Emporium Roof Rides!

topic posted Thu, December 8, 2005 - 1:38 PM by  Cheezy
Anyone remember the roof rides on top of the old Emporium Building on Market St.? They used to have them during the Christmas season back when I was a kid in the 60's/early 70's. Santa was up there too. They stopped doing them for awhile, then restarted in the '80's, before they closed the Emporium for good. They had a big ferris wheel up there, that would turn over the edge looking down on Stevenson Alley. That was by far one of the scariest rides I have ever been on!
posted by:
  • Re: Emporium Roof Rides!

    Thu, December 8, 2005 - 1:45 PM
    oh yeah, i was way too wussy to get up there on that thing. i'd forgotten all about it.
    • Re: Emporium Roof Rides!

      Thu, December 8, 2005 - 1:53 PM
      My mother almost shit herself when she realized her little 5 yr old was up there! She made the guy stop it and get me off of there. Later, I would take girls up there to scare 'em and impress them... It always worked!
  • Re: Emporium Roof Rides!

    Thu, December 8, 2005 - 11:31 PM
    I actually got to take my daughter there a couple of times before they closed the Emporium. That and making cookies on the kid's floor. Sitting on the Santa's lap was a no- go though
  • Re: Emporium Roof Rides!

    Wed, December 21, 2005 - 8:45 AM
    I remember the roof rides the second time around when I was little. My mom used to go to them when SHE was little. Going to the Emporium was one of our family holiday traditions... I remember it being really cold!
    • D
      offline 4

      Re: Emporium Roof Rides!

      Wed, December 21, 2005 - 12:08 PM
      They also had great front window displays with all sorts of toys, many moving.
      • Re: Emporium Roof Rides!

        Wed, December 21, 2005 - 6:34 PM
        Do you remember the Santa display? It was on the way to get your picture taken with Santa. They had it all set up like you were walking down a snowy, winter path with wood fencing on either side of you and various beautiful life-sized Santas from around the world. I always remember the Black Peter (from Russia) display the best. So beautifully death rock! :) I think this was Dec. of 1991.
  • Re: Emporium Roof Rides!

    Thu, February 2, 2006 - 12:40 PM
    I still have the photos taken of me and Santa at the Emporium. I remember all the cool rides and the cotton candy. But I especially remember the young ice skaters!
  • Re: Emporium Roof Rides!

    Sat, March 11, 2006 - 12:32 PM
    Seeing the huge Christmas tree at the City of Paris department store.....then on to the fourth floor of the Emporium where Santa and the toys were.....and then up to the roof for the roof rides -- these were the most exciting parts of Christmas for me as a child.

    I think I had my first corn dog on the Emporium roof. I also remember creating some of my first art (!) with those spinning turntables with the paper on them that you would squirt paint into with plastic ketchup/mustard squeeze bottle type make designs that sort of looked like Rorschach ink blots.

    I also vaguely remember being terrified by that Ferris wheel view over the roof that people mentioned. If I remember correctly, they also had a kiddie little boat-ride-go-round thingie with real water in it that I thought was very cool....
  • Re: Emporium Roof Rides!

    Thu, September 28, 2006 - 9:52 PM
    I remember the roof rides in the 70's, the ice skating rink, and the long, long line to see Santa, my oldest daughter got to experience a part of the fun on the rooftop at the Emporium. I also, remember all the old stores on Market Street, Woolworths, Lerner's, Grayson's, National Dollars, old Gap, and the bargain basement at the Emporium.
    • Re: Emporium Roof Rides!

      Fri, September 29, 2006 - 9:11 PM
      yeah, yeah, but how bout them ice skaters, huh?
      • Re: Emporium Roof Rides!

        Fri, October 6, 2006 - 8:34 PM
        Hello all. I have been looking for pictures or artwork of the ferris wheel that was on top of the Emporium building in the mid 50's or 60's. My mother used to ride it when she was a child, and I would like to find some picutures to frame to give her for Christmas. If anyone has any information as to where I could find these pictures, please let me know. I have searched extensivley on the internet, with no luck, so any information would be greatly appreciated. Thanks so much!
    • Re: Emporium Roof Rides!

      Mon, October 30, 2006 - 10:24 AM
      Ah, memories, memories. I remember going there to the roof-top in the 70's. I loved that scary roller coaster and the bumper cars! I miss the Woolworths that was on the corner of Market street. I think it's Virgin Records now. So much has changed.
      • Re: Emporium Roof Rides!

        Sat, July 5, 2008 - 8:26 AM
        The Woolworths is now the Gap.
        I miss Woolworths- was just talking about it with my daughter. My first keds wanna-bes!!!
        I guess I missed the rest of this topic because I didn't remember that the Emporium in Stonestown also had rooftop Christmasland, but then I didn't know Stonestown existed until I moved to the Sunset in '80!
  • Re: Emporium Roof Rides!

    Tue, December 12, 2006 - 12:00 PM
    I remember them well.

    I remember the Downtown Emporium roof rides very well. However, nobody has mentioned the other Emporium roof rides on the roof of the Stonestown Emporium on 19th Avenue.

    I split my time between the two Emporiums during the Christmas season (given that I lived in the Miraloma Park area of The City, which was roughly equidistance to the two stores).

    The "Scrambler" at the Stonestown Emporium first terrified me. But, after a while, I loved it.

    Did any one else frequent the Stonestown rides?
    • Re: Emporium Roof Rides!

      Tue, December 12, 2006 - 6:12 PM
      I did! Somewhere I have a photo taken from the ferris wheel :>) but it's a later pic- '79-80 ish. In later years the rides migrated to the outer parking lot. There was a train in the center of the little outside mall area too.

      I have my Emporium Santa pics too, mid 60's....and very cheesy.
      My mom was an elf/ Candy Striper downtown when she was in College (that would have been early 50's).

      We used to shop the Emporium, and Magnins, and meet up with my Grandmother at the Red Chimney.
      I thought the Ladies Lounge at the Emporium Stonestown was the most elegant place in the world....

      I could go on and on about Stonestown Mall...but that would need a new topic <g>
  • Unsu...

    Re: Emporium Roof Rides!

    Wed, January 21, 2009 - 11:41 AM
    They had an actual cable car up on the roof right by where you entered to go on those rides. I am so very curious as to what happened to that cable car. When I worked at the Emporium in the 70's, my coworkers (& I) would sit on it whilst we smoked weed on our breaks.

Recent topics in "San Francisco History"

Topic Author Replies Last Post
San Francisco accent ellen 68 November 19, 2014
Bay Area Pronunciations David 69 January 18, 2014
Midnight Magic Avidd 19 January 2, 2014
Fisherman's Wharf, 1970s Alia 12 February 14, 2013