Claycord Online Museum – The Old Sunvalley Mall

June 10, 2014 14:00 pm · 64 comments


Remember when Sunvalley looked like that?

During this time, the food court at the Sunvalley Mall was considered one of the best in the country, and the mall was also the only air conditioned mall in the World, with a set temperature of a cool 72-degrees.

ABOUT THE CLAYCORD ONLINE MUSEUM: The Claycord Online Museum is made up of historical photos, documents & anything else that has to do with the history of our area.

If you have any old photos or items that you’d like to place in the Claycord Online Museum, just scan or take a photo of them, and send them to the following address: It doesn’t matter what it is, even if it’s just an old photo of your house, a scan of an old advertisement or an artifact that you’d like us to see, send it in and we’ll put it online!

Click on the tag below titled “Claycord Online Museum” to view other items!

gimli June 10, 2014 at 2:08 PM

Which shade of brown do you prefer? Yeah, I think I’ll go with wood paneling as an interior design idea.

Horse n around June 10, 2014 at 2:22 PM

I remember the old bird cages. I think they were full of parakeets. And the fountains that you could throw your money in.

Old Gringo June 10, 2014 at 2:26 PM

I wish they would bring back another food court. Those were the good old days!

kinda old guy June 10, 2014 at 2:32 PM

When I was in grade school at Most Precious Blood we went to the movies by the ice rink. One of the kids climbed up ant sat on the chicken. Sister was not happy. The guy’s nickname was “Iron Chicken” all through high school.

Cynthia June 10, 2014 at 2:34 PM

Back in the day! 70’s get dropped off, walk the mall, movie, food at food court, ice skating. Picked up by parents. Sunvalley Mall was THE happening place!

Bishop Estates June 10, 2014 at 2:36 PM

That was when the Mall was a great place! Movie Theater, Ice Rink, Food Court. it was great, Mom would drop us off at the Movies while she shopped, it was a win win!
I personally think the Mall has gone down hill and hate to go there.

Greg in Pleasant Hill June 10, 2014 at 2:37 PM

Saw a double feature of Die Hard and Young Guns at Sun Valley Cinema in 1988. Anyone remember Union Jack’s fish & chips? So many memories here.

DD June 10, 2014 at 2:45 PM

The patrons seemed to be a little more well dressed back then. All of a sudden I’ve got a hankering’ for an Orange Julius.

mom June 10, 2014 at 2:53 PM

Pies! I’m craving pies …

Pro Fi June 10, 2014 at 2:58 PM

@ Greg – YES! I was the asst. manager of the cinema at the time! Thanks for the flashback of my misspent youth 😉

mutts June 10, 2014 at 3:04 PM

Another food court sounds good til you realize that bad behavior is now prevalent.

Barbosa June 10, 2014 at 3:05 PM

I’m a little older than most of y’all. I remember as kid we would get dressed to go shopping at a nice mall or to downtown Oakland or SF. Mom would put on a nice dress, with pearl necklace, white gloves, and hat.

Times, they are a changing

Schmee June 10, 2014 at 3:16 PM

I think there were bears back then in concord too they prob wandered into the mall from time to time to check out the food court.

What security June 10, 2014 at 3:21 PM

Yes, the good ol days, food courts, a movie.
Then comes the outsiders, drugs, gangs rift raft and problems.

Concord people good Outsider usually bad for the community

Smart,Goodlooking&Debonaire June 10, 2014 at 3:24 PM

that was a great era from what I’ve heard. Well before certain changes of a demographic sort began to take root and, well…you know the rest.

Smart,Goodlooking&Debonaire June 10, 2014 at 3:27 PM

I’ve yet to see an area that has been improved from “cultural” changes. Always the opposite. Will Concord become another Antioch? only time will tell, but Im not optimistic.

Silvs June 10, 2014 at 3:28 PM

Barbosa, I too remember having to dress and wear little white gloves to go to Oakland!

Dresses June 10, 2014 at 3:38 PM

The majority of the women were wearing dresses while shopping. People used to dress up to go to the mall. I remember those days. We even used to dress up to go to the hardware store and feed store.

warbirds45 June 10, 2014 at 3:43 PM

Better times, better people! The ice rink, the movie theater, you could spend the whole day at the Mall.

The Mamba June 10, 2014 at 4:00 PM

People still dress up to go to the mall. I saw some people at Sun Valley last weekend that made quite an impression.

Michelle June 10, 2014 at 4:04 PM

Yes, I remember those days. We had to dress up to go anywhere, especially to the Mall; times have really changed.

Dorothy June 10, 2014 at 4:08 PM

When we moved to the East Bay from SF in the early 80’s, I was delighted to find an ice skating rink there.

Chalkboy8 June 10, 2014 at 4:09 PM

I used to get the movies an hour early to be the first person to buy tickets for the Swiss Family Robinson / Old Yeller double feature.

