The Claycord Online Museum – Park-N-Shop Back in the 1950s

March 12, 2018 14:00 pm · 84 comments

Believe it or not, that’s the Park-N-Shop shopping center on Willow Pass Rd. in Concord.

Click on the image to see a larger version.

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!

Bill Cutting March 12, 2018 at 2:17 PM

Look no trash or crime what changed? Hmmm think hard

Buck March 12, 2018 at 5:25 PM

Yep sad what it has become back then we as kids had parents with morals that taught us respect.

mtzman March 12, 2018 at 5:46 PM

So, Buck, when you kids became parents why didn’t your kids have parents with morals that taught them respect?

Badge1104 March 12, 2018 at 5:55 PM

Yes, it was a clean and nice place then! Very nice! Now it is dirty and dumpy with s c a r y people around.

Oh Yeah March 12, 2018 at 2:21 PM

Yep, used to go there with my siblings and friends to do all of our Christmas shopping. Parents would drop us off at one end (JC Penny’s?) and give us a few hours to shop, then pick us up at the other end. That’s when it was safe to do that with kids!

Anonymous March 12, 2018 at 2:40 PM

It looks so much better now!

Dorie March 12, 2018 at 9:11 PM

What have you been smoking, park n shop is disgusting and should be torn down

nytemuvr March 12, 2018 at 2:44 PM

Cool picture, I’d say ’59 or later. There’s a parked Corvair just to the left of the telephone pole, first model year for them was ’60.

nytemuvr March 12, 2018 at 5:26 PM

1960 Ford Falcon going west behind the turning ’58 Chevy. West to East, I can make out Harris Carpet, Flying A gas station, Shell station, Foster’s Freeze, JC Penney, Rhodes, Rodeman & Elaine (?), Mayfair Market, Woolworth, Grants, Chick’s Donuts, PS Liquors, loan company and Wards catalogue store. You can see the top of the gravel storage plant on Market St. and behind the photographer would have been pear orchards. Nice two-toned ’58 Buick Roadmaster, closest car in the parking lot. An imbedded childhood vision, for sure.

It March 12, 2018 at 9:12 PM

Parked next to the Corvair, that looks like a two-toned 1955 Buick with the chrome “bullets” above the bumper

RunnerDope March 12, 2018 at 10:36 PM

Probably ’60 or ’61. 680 was built in 1961 and I see no sign of it.

RunnerDope March 12, 2018 at 10:40 PM


Wasn’t the JC Penney at the west end where the theater eventually went in? There was a very similar one in Broadway Plaza in WC. You could have your shoe size checked without taking off your shoes using an X-ray machine. Of course, you’d never be able to have kids. 🙁

Silva March 12, 2018 at 2:51 PM

Looks a lot like it did in the early 70s, too. Just different cars.

Awesome... March 12, 2018 at 3:05 PM

What an awesome picture. If you notice you can almost tell what make every car is. Back then every car had their own style. Now-a-days most cars all look similar. Thanks for the look back.

Silly Putty March 12, 2018 at 3:13 PM

Overall it’s still rather a dumpy place.

Kirkwood March 12, 2018 at 3:26 PM

Nice pic. Looks like a brand new ’58 Chevy making the turn.. Sometime after that the City put in a median and planted a row of flowering pear trees. They bloomed profusely every spring. Don’t know why the City took them out several years ago.

Sign from Above March 12, 2018 at 3:59 PM

Back when it was a decent place to go. It’s a dump now!

NoMoreFreeRide March 12, 2018 at 4:25 PM


Antler March 12, 2018 at 9:40 PM

The best hot dogs in town!

Brig March 12, 2018 at 4:36 PM

Can’t we just go back to a better tine!

Brig March 12, 2018 at 4:37 PM

Can’t we just go back to a better time!

Shoulda Coulda March 12, 2018 at 4:48 PM

Back when King Norman’s Wonderland
was the original “Happiest Place on Earth”
for us kids.

Jimbo March 12, 2018 at 4:55 PM

Do a YouTube search for King Norman’s Wonderland. It was on the part of the center where McDonald’s is now. Mid 50s, the train is at Pixieland now. Parents used to take me there.

Shoulda Coulda March 12, 2018 at 8:45 PM

Thanks Jimbo. Very cool.
I loved to ride the tractors.
Do you recall the Park-N-Shop radio jingle.

