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Bullocks Wilshire – Preserving a Cultural Icon

 

Since Bullocks Wilshire is the setting of my first three fact-tion novels (Webs Of Fate, Webs of Power, & Twisted Webs) my husband Jack and I attended the annual fundraiser and architectural tour of the former cathedral that was once Bullocks Wilshire.

The Bullocks Wilshire building in Los Angeles was originally completed 1929 for John G. Bullock. Architects John and Donald Parkinson designed the luxury department store shaping it much like a grand cathedral, whose tower is capped in copper. The building itself was an architectural marvel of art deco both inside and out for its visitors. It was the first store that catered to the automobile crows, offering shoppers valet parking once they drove through the wrought iron gates.

With the arrival of the 70’s and competing department stores the grandeur of the neighborhood surrounding Bullocks Wilshire began to decline and the store was eventually acquired in 1964 by Federated Department Stores (which became Macy’s in 2005). Yet, even after remarkably surviving the 1992 riots in which the iconic store suffered severe damage to its first level at the hands of looters and arsonists the store finally shut its doors in 1993 after the company filed for bankruptcy.

Thankfully, the South Western Law School purchased the historic landmark building in 1994, rescuing from limbo for $10 million dollars and investing another $10 million to restore the iconic building to its former glory as well as converting it to a law library and courtroom/study area for their law students.

Dedicated to the upkeep of the former department store the fundraiser hosted by the South Western Law School is always a sold out event and this year—this year it was sold out in the first hour after being announced to the public. I was so glad that I became a “Friends of Bullocks Wilshire” member a few years back so we were able to make reservations prior to the event being announced to the public.

CLICK HERE for more information about the building can be found on this wonderful documentary hosted by the late Huell Howser.