Menlo memories

Menlo Camera on Santa Cruz Ave in Menlo Park

Our post from Laura Pitchford who shared memories of downtown Menlo Park “back in the day” prompted a number of readers to email us. Here’s a sampling:

From Tricia Young:

“The first Round Table Pizza opened right there on El Camino where it is today, and an Italian man with thinning white hair would throw the pizza dough high over his head in the large front window!

“A & W Root Beer was where Jason’s is today on El Camino…Madam Marla Palm Reader next to the Red Carpet Car Wash (now Duckys)…Johnny’s Smoke Shop next to Fosters Freeze…Rosanne’s Dance Studio on El Camino.

“Alec’s, the first discount store ever on the Peninsula, is where the old Safeway used to be ( now a variety of shops since they put the new Safeway in). After school I would work at Alec’s in the wig department for a lady named Rena.”

parade on Santa Cruz Avenue in the 1950s

From Mary Kuechler:

“Remember Don’s Hobby Shop and Ingersoll Photography?  Building where Keplers/Cafe Borrone now stands. And of course, the old Keplers.

“How about the Menlo Cinema, which I think then became Su Hongs first location, now Left Bank?

“Nice that Ann’s Coffee Shop is still there.  Menlo Florist across from Preuss. Children’s Bootery, later that became that Swiss Bakery, now LB Steakhouse.

“Ah, thanks for the mentions of Menlo Camera and Toy & Party and the Pink Pastry. Stevens the fabric store was pretty awesome, and your story starter, Prein’s. Wow! Was Preins’ also the electronics store that sold the RCA TVs?

“The Hippo became the Gap, now the mattress store.

“Oh, and there was a great sporting good store over near the post office, where we used to get our swim team suits each year (now that physical therapy place)

“Draegers and the Wells Fargo seem to still anchor it all.  Oh, and when Applewood was Village Host Pizza.  Mmmm.

“Thanks for the memories!  What a GREAT little city.”

Santa Cruz Ave in the 1960s

From Carol Jorgenson Mince:

“My strongest [Menlo Park memory] on was when Joe Priens Record store tossed wooden nickels all over town. You found the right one and you got a free 45!   Then there were the great listening booths with the holey acoustical board on the walls.

“[Still remember] the polka dot paper from all the presents wrapped at Toy and Party… Anderson’s shoes, and of course Duca and Hanley groceries.. carnival in downtown Santa Cruz Ave.  Don’s Hobby shop near Menlo Station was where I bought my rubber spongy trees for my ‘mission’.”

Photos of downtown Menlo Park, Menlo Camera (top) and parade on Santa Cruz (middle), Santa Cruz Ave in the 1960s (bottom) courtesy of Menlo Park Historical Association

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