About thirty miles southeast of San Francisco is another Bay Area town as dear to my heart as San Francisco. It’s the town I grew up in, Castro Valley. The Castro Valley News Facebook page has some terrific vintages pictures of Castro Valley on their site, and on Easter Sunday I got a chance to drive and walk along Castro Valley Blvd. to do some then and nows on some of the many photos on their page. A lot of these pictures bring back special memories to me of a town that was fun to grow up in.
On the western side of Castro Valley Blvd. is the McDonald’s, opened in the 1960’s and still there today, although, the original “Golden Arches” are long gone.
What you’re looking at here was about all there was to Castro Valley Blvd. in the 1930’s; the section between Lake Chabot Road and Stanton Avenue. Some of the buildings in the old photo are still there.
Opened in 1949, the Chabot Theater is still drawing them in today. Watching a film here is like stepping back in time. I sat through a lot of double features here as a kid, when such a novelty existed.
Across the street from Chabot Theater was one of our hangouts in the 70’s, Jenna’s Pizzeria. They had a room with pool tables and a small bar in back of the dining room, and a pretty girl named Sue who made sure your beer pitcher was never empty.
The southeast corner of Castro Valley Blvd. and San Miguel: No, this isn’t a scene from ‘That 70’s Show’.
Directly kitty-corner from the previous picture on the northwest corner of the intersection is this view of a 1976 Bicentennial celebration. On the far left was Winchell’s Donuts, THE place for coffee and donuts in Castro Valley for many years.
Another sad memory when walking along the Blvd. today is the old Daughtrey’s Department Store; closed in the early 1990’s. Across the street at center is the Castro Village, opened in 1948 and a world in itself.
And, of course, Castro Village; designed with the look of an Alpine village, which new developers are sadly getting rid of as much as they can. The toy shop, variety store, and ice cream parlor were “the stuff that dreams are made of” when we were kids. This view is the corner of the Village at Santa Maria and Castro Valley Blvd in the 1970’s and today.
Ah, the old Red Barn Restaurant, our hangout when I was a junior in high school. We usually never had enough money for more than a a coke and a bag of French fries, but we’d sit there for hours and nobody working there minded. It’s now called Norman’s Restaurant.
We’ll end up on the eastern side of the Boulevard and another wonderful memory for me. This building opened up as Value World. They had everything there; a sporting goods section, a snack bar, a grocery store, anything you could want! I remember spending nearly an entire day in the 8th grade walking around Value World with a girl that I had a crush on named Cindy. I’m sure I spent all of my money on her, but I probably didn’t have more than a dollar anyway! It’s now a Rite Aid, and I still think about that day and Cindy every time I go in there.