Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Lakewood: Baby Boomer City

In the mid-80s, the Lakewood Mall was a fun place to shop and eat. I haven't been back in decades, literally, but a press release announces that Costco is about to move in as the Mall's anchor store, filling in a vacant former Macy's--which I suspect was originally the May Company, built in 1951 and pictured at right.

The new Costco will be at the southeast corner of Lakewood and Del Amo and should look like this:

Per the City of Lakewood, this is the first Costco in SoCal to affix itself to a neighborhood mall, although there are many such Costco stores in other states. It will make the Lakewood Mall "the largest enclosed shopping center in the Los Angeles-metro area." At least for a month.

The picture below at left, btw, is of the year before--1950--when no mall, and no Lakewood, existed. The picture looks west--I think from the mall site.

In celebration of its 50th anniversary a few short years ago, the city has gathered a lot of personal histories from residents, some handwritten, and put them on its website as pdfs.

Lakewood was a fully-planned postwar city. In 1949, it didn't exist. By 1954, it did.

THE BOOK on Lakewood is Holy Land: A Suburban Memoir, by D. J. Waldie. Holy Land won awards when it came out in 1996, and has been updated.

It was written by a Lakewood city official whose parents bought a tract home in the 1950s.

Here's a last picture: Wanna-be suburbanites walking through the model homes of "Lakewood Park" tract in 1951. All these pictures and more are part of the city's website.

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