Walker Scott Company, San Diego, California

Walker's opened in downtown San Diego
in 1935, but wasn't renamed Walker-Scott
until the 1950s.

The 8-story building was a combination
of Spanish and Art-Deco influences.

The store eventually took over a few floors
of the adjacent Owl Drug building next door.
Walker Scott . . . The Friendly Store

Walker Scott Company
1014 Fifth Avenue at Broadway
San Diego, California

Belmont 3-8221

Lower Level
Charl-Mont Restaurant and Soda Fountain • Music Center • Records • Piano and Organ Salon • Toys • Televisions
Men' Shop Men's Furnishings • Men's Sportswear • Natural Shoulder Shop • Men's Clothing • Varsity Shop • Cambridge Shop

Street Floor
Fine Jewelry • Fine Silver • Watches • Clocks • Costume Jewelry • Hamndbags • Small Leather Goods • Gloves • Fashion Accessories Boutique • Hosiery • Hat Bar • Blouse Bar • Neckwear • Handkerchiefs • Umbrellas • Street Floor Sportswear • Street Floor Lingerie • Cosmetics • Toiletries • Stationery • Cameras • Fine Candies • Epicurean Foods

Second Floor
Closet Shop • Notions • Luggage • Shoe Salon • Boulevard Shop • Complete Optometric Service

Third Floor
Hat Bar • Dresses • Blouses • Sportswear • Coats • Suits • Better Dresses • Town and Country Sportswear • Andrea E Shop • Fifth Avenue Shops • The Gold Room • Del Pacifico Shop • Millinery • Bridal Salon • Junior Whirl Shop

Fourth Floor
Lingerie • Robes • Foundations • Bra Bar • Patio Shop • Maternity Shop • Portrait Studio • Beauty Salon
Young World Shops Infants' Shop • Nursery Furniture • 3-6x Shop • Boys' Shop • Girls' Shop • Children's Shoes

Fifth Floor
Gift Shop • Lamps • Pictures • Draperies • Bedspreads • Pillow Corner • Upholstery Fabrics • Rugs • Patio Furniture

Sixth Floor
Linens • Bedding • Bathroom Accessories • Hoover Cleaners • Fashion Fabrics • Needlework • White Sewing Machines • Sleep Shop • Hide-A-Bed Center • Furniture

Seventh Floor
Homewares • China • Glassware

Eighth Floor
Top o' the Town Gift Shop • Major Appliances • Books • The Bay Room • General Offices • Personnel • Credit Sales Office • Cashier

(110,000 s.f.)

La Jolla
Girard at Wall

College Grove
Highway 94 at College
July, 1961
160,000 s.f.
Helix House
Kearney Mesa
2335 Linda Vista Plaza
August, 1963
41,000 s.f.

Escondido Village
Valley Blvd. and Ash St. East
March, 1964
60,000 s.f.
Clairemont Square
March, 1967/1973
63,000 s.f.
Lomas Santa Fe
Plaza of the Four Flags
October, 1969
30,000 s.f.

El Cajon
El Cajon Plaza
March, 1967
50,000 s.f.

Ocean Beach
4878 Newport Avenue
February, 1970

Palm Springs
Palm Springs Mall
March, 1970
63,000 s.f.

San Carlos

Mission Valley

Mira Mesa
Mira Mesa Blvd. at Camino Ruiz
February, 1975
63,000 s.f.


  1. There was also one at The City complex in Orange, opened in October 1970. This and the Palm Springs store were Walker-Scott's only two stores outside San Diego County. The Orange store was sold to May Co. in early 1974. Also, did this have any connection to Walker's of Long Beach?

  2. When I get around to adding the history text, you will see that Walker's was first a store in Los Angeles, that opened a Long Beach branch. The next move was to San Diego. The Walker's in Long Beach had a branch, which was taken over by The Broadway. Ralf Walker died before the San Diego store opened, and his widow opened it with Scott, a young business partner under whom the store prospered in San Diego, and it was eventually renamed Walker-Scott. The Los Angeles and Long Beach stores were not as slong-lived.

  3. There were also Walker-Scott stores in Solana Beach at Lomas Santa Fe Center, and somewhere in Oceanside. I'm unsure of the opening dates of those stores.

