Santa Clarita Valley History In Pictures

Old Orchard Shopping Center Under Construction

Valencia, California

The Old Orchard Shopping Center is under construction in the fall of 1964 at the northwest corner of Lyons Avenue and what was called the north extension of Valley Street, which ended at Lyons. It became Orchard Village Road. Although they still needed to be joined together, the sections of exterior wall of the Safeway grocery store and Thrifty drug store buildings have been tilted into place.

The shopping center and the Valencia ("Big V") golf clubhouse, both of which opened in 1965, constituted the first vertical construction in The Newhall Land and Farming Company's "new town" of Valencia.

Photographs shot and 4x5-inch copy prints made by Ted Lamkin. The aerials are dated on the back, October 31, 1964. Also see this photograph of Newhall made during the same flight. The ground-level views shown here are undated but were made about the same time.

TL6403a: Aerial view looking roughly west-northwest toward U.S. Highway 99, today's Interstate 5 Freeway. In the foreground, Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church can be seen at 23233 Lyons Avenue. The concrete block structure opened at this location in 1961. The nearest visible cross street to the east (bottom) is Arcadia Street. Hart High School and Placerita Junior High School are visible at lower right.

TL6403b: Aerial view looking to the northwest. The shopping center is under construction at the bottom. The overhead transmission lines below and to the right of it are still there, but today, Orchard Village Road runs along and under them. The dark line across the middle from left to right (actually, right to left) is the South Fork of the Santa Clara River.

TL6403c: Northward view shows walls of the Thrifty drug store building and construction sign listing some of the future tenants. Sign reads: "Old Orchard Shopping (Center) / Owner The Newhall Land and Farming Company / Leasing Agent Coldwell Banker and Company." At left, the sign shows a very early version of a Valencia logo. Visible tenant names are Safeway Stores, Kinney Shoes, Dean's Hobbies, Quality Tools, Kiddie Klose Kloset [sic; s/b Kiddies Klothes Kloset], J&R Barber Shop, Thrifty Drugs, Rancher's Supply Company, Sears, Country Girl Fashions, Colour Coiffure Hair Design. Not shown in this view, and probably not committed at this time: Holiday Hardware, R&R Norge Village (laundromat), Old Orchard Book & Card Shop, Topp's for Children's Shoes, Quailty Togs, Security First National Bank.

TL6403d: View to the west-northwest shows the walls of the Safeway store and, in the distance, the Sawtooth Ridge behind (west of) today's Stevenson Ranch.

Publicly announced in January 1964 when Newhall Land sought a zoning change from agricultural and residential to commercial and built at a cost of more than $1.5 million (The Signal, August 13, 1964), the 10-acre Old Orchard Shopping Center was designed by Albert C. Martin and Associates of Los Angeles. The general contractor was Dinwiddle Construction Company, also of Los Angeles (The Signal, January 16, 1964). Ground was broken and construction started Monday, August 10, 1964. Most tenants were ready for the grand opening Saturday, June 5, 1965; the Topp's shoe store opened in August, and the Security First National Bank building was added in 1966 (The Signal, June 3, 1965). The latter was renamed Security Pacific National Bank in 1967, following a merger.

Much excitement accompanied the opening of the SCV's first Sears, Roebuck and Co. outlet, which was a catalog sales store in this location. Customers would visit the store, find what they wanted in a catalog and place an order. (The process was supplanted by the Internet, which didn't generate nearly as much enthusiasm at first.)

It was the SCV's first Thrifty drug store, which became famous for its 5-cent ice cream. It also had a pay-photocopy machine that came in handy for school projects.

Occupying the biggest space in the center was Safeway, under management of Bruce Ivie. It wasn't the SCV's first Safeway location, but it was the first in the SCV to have "cakes, pies, cookies and pastries baked daily in the store" (The Signal, June 3, 1965). It moved over from downtown Newhall, starting an exodus that would continue as Valencia developed. The sheriff's station, courthouse, and eventually the auto dealers and The Signal newspaper left Newhall for the newer and bigger space that Valencia offered.

TL6403: Download original images here. Photos from the Ted Lamkin Collection, acquired October 19, 2017, by Leon Worden.
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