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Century Theaters 

Catering to the Valley’s ever-expanding suburban population, four dome theaters sprouted along San Jose’s Winchester Boulevard in the 1960s.  All theaters were designed by the architect Vincent G. Raney. The first to open was the Century 21 in 1964.  The Century 22 followed in 1966, with one large dome and 2 smaller connected domes.  Both the Century 21 and the main dome of the Century 22 are the same in size, seating roughly 1,000 patrons.  The Century 21, however, differs in that it was constructed almost entirely of concrete and it has a larger lobby.  Across the street from the 21 and the 22 sits the Century 23, but its dome has been “halved” to form two smaller theaters.  The same goes for the Century 24.  There’s also a Century 25 with a split dome across town.

Century 22 Theater, San Jose, 1966

Postcard of The Mall at Valley Fair, San Jose
 Color by Mike Roberts, Berkeley, Calif.



In 1956, the South Bay's first
modern suburban shopping
mall opened - named
appropriately Valley Fair...


Valley Fair Mall 

In 1956, the South Bay's first modern suburban shopping mall opened –  named appropriately Valley Fair.  Valley Fair was anchored by Macy’s department store and featured roughly 50 smaller shops.  In 1957, Stevens Creek Plaza would open up their own version, albeit not as large, just across the street.  Stevens Creek Plaza was anchored by the Emporium, then known as “The Big E.”  The overwhelming success of these two malls signified the demise of downtown San Jose’s once bustling retail district and ignited the development of additional suburban shopping centers all over the Santa Clara Valley.  In 1986, the original Valley Fair and Stevens Creek Plaza were combined and remodeled, creating a two story enclosed mall that most of us today associate with “Valley Fair.”


Cambrian Bowl, San Jose, 1958


Cambrian Bowl 

In response to the incredible popularity of bowling as a leisure activity in the 1950s and 1960s, the Santa Clara Valley saw the addition of at least ten new bowling centers between the years 1958 and 1962.  Today, only a handful of these centers remain.  Cambrian Bowl in San Jose is one of the survivors.  Independently owned and operated since 1958, Cambrian Bowl is located in the Cambrian Park Plaza Shopping Center (which, itself, is a glimpse back in time).  Cambrian Bowl has 32 lanes, a coffee shop, a cocktail lounge, and let us not forget, Skip Pavone’s “World of Bowling” Pro Shop.

Pruneridge Golf 

The Pruneridge Farm Golf Course was established in 1964 on the former site of a large prune orchard.  Some 40+ years later and it’s still a popular place to hit the links.  I must give credit to the folks at what is now called “Pruneridge Golf Club” as they have kept the original signage, thereby preserving a fine piece of Santa Clara history.  On the corner of Pruneridge and San Tomas Expressway, Pruneridge Farm’s plastic sign still stands tall, a pleasant reminder that at one time, you could order yourself a steak and lobster platter after the game.


Pruneridge Farm Golf Course, Santa Clara, 1964