  4. Did Walker Scott have anything to do with Chicago's Carson,Pirie Scott store? The Walker Scott logo looks very much like CPS's....

  5. No affiliation with Carsons. Boston Store of Milwaukee used to have a logo very much like Carsons classic 50s-70s era logo, but Boston Store was owned by Federated, while Carsons was its own company. Federated sold Boston Store to Peoria-based Bergner's in 1985, and moved their HQ's to Milwaukee, then bought Carsons in 1989. Today, they are owned by Bon-Ton Stores of York, PA, along with Younkers of Des Moines, Herbeger's of Rochester, MN, Elder-Beerman of Dayton, OH, and the Parisian stores in the Detroit area (from the former Birmingham-based Nordstrom-esque chain). All divisions, except Bon-Ton and Parisians, have the red hexagons next to their script logos.

  6. I worked for the company from 1979-1989. The corporate headquarters were located near I-5 & I-8 at 908 Sherman ST/5252 Lovelock ST. The chain was acquired by Desmond's and Associates who took it private in 1986. They began to shut down and liquidate the chain in 1986 and completed the liquidation in 1989.

    There were 14 stores that operated during the time that I worked there (The store number is the number used to route merchandise):

    Downtown (5th & Broadway--Store #2)The building is in use as of 2012. I was in this building once. It was the first of the 14 to close.

    College Grove (Highway 94 and College Grove--Store #3) closed in 1987 and was demolished soon thereafter. I was here often.

    La Jolla on Girard in La Jolla (Store #4). It also closed in 1986 or 87. I'm quite sure that the building has been demolished and replaced. I was never in this store.

    Oceanside (Store #5). I was in this store once. I know that it was west of I-5 and I think it was on West Mission. It was a smaller store. I don't know if the building still exists.

    Escondido (Store #6). It was either the second to last or last store to close). I visited this store on occasion. The mall was radically remodeled as WS moved out.

    Lomas Santa Fe (Store #7). I never was in this store. I do not know the status of the building it was in.

    National City (Store #8). This store was originally a Penny's store in the 50s or 60s. Walker Scott opened it along with the Pacific Beach location under the name Savers. They were converted to a regular Walker Scott store about a year after opening. It was on the corner of Highland & National. The replacement tenants went under the name Price Breakers. They are still there today. I was in the store this week.

    San Carlos (Store #10). I don't remember where it was. I was only there once. It was in a Big Bear Supermarket mall.

    Palm Springs (Store #11--Tahquitz & McCallum in Palm Springs). It was the last or second to last to close. It had a gigantic chandelier in it that was removed by the new tenants, Buffams. They vacated shortly thereafter. I understand the location is vacant at this time.

    Pacific Beach (Store #12--Garnet Street, Pacific Beach). This was one of the 2 Savers stores that opened in 1982 or so. It was also an old Penny's store.

    Mira Mesa (Store #15--Camino Ruiz & Mira Mesa Blvd). I was in this store once.

    Mission Valley (Store #20-Next to what is now Macy's in Westfield Mission Valley Shopping Mall). One of the smaller stores. I shopped here often because it was closest to where I lived.

    Clairemont (Store #21--Clairemont Square at Clairemont & Clairemont Mesa Blvd). One of the last to close.

    El Cajon (Store #22--Between Main St & I-8 on Magnolia). I'm pretty sure it was torn down years ago for redevelopment.

    The City (Orange County), Ocean Beach, and Kearney Mesa were all gone before I came on board in July of 1979. Everything else was gone by 1989.

    Oh, and one final thing, the 908 Sherman ST location has been a self-storage facility since 1987-1988 and the 5252 Lovelock ST location is now a Toyota body repair shop.

  7. the Walker-Scott store in LaJolla was lovely

  8. I have 2 original $10 Walker Scott coins (1974) in their original holders. Do you know of anyone who would be interested?

