Historic Structures

Bullocks-Wilshire Department Store, Los Angeles California

Date added: May 31, 2019 Categories: California Department Store Commercial

John G. Bullock built his first department store at 7th Street and Broadway in downtown Los Angeles. Twenty-two years later he built a second store on Wilshire Blvd. In doing so, Bullock was not only the first successful merchandiser to set up a rival business to himself in the same city but was the first merchant to experiment with a department store outside the main downtown business district. In moving a major store to this location, he helped facilitate the gradual move of the business district from downtown Los Angeles to the Wilshire district.

The building itself was designed by John and Donald Parkinson, two well-known Los Angeles architects. At the time of its construction, local newspapers~'ee'ferred to the structure as a temple to merchandizing. Today the buff terra-cotta Bullock's Wilshire with its copper-sheated, threestory extention on the six-story tower and its copper bands between the various floors stands as the finest example of Art Deco architecture in the Los Angeles area.

No expense was spared in construction of the store. Display cases are made of English laurel and rosewood, the chandeliers are crystal and many of the walls are of rose marble.

The department store organization is unique; it was one of the first merchandise stores to establish virtually separate stores within each department. The establishment prided itself on the fact that an entire ensemble could be purchased by shopping in only one department. Bullock's Wilshire is renowned for its designer fashions. In 1969 the store exclusively introduced to the Western United States the ready-to-wear collections of Givenchy and Phillippe Venet, both of their boutiques were re-created in the boutique shop section to house the collections.

The original interior shops were designed by well-known interior decorators, Feil and Paradise (in collaboration with Jack V. Peters). Original art works located throughout the store include an abstract wood mural by G. Stojana titled, "The Spirit of Sports" in the Sportswear Shop, a painted glass ceiling by Herman Sach's in the Tearoom, and a Fresco-Secco ceiling depicting the evolution of transportation by Sach in the motor court entrance.

The structure, with its cubic design, is a landmark of the Wilshire area. It s Art Deco architectural styling took its basis from the style that was popular in Southern California during the late 1920 fs and early 1930's, but the Bullock's Wilshire is the most noteworthy, in both interior and exterior composition, of these types in the Los Angeles area.