Random Thoughts on Fresno in the 1980's

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Random Thoughts on Fresno in the 1980's

Post by TomConnolly » Thu Aug 22, 2013 12:11 am

I went to McLane High School and lived near Chestnut and McKinley. My first job was at the McDonalds at the intersection mentioned above. The gas station across the street sold 104 octane gas. Gas hovered around 99 cents a gallon for the good stuff. One time I saw someone famous there- Stephanie Booroojian! Was she cute or what with that BIG hair? McLane Market was the closest store to school, but for some reason, we never went in there. Burger King was good, when they actually flame broiled their burgers, I think they steam them now?

Stewarts Liquor was where all the stoners hung out, on that same strip mall was a Baskin Robbins and a big toy/hobby shop which became the Fresno Bible House, or was it vice versa? Guarantee Savings was across the street in the same lot as Cedar Lanes, I used to piss the tellers off making $2 withdrawals so I could put some gas in my car- my 1965 Corvair Monza. Pickwicks Fish & Chips and a book store was nearby, was it Book Nook? Up the road was Bernies Skate Shop. Further north up Cedar was an AM/PM we'd go there for 2 for a $1 "donkey" burgers. (The meat seemed to be of unknown origin)

Pizza & Pipes was another place we'd run off to for lunch, just past GEMCO. Manchester Mall was still giving Fashion Fair a run for it's money. Millers Outpost? Kinney Shoes? The upstairs food court was pretty good from what I remember. Whenever a family shopping trip was in order we'd pile into our 1971 Mercury Marquis and head north on 41 and get off at the LAST exit - BULLARD and go to Montgomery Wards, BEST and if we were lucky, maybe stop in to TOYS"R"US. Levitz seemed like it was MILES AWAY! Past the then fancy "Grape Press Shopping Center" I could go on and on. Oh Fresno, what happened to you?

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Re: Random Thoughts on Fresno in the 1980's...

Post by oldschool » Fri Sep 20, 2013 10:30 pm

Tom, I remember a lot of the places you mentioned. It has happened to a lot of places everywhere. In 1973 I moved to the Sacramento area. There were some nice stores to go to. And there were many towns near Sacramento that had cool places to go to also. I saw a program on Channel 6 talking about this. Only this place was in Ohio. They said after many cities were built, things you and I and everyone else remember, land developers, city planners, and politicians get the idea to start moving things out of the old original areas. It goes for businesses and homes and schools as well. They don't leave "well enough alone". Like you said about Manchester Center competing against Fashion Fair. Soon the older parts start going down the tubes.

You know after the Fulton Mall was built, things were ok for a few years. Then a new place called Fashion Fair is built. Soon Fulton Mall has empty places. I was back in Fresno in 2006. Downtown Fresno didn't look good at all. Its sad!!!! You know what now all these malls are going bankrupt all over the place too. Empty schools, houses , and business gone too. And they will start new developments no matter the economy. Give them a few years and they will be a mess as well. I am called "oldschool" by many people simply because I don't go for the new way of things. This internet is pushing it for me. I moved to Arizona in 99. It was ok for awhile. Then more building, more this , more that. You know what, the cool places downtown are in need of help. Also the new developments are ghost towns. When we close a store here it reopens as a Dollar Store or a Pawnshop. They can't leave it alone..Now Tucson has second hand stores, sell your gold stores, dollar stores, and pot holes the size of Friant Lake everywhere and crime, lots of crime. At least people like you and me and some others here can say. I remember when it wasn't this way


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Re: Random Thoughts on Fresno in the 1980's...

Post by senpaidonna » Fri Feb 14, 2014 11:31 pm

I spent a lot of my young years in the Cedar and Shields area. I loved Pickwick Fish and Chips, went there all the time by walking down the alley from Cedar and Fountain Way. Cedar Heights Liquors and Stewart's used to have excellent deli sandwiches. Ate dinner at Cedar Lanes or DiCicco's almost every night of my life. Since Bernie's was right next door to my parents' business, I spent waaay more than my fair share of money there! I also loved the Fresno Hobby Shop and was sad when it became San Joaquin Religious Goods. And McLane market was a place I went to frequently with my Granny. Minnie and Ernie ran the place. I can still see it in great detail. Though I didn't live down in that part of town, I was at my parent's business every day after school and all day in the summers. Oh, and the bookstore by Pickwick was Fresno Bookland. I was in there every day.


Re: Random Thoughts on Fresno in the 1980's...