  9. I remember the Walker Scott at the Clairemont Square. Going there after Mass on many a Sunday with my grandmother, mother, brother and sister. I got a pair of PF Flyers there (just had to have them), and they had maybe the greatest appliance salesman in history also working there. He talked my mom into new washers, dryers, and refrigerators, as much as he could.
    They also good prices on Levi's 501s, Hang Ten, and OP shorts, and shirts, which were all the rage from about 74 to 77, or so. As I recall.
    Buffum's too was another store we'd visit. Making the trek down I-5 to Fashion Valley, before 52, and 805, were built. My nephew, got his foot caught in the escalator one time, at that store. He survived though, because we got his picture taken in the photo studio, a few minutes later. Must be a family thing because my older son also did it a few years back. He's no worse for wear either.
    We lived in University City, which was the end of San Diego proper back in those days. I remember distinctly Genesee; dead Ending at Governor Drive, all that open space! I got as much time running through Rose Canyon, in clothes, and shoes, bought at either Buffums, Walker Scott, or Millers Outpost, then my kids have on the X-box.
    It aint just the stores that have changed.

  10. I was the Store Manager at the Oceanside location and then the Mira Mesa location. The company was a real challenge to work for.

  11. Am looking for photos taken inside the Walker's Dept store in Long Beach, at 4th and Pine. Especially the beauty salon. I worked there in 1966. Fond memories. The Walker's building in LB is now loft apartments. There's one for sale that I'd buy if I had money!

  12. The Walker Scott store in Oceanside had been a W.T. Grant, opened in 1955, and expanded to a Grant City in 1972. It was in the Mission Square shopping center, adjacent to Von's #51, at the corner of Mission Avenue (then Highway 76) and Interstate 5. When Grant's shut down in 1976, the store was empty for about a year before Walker Scott went in.

    The location still exists but has been subdivided. The front portion is now a 99-Cent Only store; the back half is Harbor Freight, and the rearmost is an MMA fight club.

  13. I remember the Linda Vista, College Grove and Downtown locations.

    I recently learned that the Downtown store housed San Diego's first escalators.

    I recall my first encounter with these very unusual looking escalators, in 1970, when I was seven. I remember asking my mom, "Are these escalators?" She smiled and told me that they were.

    These escalators had very unusual handrails and balustrades. The handrails were coiled metal, caterpillar-like handrails, called bellows. These were likely Peele escalators, according to my research. I remember thinking that the handrails would pinch my hands. The balustrades pointed upward and then tucked under. These were very long, steep and narrow escalators, and I got a little dizzy on the down escalator to the street level.

    This eight story building also had several elevators with operators. My sister and I were absolutely fascinated, as we watched the operators work the elevators: manually opening/closing the doors, pulling the levers and seeing the number of each floor as we traveled with our mom and grandmother between floors.

    I would love to see some pictures of the interior of this store, especially pictures of the escalators. So far, I have not been able to find pictures of these type of escalators on the web. I have seen a picture of Otis escalators with bellows handrails.

  14. The San Carlos store was in the mini "stip mall" behind the Big Bear and Sav-On stores near the intersection of Navajo and Jackson. The Walker Scott store faced Navajo.

  15. I too use to work at Walker Scott. I have really enjoyed reading these passages. I thought I'd add my memories for others too.

    I worked at the College Grove Walker Scott. I was a "contengency" employee which meant that there was no set schedule. They called you when they needed you.

    Every morning before that store would open, they would always open with a daily prayer. Everyone stopped what they were doing and participated. Mr. Scott was very religous.

    The ads in the newspaper always said, "After Church." He would never open the store on Sundays until twelve noon, so as not to interfere with church.

    I worked for $1.65 and hour and worked in all the departments. I did quite well in linens and fabrics.

    I always remember the folks coming up from Mexico and practually buying out the store. I would wait on those folks, teat them nicely and get major sales. Back then to spend $500.00 on clothing, 501's etc. was a big deal. The "regular" employees use to get mad that I took the sale because I was not on commision and they were. They should have treated the Mexican customers better and they would have had the sale. I loved them.

    Walker Scott always said that "To sell fashion, you have to dress fashion." I hated that because we'd have to wear dresses and heals and also climb ladders that way. But the good thing was with this belief, they gave all the store employees 25% off all their own purchases including what was on sale.

