Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Mystery shopping center and more Capistrano

I'm posting another mystery image today. I'm stumped, but perhaps you can tell me exactly what (and where) we're looking at here. First a few hints,... This 1961 photo, from Planning Dept records in the Orange County Archives, was probably taken in north or central Orange County. Businesses in the shopping center include a Sprouse-Reitz five-and-dime store, a Shopping Bag supermarket (purchased by Vons in 1966), and a Standard/Chevron gas station. There also appears to be a "Chan's" or perhaps "Chin's" Restaurant on the far right side of the image - but I could be mis-reading that sign. Any light you can shed would be appreciated. [Update: See "comments" for the answer.]
A tour of San Juan Capistrano's historic Los Rios District and the Michael Graves-designed city library (a.k.a. "Casa de Claustrophobia") will be held Saturday, May 17, 11am-3pm. Tickets are $10 and are available through the SJC Library, 31495 El Camino Real, and at City Hall. The 2-hour tour will include historical displays and re-enactments. Proceeds will go to the city's Historic Preservation Fund.
Things are extra busy here this week, so I may miss a few posts. If I do, it's not from lack of interest. I really look forward these nightly blog entries and, more importantly, to your comments and insights. For the record, sometime within the next week I'll be posting more of that 1957 Disneyland footage.


Dave said...

Chris - I love these vintage commercial scenes you've been posting lately!

I did a post on my site recently about the California Fazio's stores (which were former Shopping Bags), and a reader was kind enough to send me a list of store addresses from the early 70's, many of which were built in the previous 20 years. Based on the list, and a few quick entries on Windows Live Local, I'll guess that the Shopping Bag was the one located at 1845 W. Orangethorpe in Fullerton, near the Brookhurst intersection. Just a guess.

And thanks for the link to my site! I've done the same for yours.

Chris Jepsen said...

So can any of you North-Countians confirm or deny Dave's best guess?

I remember Fazio's only slightly. I believe Vons ultimately took them over. I know the one near us became a Vons. The change in management was defintely a step down in quality. Now that Vons is part of Safeway, we've had yet ANOTHER step down in quality.

Butthead (friend of Beavis) was right: "The more things change, the more they suck."

Dave: Many thanks! You have a very cool site there! Now how can I get a larger image of the Alphy statue in your avatar/icon thingamabob?

Bulldog 24 said...

In 1975 at the north west corner of Orangethorpe and Brookhurst in the City of Fullerton was a Chevron Service Station a Strip Mall and a Grocery store. All depicted in the photo, strip mall stores, market and the mall footprint match to what I remember there in 1975. The two story building of the strip mall was a Bank of America branch. The only difference is the Cafe became an Owl Rexall Drug Store, tall orange front like the cafe had in place at the time of the photo. The Chevron is now a Starbucks.. go figure. I vote for Fullerton.

Publius said...

I looked on historicaerials.com (addicting!) for this intersection. Found the oldest photograph of this area is from 1972. Clearly shows a gas station with building diagonal to the intersection and the shadow of a tall sign.
I'm guessing it is Brookhurst/Orangehorpe.
Keep the mystery shots coming!

Chris Jepsen said...

Thanks Bulldog and Publius! Now I finally know how to file that image!

Bulldog 24 said...

I ran the photo by two of my old partners and HANDS DOWN it is Brookhurst and Orangethorpe. One even had meals at the cafe while living nearby. The Standard Service Station was owned by a William Birchit who was a Fullerton Policeman. The Market is now a 99 Cent store.

Chris Jepsen said...

Wow! Thanks Bulldog! When I go into the Archives tomorrow I will mark that photo accordingly and file it where researchers can make the best use of it! Your help is greatly appreciated. And thank your old partners for me too!

Dave said...

Chris - Thanks, and no problem! It's always fun in a case like this (especially with great tools like Windows Live Local and Google Earth) when you can identify a specific old building pretty easily. Despite many remodels and retail tenant changes, the footprint, as Bulldog says, has stayed pretty much the same.

I'll email you a larger file of the Alphy photo.

Carma Bartolotti Walsh said...

I remember this shopping center very clearly. My mother did all her marketing at Shopping Bag. There was at one time a record store with a "listening booth" in about the middle of the strip. Our family doctor, Irving Mehlmann, MD, had an office behind the Owl Rexall Drug store. When you filled your prescription at Owl Drug, you got a free ice cream cone that was hand-dipped by the pharmacist! This was about 1960-1963. I recall that inside Shopping Bag, there were windows up near the roof where offices were located and management had a birds-eye view of what was going on. There was a barber shop near Owl Drug; my brother got his first haircut there. Also, a shoe store 2 or 3 doors down from Shopping Bag. Everything our family needed could be found in one or another of the stores other than hardware. (Linbrook Hardware was the remedy for our hardware needs.) This photo is a perfect match to my memories of this shopping center.

Adam said...

I agree this is the intersection of Orangethorpe and Brookhurst in Fullerton. Irving Mehlman was my doctor as well growing up in this neighborhood! The Sprouse Reitz became a Chuck E. Cheese later on.

Lorraine M said...

You've got it right my friend. I grew up not to far from there (magnolia & LA palma).