Remember the Pacific Garden Mall?

With the 20th anniversary of the Loma Prieta Earthquake coming up in a couple of months, we’re looking for ways to remember what downtown Santa Cruz was like before 10.17.89. It was, of course, called the Pacific Garden Mall back then, and though so old-timers still call it that, it’s not that anymore. It’s something entirely different.

We’re looking for photos of what Pacific Avenue looked like before the earthquake — specifically images of the street, the businesses, the Cooper House, the old totems of what Santa Cruz used to be.

We’re also looking for memories or reflections of the old Pacific Garden Mall. How was it different than Pacific Avenue is today? Was there a spirit lost with the destruction of the Mall?

Send photos and memories to us at the Sentinel here. We plan to remember the old Mall with coverage in September, before our coverage of the Earthquake in October.


9 thoughts on “Remember the Pacific Garden Mall?

  1. “We’re also looking for memories or reflections of the old Pacific Garden Mall. How was it different than Pacific Avenue is today? Was there a spirit lost with the destruction of the Mall?”

    Kinda sounds like you already know what you want to hear.

  2. I will never forget the old Santa Cruz. Coming from Chicago and other big cities, I was enchanted (of course, I was in my 20’s then…) and really enjoyed shopping and spending time downtown. There was a flavor, a feeling, that is long gone, sad to say. I used to be a Metro bus driver, and the routes I was doing the day they tore down the Cooper House put me back and forth along Front St. all day long. I just broke into tears every time I passed. What a heartbreak. I seldom go downtown any more. I am not threatened but annoyed by the general grunge; filthy sidewalks, etc. But my heart is still in Santa Cruz. I came here 31 years ago in May.

  3. Wallace, somebody at the Central Branch of the library has terrific photos of the Pacific Garden Mall both pre- and post 1989. I saw them about 2 years ago while I worked in the Planning Department of the City. A reference librarian should know how to access them. They were terrific, and brought back lots of memories for me.


  4. I’m feeling pretty nostalgic all of a sudden. I moved to Santa Cruz in 1983 when the town seemed so small. What I remember most about that time was how the sidewalks seem to roll up after 6:00. I worked at the Catalyst and Tampico Kitchen was a happening place across the street. As you walked down the mall, things just got dark and quiet until you got to Lulu Carpenters (when it was a bar and had fun music). Everything other store along the way closed before 8:00 and things were so quiet

  5. I was 14 yrs old, it was 1974. I had just hitched hiked into town from ocean side CA. I was greeted by wonderful (real hippies) Dancing to jazz music lofting through the air. I found the folks so warm and happy. (Nothing like now unfortunately) I remember the people, no matter what their backgrounds, how they looked or thought. We were all getting along and helping each other. I spent the summer and went off and eventually 12 yrs later moved back and have been here ever since. So I guess the Garden Mall was one of my first impressions of Santa Cruz. I was love struck and still am. I’ll be 50 this year.. Lets bring the Garden Mall back to its full beauty.

  6. I wasn’t here when Pacific Garden Mall was pre-Loma Prieta. I’ve been told by older friends of mine that Pacific Garden Mall at that time was really charming with very windy sidewalks and lots of plants and trees. Now, the sidewalks are just one straight thoroughfare and while there are still plants and trees, I hear this is a far cry from those days before the quake.

  7. back when pacific anenue was two way, it was so much different. the first change in the traffic flow and the deciding that Santa Cruz was Berkley south of course made different changes. at one time Santa Cruz treated seniors as important parts of society, that changed and they became a inconvenience. . then after the quake Santa Cruz became a soulless city with no true dept of character. what the future shows i do not know.will the people leave?

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