, the one between W.T. Grants and Thrifty Mart was Sweet Peas and across the streat was The Sea Wolf

Anonymous said...

Y'all can't forget about the Thrifty Drugs, Brownie's Toys, and Thom McAn Shoe store.

Anonymous said...

Chris do you have any pictures of the old Pinnacle Peaks Restaurant on Garden Grove Blvd and Beach Blvd. The Red Barn.

JEFF SWIHART said...

my god.....oh my god.
not one mention of slips cafe.

JEFF SWIHART said...

I have a tie at Pinnacle peaks

JEFF SWIHART said...

I lived on dudman...a short bike ride to the big T

what is is said...

Weird to read this stuff. I grew up in Eastgate from the time it was built, on Santa Barbara St. I could see the Big T from my yard, and later they built an Alpha Beta across the street. I watched it go up. I remember a few times they had a couple dancing on the top of a tall pole on a tiny round platform, publicity gimmick I think. And the Navy jets from Los Al circled round and round all day long, with their sonic booms. One of the other stores over there, btw, was Grants. So fun to see that OC sign! Thanks!!!

what is is said...

I also remember Belle Isles well. It was still around in the '80s and I had the good fortune to take my daughters there a few times when they were young. BIG food! LOL!

what is is said...

Remember the missile silos down Chapman near the junior highschool? And that big radar installation that all us kids called the 'giant golfball'? Right there in the middle of the burbs. Crazy!

Anonymous said...

was it the 'Jolly Knight' Restaurant on Garden Grove Blvd. that you were asking about?