In the 60s and 70s, we typically shopped in Montrose and La Crescenta. Once in a while, however, we’d make a trip downtown to the big city – Glendale. Heading south towards downtown, we’d pass landmarks like the “Keyhole” swimming pool, Pikes Verdugo Oaks and the International House of Pancakes.
Near the IHOP was a supermarket with a very distinctive sign. Do you remember Thriftimart? Do you remember the red, 40-foot-tall “T” that stood atop the store as the company’s logo? In 1984, Thriftimart merged its remaining stores into Smart & Final. The Glendale location is now a Vons supermarket.
Across the street was one of two great toy stores in Glendale. Do you remember Pfeiffer’s Toys? Pfeiffer’s was a long, warehouse of a store with two tiers of shelves crammed with toys. The building today now houses the Verdugo Hills Urgent Care center. A few blocks south, at the corner of California and Geneva, was another large toy store. Do you remember Litchfield’s Toys? Owned and operated by the local Litchfield family, the store closed years ago and the building is now home to GlenPro Beauty Center.
The Glendale Fashion Center was home to the one department store that wasn’t located in Glendale’s main shopping district. Do you remember J.W. Robinson’s? The Fashion Square also held numerous smaller shops and Churchill’s restaurant. Robinson’s eventually moved to the Glendale Galleria and the Fashion Square began a slow decline, playing host to various establishments including two nightclubs. Do you remember Happy Daze or In Cahoots?
Another regular stop in Glendale was Sears at Central and California. While Sears still looks the same on the outside, the inside has changed. Besides the toy department, Sears’ basement used to include something else kids went crazy for. Do you remember the candy counter? Sears had an old-fashioned candy counter where they sold candy, popcorn and warm nuts by the pound. The furniture department was also fun. Do you remember playing “house” in the little “rooms” of furniture? In those days, if you were hungry, you didn’t have to leave the store. Do you remember the little coffee shop inside Sears?
Another coffee shop was located on the first floor of the Glendale Federal Savings building on Brand. Do you remember Du-par’s? Known for their breakfasts and fresh fruit pies, Du-par’s has been around for over 70 years. While Du-par’s and Glendale Federal are gone, the building still stands as a prime example of mid-century modern architecture. Do you remember when Glendale Federal Savings was the tallest building in Glendale?
For an ice-cream soda, malt, or hot fudge sundae, there was the soda fountain at the “dime store.” Do you remember the S.H. Kress 5-10-25 Cent Store? Kress was known for their “affordable, durable and cheerful domestic merchandise,” as well as their soda fountain.
After a day of shopping, it was time to head home to the relative quiet of Montecito Park. Do you remember when downtown Glendale, with its wide boulevards and “skyscraper,” seemed a lifetime away from the Crescenta Valley?