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Bullocks Wilshire Celebrates 90th Birthday; Relighting Iconic Beacon

This Friday, Bullocks Wilshire Celebrates its 90th Birthday, lighting the famous Lavender Beacon atop the iconic tower.

This Friday, the old Bullocks Wilshire store will celebrate the 90th birthday of one of LA’s most important Art Deco buildings. Dignitaries will gather in the parking lot for a re-lighting of the store’s beacon at the top of the 240-foot tower, designed exclusively to advertise the “temple of commerce.”

“Originally, the beacon was lit with a lavender neon vapor tube light,” explained Eric Evavold, Hancock Park resident and official  Bullocks Wilshire Ambassador, who is considered an authority on the store and building. “With current lighting technology, we are able to replicate that light with an LED bulb.”

The color lavender was likely selected because it was an attractive color at night, suggested Evavold.

“When Bullocks Wilshire opened, City Hall was the tallest building and the only other structure with a beacon on the top,” said Evavold. “The tower and the beacon were constructed entirely for advertising purposes. Since there were very few other lights competing with it, people could look outside and see that beacon from almost anywhere in what was the burgeoning suburbs of Los Angeles.”

The famous department store actually opened in September, as we reported earlier, but since the building is the home of Southwestern Law School and normally filled with students, the celebratory birthday was scheduled during winter break.

Friday’s festivities start at 6:00 p.m. with remarks by authors Margaret Leslie Davis and Stephen Gee about their respective books on the history of the building, and the architects who designed it. Evavold will speak about the women who worked at Bullocks Wilshire, and Dean Susan Prager will light the beacon and then invite everyone into the building to view Evavold’s exhibit of memorabilia in the Perfume Hall. Evavold will lead a tour the building, which we understand is supercool at night.

Old-timey drinks and period appropriate classic hors d’oeuvres will be served on the second floor in the  Louis XVI Room, designed by Eleanor LeMaire, which reflects the elegant style of the palace of Versailles. The room’s regal appearance and ballroom-like setting was created with chandeliers, gilded accents and warm tones of ivory and gold to best reflect the setting where evening gowns would be worn. It’s a perfect place for a cocktail party to celebrate this LA treasure.

Tickets are $125 and can be purchased online. Event proceeds will support restoration and preservation of the iconic Bullocks Wilshire building.

Friday, December 20, 2019
6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Bullocks Wilshire Building
3050 Wilshire Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA
Click here for tickets

Bullocks Wilshire from the east (photo courtesy of Southwestern Law School)
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Patricia Lombard
Patricia Lombard
Patricia Lombard is the publisher of the Larchmont Buzz. Patty lives with her family in Fremont Place. She has been active in neighborhood issues since moving here in 1989. Her pictorial history, "Larchmont" for Arcadia Press is available at Chevalier's Books.

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