Lorelei March 12, 2018 at 4:55 PM

I appreciate all the different ethnic eateries there!

CSS March 12, 2018 at 5:04 PM

Back when it was just black and white and better…

Kentucky Derby March 12, 2018 at 5:11 PM

Park N Shop looked like this for years. Used to be a nice place to shop. All that traffic on Willow Pass.

Smith March 12, 2018 at 5:14 PM

The Park Shop sign had the big revolving “C” and was illuminated at night. Grants had a great little hot dog stand it was next to Chick’s Donut,

SF oh March 12, 2018 at 6:12 PM

Haha – I remember all of those things too. Going there was a treat when I was a kid.

paul March 12, 2018 at 5:15 PM

Its a dumpy place, you all have it right!

wave March 12, 2018 at 5:39 PM

Was not born in 1959!

Gitittogether March 12, 2018 at 5:50 PM

What a great picture of the hills….must have been a great place for kids to roam/hunt (pre-development).

Gator March 12, 2018 at 6:08 PM

What’s that thing down the road before it curves? I guess where 242 stands now?

WC resident March 12, 2018 at 9:16 PM

I’m not sure what you mean by “before it curves.” It’s not visible in the photo but after the curve was the Southern Pacific railroad line. There was a golf course on the west side of the railroad.

Highway 24 was built in the lats 1960s parallel to the railroad tracks.That section of highway 24 was later renamed to Highway 242. The railroad tracks were torn up in the late 1970s with much of it turned into the Iron Horse Trail.

Waterworld (now called Six Flags) was built where the golf course was.

RunnerDope March 12, 2018 at 10:32 PM

That’s a building on the southwest corner of Market and WP. It was a Kawasaki dealership for a while. I can’t remember all the different businesses that were there.

The golf course was behind the Concord Inn. I don’t think it was that close to the railroad tracks.

nytemuvr March 13, 2018 at 1:04 AM

Yeah, it was JC Penney’s before the theater and the Kawasaki dealership was originally Harris Carpets.

Kirkwood March 13, 2018 at 10:14 AM

WC resident – Actually, Waterworld sits on land formerly occupied by the sewage treatment plant. About 1976 the plant shut down, and the ponds were filled with dirt from the adjacent creek. The plant was replaced by a pumping station. There were also ponds across the creek where the Hilton Hotel is now, where the water received final treatment and discharged into the creek.

bye bye bay March 12, 2018 at 6:22 PM

What a dump is it now. Ghetto shopping center of Concord now

They should rename it to Park and get Robbed.

Maybe Park and Shoplift.

Park and Shoot.

Amy March 12, 2018 at 9:15 PM

You are too funny!

marinemom March 12, 2018 at 6:45 PM

Just past Grants you can see the top of the Concord coliseum.

Silva March 12, 2018 at 9:11 PM

That’s where it was? In Park n Shop?

nytemuvr March 12, 2018 at 10:41 PM

That was Mayfair Market, Concord Coliseum was on Salvio, a block in front of the turning Chevy, behind P ‘n S. Purity grocery store turned into the Coliseum.

Wydler March 12, 2018 at 7:30 PM

How long was the commute to SF in a 58 Chevy?

Cup of Joe March 12, 2018 at 7:31 PM

We were in Joanne fabrics yesterday and it is fine. Go there everyday with my wife, she literally spends a couple hundred a day in that place. Parking was easy, no riff raff around either. Felt perfectly safe around there, of course the sun was still out.

Chubby March 12, 2018 at 7:50 PM

I’m looking at that ginormous water tank-looking thing in the hills. Just to the right of Willow Pass and up in the hills. If that’s still there, it must be obscured by trees and houses?

WC resident March 12, 2018 at 9:31 PM

Yes, that’s a Contra Costa Water district reservoir. It’s still there and is at,-122.077511

The water district has many reservoirs in the area that intended to provide water and water pressure in the event of an earthquake. They can also provide emergency water should something come up that prevents them from using the main canal or filter plant.

Chubby March 13, 2018 at 6:54 AM


Really? March 12, 2018 at 8:06 PM

We moved here in 1963, I was 3 at the time. I remember getting shoes from WT Grants that were Chuck Taylor Converse knock offs. Instead of a circle with a star on the side it had a circle with WTG on it. I would peel it off so it would look like Chuck Taylors that had the star worn off. I look back now and realize my parents were making the most of what little money they had, I never new just how poor we were. Thanks Mom and Dad, those were the best of times!!!

