Manchester Center BEFORE it was a Mall

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Lost Fresno
Site Admin
Posts: 169
Joined: Wed Dec 30, 2009 7:08 am

Manchester Center BEFORE it was a Mall

Postby Lost Fresno » Fri Aug 20, 2010 2:18 pm

In the late 50’s and 60’s the place to go shopping was Manchester Center on Blackstone and Shields. Yes, we got the Fulton Mall in 1964 but that was downtown and there was the parking issues. With Manchester Center you just pulled up in front of any store you wanted to visit. And what a collection of stores it had. The two anchors as I remember was Sears on the North end and Thrifty’s Drug Store at the South end. I see from reading other posts here by Frodoboy whose grandfather owned Kaden Neon and Plastic Sign, also says that his uncle made the old Manchester Center sign. That sign was very representative of “modern” Fresno and Manchester was the place to go! There was no mall, no covered walk ways, just store after store whose storefronts were open to the pleasures of the Central Valley’s 103 degree summers. No wonder modern cities went to climate controlled malls!

Anyway, Perry Boy’s Okie Frijole all-you-can-eat was a big favorite with family and friends. Later there was dust up about the name, seems that some folks took offense. My buddy was a runty, skinny guy that I swear had a tape worm. He could out eat 4 fat guys at Okie Frijolle’s. I didn’t even try to keep up with him. When Saturday rolled around and us kids went to the downtown theaters for the children’s matinees, we stocked up on cheap candy at Thrifty’s.

My very first apartment was the Manchester Apartments directly behind the shopping center. It was a huge affair and little did I know that some day they would put a freeway right through my living room. For that matter, they put a freeway through my girlfriends living room too (who lived nearby in a family home they bought new in the 50’s). When I was in high school they started to enclosed more stores with a central walkway. Fashion Faire had put pressure on Manchester Center to get with the times. That didn’t seem to help a lot as the Center really needed to start over from scratch but they tried. Anybody remember the ‘ol Manchester Center?
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Big J
Posts: 145
Joined: Tue Aug 17, 2010 3:25 pm

Re: Manchester Center BEFORE it was a Mall

Postby Big J » Fri Aug 20, 2010 2:59 pm

Someone once told me that the old sign was in a wrecking yard somewhere south of town, visible from a road. Anyone able to confirm this and maybe know the location?

Sharlsie
Posts: 39
Joined: Fri Apr 16, 2010 8:08 am

Re: Manchester Center BEFORE it was a Mall

Postby Sharlsie » Wed Sep 01, 2010 7:22 am

How cool is that sign? Boy I miss "Old Fresno"!!

Big J
Posts: 145
Joined: Tue Aug 17, 2010 3:25 pm

Re: Manchester Center BEFORE it was a Mall

Postby Big J » Wed Sep 01, 2010 8:21 am

Its a great sign. I wish they'd recreate a couple of them and put one where the original stood and the other in back, visible from 41.

orangeogre

Re: Manchester Center BEFORE it was a Mall

Postby orangeogre » Tue Sep 14, 2010 10:20 am

I remember Sears as the north anchor, but Long's Drugs ("Where all Fresno saves!"), and not Thrifty Drugs, as the south anchor.

Vicki

Re: Manchester Center BEFORE it was a Mall

Postby Vicki » Wed Oct 27, 2010 4:12 pm

I remember Woolworths and going there all the time for banana splits; and taking pictures in the photo booth. I remember See's Candies, Rhodes, Perry Boys, Buster Brown (where all my shoes were bought when I was a kid), Sears, Long's, Baker's Shoe Store, Mayfair Market, and some shoe store where I bought my Capezios. My sister and I were coming out of Mayfair one night and a streaker flashed us! That was when streaking was popular.

LP

Re: Manchester Center BEFORE it was a Mall

Postby LP » Wed Nov 24, 2010 5:16 pm

My mother used to take us kids shopping at Sears and we'd always get a popcorn with M&M like choc candies mixed in. So good! Anyone else remember this at Sears too?
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manchester_1964_1.jpg
Fresno Bee - Sun. Aug. 30, 1964 - Click Photo to Enlarge
manchester_1964_2.jpg
Fresno Bee - Sun. Aug. 30, 1964 - Click Photo to Enlarge

58pacer
Posts: 11
Joined: Sun Oct 16, 2011 2:13 am

Re: Manchester Center BEFORE it was a Mall

Postby 58pacer » Sat Nov 05, 2011 9:25 pm

I was all of about four years old when Manchester Center opened in the summer of 1955, There was, from my viewpoint at the time, a *huge* opening celebration. As a pre-kindergartner, I remember gazing at a model railroad exhibit where the ground features changed on a regular basis. Bridges, tunnels, trestles, and all types of other track features would flip over to an alternate feature (while the train was somewhere else on the track, of course!). It was my first, and perhaps only, theater viewing of a "Tom and Jerry" cartoon in color, Cinemascope and with a full-on high-volume hi-fi sound track to boot! What a thrill! The theater was located at the southern end of the shipping center, IIRC.

Pacer

dthatcher
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Dec 29, 2011 12:54 pm

Re: Manchester Center BEFORE it was a Mall

Postby dthatcher » Sat Jan 21, 2012 8:36 pm

Yes I remember Manchester Center before it was a mall. my mom was a sales clerk at Lerners clothing store there in the late '50s and early ''60s and my Dad was an engineer for radio station KFRE in those days.

WillieO

Re: Manchester Center BEFORE it was a Mall

Postby WillieO » Mon Jan 23, 2012 12:50 pm

There was an entry road that went East/West through the center just South of Sears. The business on the end nearest Sears and the road was "Hollywood Camera" that my father owned for awhile in the 60's. I remember Perry Boys Smorgy on the south east end and they hand a basket of miniature red bibles for the kids at the register.


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