Remember Toy World. B. Dalton Books used to be next to See’s Candy which is where Abercrombie is.

Tom June 10, 2014 at 4:44 PM

Did women dress up to go to the mall, or did women wear dresses all the time, and they ended up at the mall?

I don’t remember my Mom dressing up to go to the mall, even when she shopped upscale. We were taught to “scale it down and blend in.” Main stream America is middle class.

I do remember SunValley looking like this. We weren’t too far away.

Specksynder June 10, 2014 at 5:10 PM

I remember seeing Conan the Barbarian there. Wasn’t there a statue of a big Buddha?

Atticus Thraxx June 10, 2014 at 5:37 PM

Me too Silvs, but I bet it was for different reasons. 😉

Silva June 10, 2014 at 6:15 PM

Tom, that was all history by the time the mall was built, but around here through the early ’60s we dressed up for a trip downtown. It didn’t occur to me to ask why. Everyone just did it. People were always well dressed there for some reason. It was how you blended in.

Silva June 10, 2014 at 6:27 PM

Oh, and when I started in Lafayette School, much to my dismay, it was REQUIRED that girls wear a dress every day. My private school in Berkeley allowed us all to wear pants. I was born too late to start kindergarten in public school. Most moms stayed home and dads worked. There was no such thing as daycare or preschool.

Silva June 10, 2014 at 6:32 PM

Oh, Atticus Thraxx!! That was not the way to blend in.

Smart,Goodlooking&Debonaire June 10, 2014 at 6:33 PM

Just wondering if they had thought police back then evaluating a person’s comments to be sure those comments were sufficiently politically correct.

Big Al June 10, 2014 at 7:37 PM

Cessna 159 com’n in for a landing.

nytemuvr June 10, 2014 at 7:48 PM

My parents always dressed me and my little brother up the same……what was with that?

judas priest June 10, 2014 at 10:17 PM

geez the corn snake were so good at the food court yum!

Vindex June 10, 2014 at 10:40 PM

Mayor… Can you find out if the Disney store is coming back to the mall? It looks like it is undergoing renovations or is gone after more than 20 years at the mall.

bunny June 10, 2014 at 10:47 PM

Yes, but people forget how much the same everything was. Women and girls didn’t have the choices they have now. Wish we could have the changes we like and not the ones we don’t like really bad drugs everywhere, people being rude and selfish. We got gates on our community a year ago and we still have trouble keeping undesireables out. Anyone remember private property? My folks back east have the same problems. They never had gates on their private property. People outside wouldn’t come in unless they were guests. Now the locals come in use the private beach and leave their trash everywhere. Some of the place is gated off. It won’t be long before the front is closed up,too. Then the city buses will stop outside and the older folk will have to hump up to the service road to get the bus summer and winter. That’s just the way it is. Everyone has rights but not necessarily responsibility.

Shopper June 10, 2014 at 10:58 PM

A little birdie told me there will be a food court in the mall area where the recently closed Sports Authority was located.

Smart,Goodlooking&Debonaire June 11, 2014 at 6:13 AM

I often think of the good old days of the USA. Back when, and it seems like a long time ago, we respected hard work, personal responsibility and success. Things have sure changed.

Silva June 11, 2014 at 6:19 AM

Anyone remember ice skating at the rink in Walnut Creek?

April June 11, 2014 at 7:53 AM

Dear #15, #16, and #30 – You are so right. How dare people show themselves in a public mall while having non-white skin. Someone should put a stop to that immediately. I bet you would be happy to help with that, but all the damn liberals stole your guns, right?

Be careful June 11, 2014 at 8:31 AM

I heard that Disney was closing all of it’s mall stores and will still have a the store in SF and other maor cities

Silva – yes I remember the ice rink in WC…the roof leaked and it smelled like old feet. Took sakting lessons there when I was 6-7 then it closed because the one in Sun Valley opened

Bunny – it is sad to say but nobody has respect for anyones property anymore. The ” urban ghetto mentallity” has become mainstream. Common courtesy and even work ethic have gone down the toilet. It is “me me me”. Sad state this country is in

Concord1963 June 11, 2014 at 8:43 AM

@Silva #38: No, but I remember roller skating in Walnut Creek.

MissTheGoodOldDays June 11, 2014 at 8:43 AM

I remember when the mall and other places were nice. The mall was a nice place to window shop, have lunch and catch a movie. For a treat, our parents would get us all orange Juliuses. Wow, those were good. I used to frequent the bookstores. Since no one reads anymore, the bookstores are all extinct. Very sad. I remember when we were all respectful and had to take responsbility for our actions and were disciplined when we acted up. I feel very lucky to have grown up back then. I feel sorry for the youth of today who have not been taught or disciplined and care nothing for anyone or anything but themselves. They lack humanity and have lost their souls. It’s a tragedy to see the youngsters and young adults of today acting like barbarians and treating others so bad. What’s really sad is seeing how many commit crimes and don’t seem to care about what they’ve done. The only thing they care about is getting caught. I’m not sure what will happen to change the poor quality of America’s youth, but something will have to change. The world will not get better only worse if this continues.