Bee March 12, 2018 at 8:09 PM

What was the name of that steakhouse on willow pass road across from what is now airport home appliance. It’s a buffet now. Thanks in advance.

Bee March 12, 2018 at 8:29 PM

Hungry Hunter. That was the spot.

RunnerDope March 12, 2018 at 10:34 PM

It was Tia Maria’s in the mid ’70s. Just west of that there was a restaurant named Henry the 8th at the same time.

Fritzhugh Ludlow March 12, 2018 at 8:46 PM

Where that car is turning left is right on top of the Concord Fault…in heavy rainfall years a spring still leaks water there all summer…Don Salvio Pacheco started the whole thing by building His Adobe Home on the high ground caused by the Earthquake Fault.

RunnerDope March 12, 2018 at 11:04 PM

The Concord fault runs under Systron Donner where I worked for 11 years. It also runs right under the BART tracks on Galindo.

THE ANIMAL March 12, 2018 at 9:09 PM

Back before Concord went down the toilet…………………….

Reality March 12, 2018 at 10:00 PM

Such a boring time then. Thank God for diversity

Dr Jellyfinger March 12, 2018 at 10:01 PM

Gee whiz! It all looks so neeto keen! I wish I could go back in time & bop around the old Concord…. that would be swell…. but they’d probably get wise to me for my being so sophisticated…. futuristic like and all that jazz….
Might figure me to be a Commie or some kinda Crack Pot!
Geez…. now that I think about it … people already do that to me here in the 21st century.

Abbie R. March 12, 2018 at 11:40 PM

In December of 1963 Park and Shop had a open air “Santa Bus” that took My Family on a ride around the Shopping center, and Santa proudly proclaimed that “President Kennedy stood right on this spot of the bus in 1960!” …also took our family’s “K.O. Polio” sugar cubes at a Park and Shop drive through event in 1962……see the book “Dr. Mary’s Monkees” for the health hazards of those sugar cubes .

Smith March 13, 2018 at 4:36 AM

I got my sugar cube (Polio vaccination) there also, They handed them out like a drive through

Badge1104 March 13, 2018 at 7:41 AM

actually people in that day at that shopping center were much classier and had better manners better speech and better education then now. don’t flatter yourself that you’re better than them. Concord was on top of his game then and so was American society. I read somewhere, recently that the average high school grad 1963 is more proficient than today’s college grad

JustMe March 12, 2018 at 10:03 PM

I was looking at the picture, and I realized I never noticed the hills before when I’m at the Park N Shop.

But when I started thinking about it, there’s tall buildings just beyond that probably block the view.

I have to admit, I rarely go to Park N Shop anymore, but when I was growing up, I do have memories of the theater there and Woolworths. The theater was showing second run movies… I remember seeing Tron, Pale Rider, and Labyrinth there. There was that long escalator ride to the second floor. The theater was run down, mostly empty, and I remember the popcorn not tasting all the great, but it was still fun back then.

I seem to recall an Emil Villa’s also being there

WC resident March 12, 2018 at 10:03 PM

I’d still like to know what the official name of the mall was. The old sign has “Park” “Shop”. Today at the corner of Market and Willow Pass it says “Park & Shop”. Many people say “Park-N-Shop”. I’m hoping to someone will find either a grand opening article about the mall or one of the early advertisements.

Shoulda Coulda March 13, 2018 at 12:20 AM

I recall it being called Park-N-Shop. It was a new
mobile age when ya could hop in your car and
drive to one of the first big shopping centers
in our area. I recall the radio commercial jingle
that went- (All sing along) 🎵
“Let’s go down to the Park-N-Shop and push the
cart around, around”. “You get a lot more for your
money there, than anyplace else in town”.

Silva March 13, 2018 at 7:20 AM

We came to Concord after living a decade in Lafayette, and we shopped in Walnut Creek, and Pleasant Hill (Monkey Wards and Sunvalley), but we’d never heard of Park-N-Shop before landing here. Anyhoo, that’s what it was known as in 1971, and I always thought Park-N-Shop was the original name. I don’t remember how the “N” got in the name in my head. Word of mouth by local denizens?

