WesTown Shopping Center was built in 1960-61 by Malouf Construction Company of Phoenix on the northwest corner of Larkspur Drive and the Black Canyon Freeway, about two blocks north of Cactus Road. The shopping center was built on the eastern fringe of the new Staggs-Bilt Westown subdivision of homes. The center was originally known as WesTown Shopping City.
The south end of the center (first unit), which hosted an A.J. Bayless grocery store for many years, was erected first, followed by the northern half (as seen in the photo below). The northern half of the center was occupied by a Ryan-Evans drug store and T.G.&Y. five and dime, and joined in the mid-'60s by an Economy Stores hardware store constructed on its western side. The gala grand opening of the WesTown Shopping City first unit took place December 1-3, 1960.
Over the years, Westown Shopping City featured such merchants as Dino's Pizza, Sidoti Bootery, Westown Barber Shop, Valley National Bank, The Family Department Store, Cameo Cleaners, Westown Pastry Shop, G&E TV Repair, Westown Hardware, The Bent Cover bookstore and a popular neighborhood tavern called Amber Inn, among many other businesses. Across 28th Dr. to the west stood the Westown Medical building, where Dr. L.A. Bladon practiced dentistry for many years. The Phoenix bookmobile visited the WesTown Shoping Center each week in the '60s and '70s, and there was a popular 4th of July fireworks show held each year during the late '70s and early '80s.
During the '70s additional buildings were added to the north end of the center, and Radio Shack joined the Westown line-up. Also during this period, Ryan-Evans became Revco, Baskin-Robbins opened a 31 Flavors, and the Valley Bank moved into a new office to the north of the center.
The major anchors slowly drifted away in the '80s, and the shopping center was gradually acquired during the '90s by a local church, which has refurbished and extensively remodeled the buildings.
For people living in the Westown area from 1960 to 1990, WesTown Shopping Center was a convenient, friendly and unique collection of businesses. Indeed, for many of those years, it was the only shopping center for miles around.
Aerial view from the west, 1961. The second unit is still under construction.