    Walker Scott was one of my first jobs. I worked there during 1969. My boss wanted to take me with her as a fashion buyer. She wanted me to relocate with her to Palm Springs when they opened that store.

    I remember the "bell system" used to page a manager. One bell ring was this manager and two the other etc.

    I also use to work their freight elevator in the College Grove store. That was very intersting, manually operated. I learned alot about how elevators work which even helps me today.

    Below the Walker Scott was a Safeway store. College Grove Shopping center was so different in those days. I think College Grove was one of the best of all the shopping centers in San Diego.

    I have lived in San Diego since 1955. I wasn't born here; but, I can remember so many things of the early days here. In fact, when I first moved to San Diego, there were no freeways! Can you believe that? The main road to LA etc. was 101 and then 395. I-5 took over 101 and I-15 took over 395.

    Gone are the days of the customer service and also the caring for the employees. I don't think you'd ever see an employer give their employees all 25% off on their purchases.

    The overall quality of the merchandise at Walker Scott was very good. Although, I sort of got tired of hearing all the time how that store was answering so much to their "stockholders." In those days few owned stock. And, no stock was given to the employees.

    Anyway, good reading from others as well.

    Insodently, Walker Scott was famous for their white chocolate of which you had to ask behind the counter in notions to get. And, then you'd have to go back to some storage area near the dressing rooms to get the boxes. I always thought that to be kind of wierd.

    Sam's Club is now in the old College Grove building.

  16. Bob King. January 6, 2013

    I worked at Walker's downtown San Diego in 1951 as a cosmetics stock boy....in all modesty, the ladies loved me. Of course, the job was part-time as I was a student at Hoover High and at E.R. Snyder Continuation High School.

    Fun days.....and I was able to buy my "steady", Nancy, some great fragrances and other merchandise. She appreciated those gifts very much.

    Walker's had a "club" for high school girls called "The Hi-Debbers"......there may have been a monthly meeting of this "club"....don't know exactly, but I do recall that there'd be a whole passel of young ladies on occasion.

    Do recall some of the words to the Hi-Debbers song....."Hi, Debbers, hi, Debbers, what do you know and what do you say?"

    Pretty good marketing......at these meetings, Mr. Waljer would lead the singing......good stuff!

    Fun store......lower level had some storage rooms that were located under the sidewalks on Briadway and on Fifth.....very thick green glass 4" rounds were laid in the concrete.....provided some light and one could see the pedestrians feet.

    Those days, and the days of Marston's, The Lion store and Jacobson's Clothing in the U.S. Grant Hotel, where I worked after military service, are part of a great "downtown" history in San Diego and in many other cities. Recall people actually "dressing up" to go "downtown". Alas, we'll never see those days again......but I can dream, can't I?

    Fun site.....let me know if I can provide any information to you about Long Beach Buffums', Long Beach Desmond's, J. Magnin's San Francisco and other department stores with which in familiar.

    Another thought.....Orbach's.


  17. Hello.
    I have a women's shirt and jacket brand new with tags still attached to it from the walkers Scott store.
    It's in perfect condition
    If you're interested in this please contact me.

  18. Oh wow, Beauty Consultant for WS Palm Springs. Always got hit with the mystery shoppers. Always had a good report. Made employee of the month too... Any body know where to find that foot cream? That stuff was amazing. debra.

  19. The College Grove store actually opened the year before, July 28, 1960.

  20. Great memories. The City Store in Orange, California pretty much did the company in. Bad, bad location and few knew who Walker Scott was when they came to Orange.

    Lomas Santa Fe is a supermarket, or at least it was when I was in San Diego the last time four years ago. Palm Springs is empty along with the rest of the mall. Downtown building was part of a redevelopment. Inside gutted. Electronics and food on the first floor. Residential going up but I do not think the success took it to the eighth floor. Clairemont still stands as another retail operation. Mission Valley store has been divided into two different retail spaces.

    I worked for Walker Scott starting in the City (Orange) beginning in 1970. Moved to San Diego in 1972 and left the company in 1977 or 1978. Lots of great people working in the stores and the Service Center.

