Eric Warren, president of Eagle Rock Valley Historical Society, told the Times that Eagle Rock Plaza has become outdated – with a two-level parking garage that separates the mall from foot traffic by almost half a block.
But when the mall opened on Oct. 1, 1973, it was something special – the first mall in Northeast L.A.-Glendale area, the Times said. Here’s what the 55-store mall, anchored by a Montgomery Ward and a May Co. – was like during its heyday:“Shoppers could eat breakfast at Howard Johnson’s, browse Waldenbooks, the Wherehouse, Chess King, Contempo Casuals and See’s Candies, order lunch at Bob’s Big Boy or indulge in ice cream at Baskin-Robbins. At one point, you could see a movie at one of four 290-seat Lippert Theaters movie houses, dubbed Eagle Rock Cinema.”
Unfortunately, four years after opening, the mall became connected to the Hillside Stranglers killings when two of the victims were followed by the murderers after boarding a bus at the mall. (Different accounts say the young girls had been shopping at the plaza before boarding the bus)
Though that incident may have slammed the mall’s (and Eagle Rock’s) reputation, the real challenge lay with competition that cropped up over the years, including The Glendale Galleria, Burbank Town Center and the Americana at Brand. Though the mall has positioned attracted a Target and several retailers that cater to Filipinos, the center looks dated and small compared to its rivals.
“What do you do with a massive piece of infrastructure that is no longer fashionable or functional?” Warren asked the Times.
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