Serving Larchmont Village, Hancock Park, and the Greater Wilshire neighborhoods of Los Angeles since 2011.

Stroll through Bullocks Wilshire in the early 30’s

We stumbled upon this footage of Bullocks Wilshire that takes you inside the once-celebrated department store that catered to the early glamorous clientele of Los Angeles. Built in 1929 and known for its copper clad tower and art deco design, Bullocks was also one of the first institutions to put the grand entrance to its building in the back, catering to the bourgeoning car culture of LA. Window displays were designed to be viewed by passing motorists rather than pedestrians, and valets in full livery parked the automobiles.

An undated photo of interior of Wilshire Bullocks.

This short clip takes you inside the art deco palace circa 1930 to walk the travertine floors and view the elegant interior, which appeared more like a fine hotel lobby than a place to purchase clothing. In its heyday, Bullocks (which in early years retained the grammatically correct apostrophe that it dropped in the 1970s) had a thriving tea room and lounge on the top floor where women would gather to dine and watch fashion shows.

While Bullucks Wilshire survived the Great Depression, which began only months after the store originally opened, it could not survive the exodus of shoppers to suburban malls in the 1980s, and Bullocks was sold first to Federated Department Stores and then to Macy’s. In 1993 the store was closed.

According to Wikipedia, Bullocks suffered damage on Day 2 of the 1992 riots in Los Angeles when looters broke in and shattered every display case on the ground floor, and later when Macy’s stripped the store of its historic furnishings and fixtures for other Macy’s locations. Bowing to pressure, almost all the 1929 fixtures were returned to the property, which was purchased by Southwestern Law School in 1994 and was restored to its original glory over the following 10 years. Southwestern proudly uses the historic building today for its library and offices, and we are told you can get in to explore the place if you show an interest in its history.

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Julie Grist
Julie Grist
Julie co-founded the Larchmont Buzz with fellow buzzer Mary Hawley in 2011 and served as Editor, Publisher and writer for the hive for many years until the sale of the Buzz in August 2015. She is still circling the hive as an occasional writer.

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  1. What amazing footage! Can’t wait to pass it on to my friends who are vintage design enthusiasts. Reminds me of Mike Figgis’ first movie – didn’t it take place in a shuttered, elegant department store? Thanks!


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