  21. I appreciate all the comments. I worked in the El Cajon Walker Scott during college in 1978. I met a lady there , Mrs Lamb. She had been a long time employee.
    I wish someone remembered Lamb! She was a fixture of the El Cajon store for years. The caring and kindness she had for an awkward girl is remembered well. She was not to be trifled with either, taking firm authority under the overall direction of Mr Scott.
    The only thing that comes close is the British TV show about the early days of retailing in England. Mr Selfridge. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2210421/Mr-Selfridge-Extraordinary-story-retailing-visionary-revealed.html

  22. I appreciate all the comments. I worked in the El Cajon Walker Scott during college in 1978. I met a lady there , Mrs Lamb. She had been a long time employee.
    I wish someone remembered Lamb! She was a fixture of the El Cajon store for years. The caring and kindness she had for an awkward girl is remembered well. She was not to be trifled with either, taking firm authority under the overall direction of Mr Scott.
    The only thing that comes close is the British TV show about the early days of retailing in England. Mr Selfridge. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2210421/Mr-Selfridge-Extraordinary-story-retailing-visionary-revealed.html

  23. As a child I lived on Mt. Helix. In the evenings I could see the Walker Scott sign blinking from my yard. I remember watching the words blink in synchronized order, Walker, then it turned off and the word, Scott would light up. Our home had a beautiful South facing view. I could see from Mt. Miguel to the distant ocean. So I am unsure which Walker Scott location I was seeing in the distance.

  24. We could probably figure it out with a map; not being too familiar with San Diego, (Though we enjoyed visiting last year when my step-daughter performed in Samson and Delila at the SD Opera) It would probably take more time than if a local considered it. It is interesting, though, how we remember things like that and they stay with us long after the physical reality of it all is gone. Thanks for sharing your memories!

  25. Like I said in the other post, my dad built many display cases for Marston's and Walker Scott. He was very proud of his work and I'm sure they were lovely, as I know my dad's work was beautiful. I so wish there was a way to see the inside of the store? We also shopped at Walker Scott's at College Grove all the time while growing up. We would buy our gym clothes there, my sister always was buying perfume there, we would to up the escalator and I just have the best memories of this store. Very sorry that it was torn down. I can also recall as a very young girl riding the escalator at the downtown store and the steps were only for one person. This site is wonderful. Thank you!

  26. Ralf Walker was my great-great uncle. He came from a poor farming family in Eaton County, MI, where he later returned to marry the girl whose father once told him he'd never amount to anything. He also sent his nephews to college; one became an engineer, and the other a physician. Very much enjoy reading your posts and comments about his work.

  27. The Walker Scott in Solana Beach was in the Lomas Santa Fe Dr Shopping Center. It later became a Buffums and most recently a Ross Dress for Less. The building is still there, but now even the Ross has recently closed. It is East end of that Shopping Center next to the Big 5 Sporting Goods Store. It was one of my mom and aunt's favorite stores.

  28. I was in the Carpenter Shop of Walker Scott from 1964 through 1986. Please write me and I would live to discuss interesting facts many do not know. Eventually I became the superintendent in charge of design and building store fixtures and remodeling. Would love to share what I can.

  29. I was employed at the Mira Mesa location from 1983 until they started laying off employees. I started as a seasonal part-time men's wear associate. After the holidays, I landed a full-time job in the credit department. I enjoyed my time at the store immensely. I actually have a family history at Walker Scott. My Great-Uncle Woody worked at the store also & was Manager of the men's department. My Great-Grandmother worked for the Downtown store for many, many years in ladies wear & received Employee of the Year in 1955?

  30. The Kearny Mesa (Linda Vista) store was part of Linda Vista Plaza and we shopped there all the time when I was little.That store logo brings back so many memories. Linda Vista Plaza itself opened in the 1940s and was the first mall-type shopping center in the United States. Eleanor Roosevelt participated in its dedication. But by the '70s, the mall had become dated and graffiti-ridden. It was completely torn down and rebuilt as a strip mall in 1975, without W-S.

    We went to the downtown store once and that was the first time I'd ever seen an elevator operator.

  31. Thank you for remembering those days. I knew all of the the elevator operators at one time or another. Also the downtown store had a gentleman that wore a carnation in his lapel who was a floor walker. He moved about the first floor greeting and assisting shoppers. They now call then greeters. Great that you remember those good days. thanks for caring.