WC resident March 13, 2018 at 10:14 AM

Thank you Shoulda. It’s amazing how radio jingles can be remembered.

JustMe March 13, 2018 at 10:28 AM

That’s an excellent question, I always remember it being called the Park N Shop, but you’re right the tower didn’t seem to have an “N”

Perhaps it was on print ads? I don’t recall where that came from.

Silva March 12, 2018 at 10:24 PM

In some ways I think it’s better now. I like the parking lot trees. It just needs the “C” back.

Antler March 13, 2018 at 8:06 AM

I miss Liberty House. It was a full two stories in the space where Joann’s is now.

Silva March 13, 2018 at 10:41 AM

I agree Antler, Liberty House was a good store. That was what drew us to the center. I’ll never forget the lavender crushed velvet bathing suit that caught my eye, then waited for me all summer till I wheedled it out of my mom. It was outrageously expensive and a very nice suit. And after shopping, on to the pie place! It was a whole education in pie.

Cowellian March 13, 2018 at 10:54 AM

The City, in its infinite wisdom, passed height restrictions that mandated the removal of the iconic “C”. Go figure!

I’m trying to imagine a crushed velvet swimsuit. Could you actually wear it into the water? I would think it would really weigh you down when wet.

Silva March 13, 2018 at 11:40 AM

They need to put the “C” back on.

It looked remarkably like luxurious crushed velvet, but it wasn’t the real McCoy. Lightweight polyester or something not too bulky, and it was a stretchy fabric. It was a great suit.

Kirkwood March 13, 2018 at 11:41 AM

Cowellian – I believe the new city sign ordinance was going to cause the entire tower to be removed. There was also fear of potential earthquake damage. In an end run, the owners decide on removing the signage, beefing up the base, installing colored neon tubes, and calling it a sculpture, exempting it from the sign ordinance.

Right Here Right Now March 13, 2018 at 3:05 AM

I think Chick’s Donuts is the only place still there. I could be wrong though…

Ricardus March 13, 2018 at 7:44 AM

Anyone notice the crazy songbirds in the Park-N-Shop Parking lot? They hang out between the Starbucks and the Ranch 99. They remind me of the Hitchcock movie, The Birds… and when they sing it’s like THX!

Paririe Girl March 13, 2018 at 8:44 AM

No tall buildings in sight!

Chester K. Kitty March 13, 2018 at 9:36 AM

I love this picture! Great memories from when I was a kid in the 60s!! Grants, Woolworths, Rhodes, Smorgy Boys ….

Marianne March 13, 2018 at 10:22 AM

Some of these comments really make me smile. Park and shop was a classy place.

Cowellian March 13, 2018 at 10:31 AM

I always enjoyed the varieties of the restaurants in Park-N-Shop. I’ve long since forgotten the name, but I loved getting Shawarma from that Mediterranean place. Shan Shan Low was one of my favorite Chinese restaurants. And Chick’s Doughnuts was one of my favorite places to get breakfast. There were several other places, but I don’t stand a chance of remembering all their names.

Cowellian March 13, 2018 at 10:35 AM
Silva March 13, 2018 at 11:33 AM

Oh yes! Very nice, Cowellian.

Kentucky Derby March 13, 2018 at 10:36 AM

I miss House of Pies and Liberty House. Park N Shop was the original name.

Justifiable Languor March 13, 2018 at 11:00 AM

Swensons had a really good cinnamon ice cream. Next to Red Wing Shoes. The Buzzy Bee was in that section too.

Jo Ann Jo Ann March 13, 2018 at 12:40 PM

Park n shop was the place to go Our Mall, Penneys was the store we bought our school clothes and my mom would take us to Woolworths for the nickel and dime toys,. They had a counter to serve you, but my mom would take us to Grants for the best hot dogs. Sometimes we went to King Norman for a ride. Later after I grew up and married I bought a pistol for my husband at the gun store at Park n Shop. It really was our big store experience as a kid

Macawlady March 13, 2018 at 1:57 PM

I didn’t grow up in Claycord so I appreciate the old photos & history. Thanks for sharing them.

Chubby March 13, 2018 at 2:18 PM

I second that! I came to Concord in 1981, so sometimes I can join the nostalgia party, other times it’s before my time. But either way, it’s fascinating stuff!

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