“I snapped these photographs precisely 40 years and 6 days after the shopping center’s grand opening in September 1976. By 2016, Vallco had already reached dead mall status; that is, few shops in its ghostly (1.2 million square foot!) interior remained open. Take a closer look at the photos below: you can see me silhouetted like a phantom in some abandoned shop windows.
I was at the mall that evening to watch a screening of the 1984 children’s movie The Neverending Story. In it, a villainous force called The Nothing imperils the magical residents of a world beyond this one: Fantasia. A deserted mall in a San Jose suburb, less than a mile from the then-under-construction Apple Park spaceship, felt to me a fitting locale to watch the film.
My main association with Vallco Fashion Park as a living mall is this one. As a teenager, my friends and I would take the 81 bus from our East Side San Jose neighborhood to Vallco because it was the only mall in San Jose with a Hot Topic in it. There we would gawk at the mall goths.” – Contributed by Li Patron