  32. I went to High School at Hoover and College in San Diego State, and we did a lot of shopping at the College Grove WS store. I remember going there to buy a spanish soap that my mother loved. I believe it was called Maja, and had a Flamenco Dancer on the wrapper. For many years my mother kept a bar in her dresser drawer because of the wonderful smell.

  33. Yes I remember. I was involved in store and store fixture remodeling in all the stores and of course had to relocate stock once in a while. thanks for your comment.

  34. I worked at the Walker Scott Service Center from 1976-1985. I was one of the apparel markers that tagged the merchandise that was then pulled and delivered to the different stores. My boss was Mr. Bandish and I have many good memories with this company. The people I worked with were wonderful and when they started closing it was very hard to leave. Mr. Bandish got some of us jobs at Woman's World that was in El Cajon after the Service Center closed. Happy Times at Walker Scott!

  35. Great testimony. While you were there, you heard a lot of noise coming from over the tall walls that separated the warehouse with the Carpenter Shop. I was the foreman of the shop with included a spray booth that butted tup to the warehouse. I was a great time! Thanks for the info.

  36. I remember the one downtown vaguely. I was young then went there with my mother. What I do remember was the escalator, which is still there was original and the elevator still had an employee to operate it (no push-buttons) the man I remember had been there since the place opened in 1935.

  37. I knew George A. Scott, A very generous businessman, born in Scotland. He attended First Presbyterian Church on Forth and Date streets. I recall the last time I saw him was at the Von's Market on Adams Avenue in Normal Heights, by that time, he was quite old, and did not seem to be quite "with it". At that time, I reintroduced myself to him, and he said that he remembered me, and we talked for a minute or two. That was the last time I saw him. At one time he was a very, very prominent businessman in San Diego.

  38. So glad to have happened onto this site. Walker Scott department stores played a major role in my life. It was the go to shopping experience for my family. My mother shopped there for all my school clothes, household goods, Christmas gifts, etc. The lay-away plans put everything within our reach. In college I worked at both the down town store and the Linda Vista Plaza store during the Christmas shopping seasons to help pay tuition from 1966-1968. I worked in the junior women's clothing department downtown and in all departments at the Linda Vista Plaza store. We had the old cash registers with a key for each sales person to use to ring up their sales. Because I could use my high school Spanish to help the customers from Mexico and was affable and successful in sales, Mrs. Sorrianos (sp?) at the downtown store offered to train me as an apprentice buyer. I chose to complete my degree and go into education instead. I've always wondered what my life would have been like if I had taken her up on her offer. I am so sorry to learn that these stores no longer are in business. Their motto was "The customer is always right!" Service was always the by word in these stores.

  39. The Oceanside store was replaced by The Federated Group electronics store (not affiliated with Federated Department Stores).

  40. Around 1986 or so I rented a house in Clairemont-Mesa. I had been living in apartments previously. I needed furniture and to my shock Walker-Scott at Clairemont Square was closing and selling all the fixtures. I bought this incredibly sturdy display cabinet with a fake laminated wood finish. I've dragged that thing around with me for many years. It's currently sitting in my parent's house in Northern California where my dad is using it to store tools and such. The thing was definitely custom hand made and will probably last forever.It still looks like it does the first time I saw in 1986.

  41. What a thrill to stumble on this site! As a senior in high school in 1969 I was honored with an award that allowed me to "shadow" Mr. Scott's secretary for the day. It was very exciting to see "behind the scenes" of the department store. When I later was hired at the Bank of America at 6th & Broadway I often shopped at Walker Scott during my lunch hour. It's hard to believe there once were elevator operators but in those days there were! I can still remember the beautiful compact I purchased for my mother for her birthday from Walker Scott.

  42. Does anyone know if the any of the original escalators (the first ever installed in San Diego) remain in the former Downtown location?

  43. A friend came across a wooden basket type purse with a hinged covered wooden top. It has a signature that looks like Caro-Lan. In the top there are the words Walker Scott. So I googled Walker Scott and found this department store information. Is anyone familiar with the name or artist "Caro-Lan"?