BillyBob June 11, 2014 at 9:00 AM

now its all sneaker stores and baby clothes. what does that tell you?

BillyBob June 11, 2014 at 9:03 AM

lets lure tech companies to concord. raise the property values and rent and push out the undesirables. let them exodus to antioch.

foonman June 11, 2014 at 10:02 AM

It was nicer then….now I only visit Sears,Macys, and Penneys but the rest isn’t worth looking at. Did I just end a sentence with a preposition?

Smart,Goodlooking&Debonaire June 11, 2014 at 11:10 AM

can someone who has lived during the earlier days of Claycord, such as in the picture above of Sunvalley Mall, actually make the claim that the cultural changes have made the area a better place for families in terms of quality of life? I sincerely doubt it, unless you are being intellectually dishonest.

Carol June 11, 2014 at 11:11 AM

Used to love the ice skating rink on hot summer days. My first job was at Sears at Sunvalley Mall. I worked in the catalog department – the old school version of online shopping. Loved to take a dinner break at work and go to The Magic Pan for crepes!

Mr. Pink June 11, 2014 at 12:05 PM

It’s sad when places that were once nice and wholesome have become the stomping ground for thugs and lowlifes.

That sentiment could be applied to most everywhere nowadays.

Silva June 11, 2014 at 1:55 PM

#40, Me too! Perhaps a wee bit earlier. I remember the smell being different, but not that bad, and I didn’t know about the roof.

#41, like in a rink?

Silva June 11, 2014 at 2:24 PM

#46, buzz off.

Smart,Goodlooking&Debonaire June 11, 2014 at 2:46 PM

@Silva,#49: I would like to ask the moderator to please remove the threatening and intimidating comment from Silva, comment #50. After all, that is what moderators are for. thank you.

Shelly June 11, 2014 at 2:59 PM

The Orange Julius’s were good. Goodness knows what was in them.

Smart,Goodlooking&Debonaire June 11, 2014 at 3:18 PM

@Shelly,#52: Goodness knows what was in them? well, usually, an orange julius has orange juice, milk, sugar, a little vanilla and ice cubes.

Marianne June 11, 2014 at 3:22 PM

Antler, I remember the catalogue dept very well; and standing in line to pick up your order. One of the things that I didn’t like were some of the cuts of the hems of the pants. They were much wider than anticipated and most customers had to wait in line just to return them. Very sad especially as time goes on.

Anon2you June 11, 2014 at 3:24 PM

The Sunvalley Mall was the “day care” center for teens back then. We would go in the morning and leave at night, and then go again the next day. Seems like a million years ago now. Definitely a different world back then, than it is today. I wouldn’t dream of dropping my kid off for the DAY at a Mall these days…

Mac June 11, 2014 at 6:29 PM

I lived on Shirley Dr. right across the street (growing up)
So this place was my hang out.
I love seeing old photos of this place.
And i remember each item.

The town was so mellow back then.

Old Pleasant Hill was a cool place

Wyatt June 12, 2014 at 9:41 AM

All i see is pregnant teenage latina’s and gangbanger boyfriend pants sagging in that mall.

The Good Old Days June 12, 2014 at 8:31 PM

Yes, I will have to say that the culture differences have made Concord much worse than they were. All those latino gang bangers with their baby mamas coming in looking like they always want to rob you make the SunValley Mall an unsafe place. Imagine that – when the mall use to be safe!!! I remember when the mall was the safest place to go for a kid after school!!

But my friends, it is not just happening in Concord around SunValley. Look at downtown Walnut Creek. The “undesirables” are everywhere.

The Good Old Days June 12, 2014 at 8:31 PM

Hey Silva: you buzz off!!!!

The Veteran June 12, 2014 at 8:34 PM

**News flash** Latinas just moved in upstairs already starting to make too much noise like this is the barrio. And I am living in Walnut Creek.

Silva June 12, 2014 at 10:11 PM

Oh well okay then.

Mac June 13, 2014 at 7:15 PM

Veteran…. You can`t say “And i live in Walnut Creek”… because Walnut Creek is ghetto now.

Funny how people will not admit it, but Walnut Creek is no where near what it was.

Living in the past people

Creighton June 14, 2014 at 10:11 AM

Yeah… so I’m all for nostalgia… but let’s not perpetuate urban legends in what we’re going to call an “online museum.”

Sun Valley most definitely was not the world’s first and only air-conditioned mall. Enclosed climate controlled malls were an invention of the mid-50’s, of which at least 10 were built in the US prior to the opening of Sun Valley in 1967.

Atticus Thraxx June 14, 2014 at 10:17 AM

Well I’m glad somebody got to the bottom of that Creighton. I had a rough night sleeping agonizing over it. Bullet dodged.

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