The Linda Vista development, north of San Diego, was built in the early 1940s to house defense plant workers. Its defacto downtown, LINDA VISTA PLAZA, is seen in the diagram above. Although hurriedly put together, the PLAZA advanced several concepts that would be used in America's first mall-type shopping centers.
Original drawing from http://history.sandiego.edu/gen/soc/shoppingcenter.html / "Evolution of the Shopping Center" / Steven E. Schoenher
A physical layout of the original LINDA VISTA PLAZA. Its first store, a Safeway grocery, served its first patrons in February 1943. The complex encompassed 82,000 square feet, with a retail roster of twelve stores and services. Its less than ample parking area accommodated 240 automobiles.
Original drawing from http://history.sandiego.edu/gen/soc/shoppingcenter.html / "Evolution of the Shopping Center / Steven E. Schoenherr
LINDA VISTA PLAZA was situated around a landscaped courtyard, as seen in this 1945 photo. A movie theater was added to the complex in the early 1950s. By the early '70s, the center had declined into a dilapidated, graffiti-ridden eyesore. It was demolished in 1972 and replaced with a traditional strip shopping center.
Photo from Online Archive of California / Huntington Library Photo Archives / Maynard Parker