#62 Check Out the Garden Walk Mall Then … and Now

garden walk old

Garden Walk 1950’s…

When the W. T. Grant Department Store closed its doors in 1976, it was purchased by local building contractor Slater & Sons.The upstairs of the building was converted into offices.This was originally where Grant’s warehoused their merchandise.The roll-up door, which can be seen to your left as you enter the mall on the Wall Street side, was where merchandise was unloaded.It was then transported via a conveyer system (which is still there behind the loading door).

Then the entire street level of the mall was converted into shops, boutiques and, of course, Zot’s Cafe (famous for their hot dogs).A graceful garden-type theme was created in the mall by the Slaters.Garden green doors, trim and awnings and lots of plants throughout were used.They added the magnificent stained glass skylights in the center atrium area.Next time you’re inside the mall, look up when you reach the antique store gazebo.The skylights were custom-made here in Chico by Needham Studios (on Broadway), who are still fashioning their stained glass.

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Garden Walk Today…

When it was finally completed and open for business, the Garden Walk Mall was touted as “The Gateway to Downtown Chico.”Almost 40 years later, and with some of the current store owners having been there most of those years, the Garden Walk is still a draw for downtown shoppers because of its large diversity shops.Always comfortably temperature controlled and with customer seating throughout the mall, it makes for a nice stroll along a garden walk … and through time.