Post by Rok » Mon Feb 24, 2014 7:53 pm

Do you mean the book store that was in the northeast corner of Cedar and Shields? It was practically my home away from home for many years. I rode my bike there constantly and spent hours, literally, perusing volumes and deciding how I would spend my allowance. I still have some of those paperbacks I bought for 25 and 35 cents. It was called Fresno Bookland and was owned by what I think was an elderly couple, but since I was between 8 and 15 or so at the time, who knows how old they really were? I just remember that the woman, Vern, had gray hair so in my young mind she must be ancient like my grandmother.

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Re: Random Thoughts on Fresno in the 1980's...

Post by MikeS1957 » Fri Feb 28, 2014 9:54 pm

I too grew up at Cedar & Shields, lived on Archie across Cedar from Thrifty Drug. I could see the Fresno Guarantee sign from my bedroom window. (I could also tune into KYNO radio with just my bedroom window, think crystal radio. By the 80s I was living in old Clovis and it was pretty nice but my folks still lived in Fresno and things were getting rough. Graffiti was there and getting worse. Car theft was getting bad, things were getting shabby. Progress I guess. Things I miss Harpain's dairy, Thrifty nickel a scoop ice cream, Cedar Lanes, Potter's drug store hot dogs.

Big J
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Re: Random Thoughts on Fresno in the 1980's...

Post by Big J » Thu Mar 20, 2014 1:40 pm

I remember each and every one of these things. Was young when some were still around, but you've jogged a lot of memories. Diagonal from that AM/PM is Ashlan Park, they had a Pioneer Chicken, about where the Starbucks is now. Loved going there, getting some chicken, and sometimes popping into True Value Hardware to see what new toy trucks they had.

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Re: Random Thoughts on Fresno in the 1980's

Post by Fresno2SoCal » Fri Jan 25, 2019 10:04 pm

Anybody remember the Orange Julius at the Fulton Mall? The old Crest Theater and JCP nearby? Woolworths. lol

Jamie B
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Re: Random Thoughts on Fresno in the 1980's

Post by Jamie B » Thu Feb 04, 2021 3:26 am

I loved going to Pickwicks on Cedar, I think there were other locations too. May on Clovis and Kings Canyon or Butler. They had the best Fish & Chips. We grew up in Tarpey Village and would go to Tarpey Market or Price Right on Clovis Avenue. We rarely went out to eat. Only special occasions we would go to Farrells Ice Cream Parlor in Fig Garden. Luna's Pizzeria was also a family favorite. My dad found them right after Frank and Carmella opened their restaurant. The beginning of it was just a long narrow building and you could watch Frank toss the pizza dough and make his creations. Dad would go back and chat with Frank. Frank and Carmella are gone now, but the family still runs the restaurant.

We would make family trips to White Front on Blackstone and the later to Gemco. That was a big deal to go there. I can maybe remember 4 times we went to Sunnyside Drive In. We went camping/fishing up in the Sierra's or to the coast to Atascadero State Beach usually. So many fond memories of places that are no longer. My husband and I moved from Calif in 1995,so many changes now. Glad to have left when we did. We now live in SW Georgia, though I do miss my family and friends in Calif, I really don't have a desire to visit.


Re: Random Thoughts on Fresno in the 1980's

Post by Guest » Mon Jan 31, 2022 1:00 am

University Medical Center and Sierra Medical Center were still operating. I remembered University Medical Center was called Valley Medical Center at the time. Both of the hospitals closed when Community Hospitals consolidated them and expanded the Downtown hospital. Also, Valley Children's Hospital used to be located at the corner of Shields and Millbrook before its Madera County location.

There used to be several Kmarts in town. One over by Roeding Park at Olive and Golden State Blvd. Another at the Northgate Shopping Center at Blackstone and Barstow. The other was at the Eastgate Shopping Center at Kings Canyon and Chestnut.

The Gemco store was located at First and Shields. The store closed in the late 80s and was converted to a Target store that is still operating to this day. Across the street from the Gemco was a Pizza and Pipes restaurant.


Re: Random Thoughts on Fresno in the 1980's

Post by ggriego » Fri Jan 12, 2024 8:09 pm

In 1980 there used to be a small corner strip mall (sorta) with just restaurants that had a Castillo's? Mexican Food, a place that made the most amazing Calzones, and another place (Giuseppe's?) that made sandwiches from freshly roasting meat that was sliced when you ordered and they made their bread fresh daily. I cannot remember where this place was or the names of the shops. They were the best though!

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