Mayfair Shopping Center - Surprising History

Do you remember the Country Boys Market with its wooden floors? Walter Smiths was the place to go for clothes on the Fulton Mall. Penny Candy had great blacklight posters and don't forget Whitie's Pet Store on Blackstone. What vintage retail do you remember growing up in Fresno?
Lost Fresno
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Mayfair Shopping Center - Surprising History

Post by Lost Fresno » Sat Aug 28, 2010 9:39 am

I was reading elsewhere here in the Lost Fresno forum about the "mystery of the Ivory Tower" and that got me to remembering about one of the shopping centers that was closed to where I lived. I went to McLane and the Mayfair Shopping center was nearby on North First Street and McKinney Avenue. It was odd shaped compared to the other shopping places I frequented, but my dentist office was located there so I remember it quite vividly. I had no idea that it was the first planned shopping center as referenced below from my research. Click on the photo to enlarge it.

The first major Post-War subdivision completed in Fresno was Mayfair, northeast of McKinley and the First Street intersection. Mayfair included the first of the suburban shopping centers. The sudden growth, from a population of 60,685 in 1940 to 91,669 in 1950, created extraordinary pressure on both city and county planning officials. “There was no master plan; only zoning and a weak subdivision ordinance to address the multiple problems of growth. At the time Fresno County, which was approving most of the new subdivisions, including Mayfair, didn’t even have a building code to establish minimum housing standards” In 1944 the City Commission led an aggressive campaign to bring many of the new subdivisions into the City limits. “The city boundaries were a crazy and meaningless zigzag maze that wandered in and out of the growing suburbs. Large physical obstacles such as canals, railroad tracks and commercial or industrial districts encouraged the uneven growth”

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Re: Mayfair Shopping Center - Surprising History

Post by Sharlsie » Tue Aug 31, 2010 4:28 am

So did they move Mayfair Shopping Center later? Because the Mayfair shopping center I remember was on Blackstone and I want to say maybe McKinley? Well anyways, where it is now, just a much different configuration. It wasn't on First St in the 60s I know for sure because my mom worked there and we went there all the time. And it was a U shape complex.

Big J
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Re: Mayfair Shopping Center - Surprising History

Post by Big J » Tue Aug 31, 2010 9:07 am

Are you maybe thinking of Mayfair Supermarket? The Mayfair district and shopping center have always been where they're at, but the supermarket was a small chain and there were several of them, all over town.


Re: Mayfair Shopping Center - Surprising History

Post by EstesHood » Sun Dec 05, 2010 9:45 am

There used to be a bicycle store at Mayfair that I went to (I believe it was Mayfair Bike Store). One time, I was watching "The Newlywed Game" on TV, and the wife was asked where they first hooked up: her reply was Mayfair Shopping Center (parking lot).
Click to Enlarge

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Re: Mayfair Shopping Center - Surprising History

Post by 38brown » Wed Feb 09, 2011 2:59 am

I used to go to that bike shop to. I was big into BMX in the 80's and would ride my bike there a few times a week. I remember the older man and lady that worked and owned the place. Good times for sure!

Stan the Man
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Re: Mayfair Shopping Center - Surprising History

Post by Stan the Man » Tue Apr 12, 2011 3:23 pm

Nice photo of the mayfair shopping Center. The photo appears to have been taken after 1965, as I recall that year they widened the street from 2 to 4 lanes. You can see in the photo the divided streets. Anyone recall the Mayfair Variety store. I used to go in there alot to buy baseball cards, and the two older people, who I assumed owned the place would always give us kids the eyeball, like we were going to be stealing something. This was in the late 50's. Also recall Don's Hobby Shop, which was right next to the Barber shop on the back side of the center. Bud, was the owner, dont recall his last name. Also George Forrester, and Ray Perez were barbers there. Great memories, getting my flat top haircut!

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Re: Mayfair Shopping Center - Surprising History

Post by BarbaraW » Tue Aug 09, 2011 3:09 pm

I was living on Pine Street and started attending Mayfair Elementary in 2nd grade when it first opened in 1948. I think I was in 3rd or 4th grade and would be sent to the store on my bike to buy milk and bread when Mayfair Shopping Center first opened. There was a dirt path across the dirt lot on the south-east corner of First and McKinley just east of Mayfair Elem. that was perfect for a short cut to the store. The dirt path lead to a narrow wooden plank bridge over Mill ditch. My mother forbid me to walk or heaven forbid take my bike over that bridge on the way to the store. Of course I did, but never fell in like I was told would happen. Was I ever careful walking across that bridge. Anyone remember that dirt lot with its forts and paths?

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Re: Mayfair Shopping Center - Surprising History

Post by harleyohn » Thu Aug 11, 2011 2:34 pm

Potters drug store sold Hot dogs and the Hot Dog girls name was Pam Howard. My buddy worked at the 76 gas station on the corner.

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Re: Mayfair Shopping Center - Surprising History

Post by jcred » Thu Oct 13, 2011 3:32 pm

I did not see anything about Mr O.C. Hart who owned Harts 66 a really cool radio shop for ham radio and later cb radio it was to the left of the mayfair market towards the back of the complex

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Re: Mayfair Shopping Center - Surprising History

Post by 58pacer » Sat Nov 05, 2011 9:11 pm

Sounds like maybe that was Owen C. Hart, the chemistry teacher (and Chess Club Sponsor) at Roosevelt High School around the 1960's and early 1970's? He was also a Fresno Bee customer on my brother's paper route, on Iowa Ave. somewhere around Seventh or Eighth Street. Mr. Hart was a fabulous teacher, and loved the nerdy kids. He'd sit in his class room during lunch and watch over the chess club goings on.


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