For two days this month, the historic Bullocks Wilshire Building on will open to the public for tours and tea service. One of the most iconic structures in Los Angeles, the former department store has been occupied by Southwestern Law School since 1994. As such, it’s normally closed off to curious visitors, but on July 30 the school is offering docent-led tours of the building’s interior.
Built in 1929, the Bullocks Wilshire once stood as a proud monument to the consumer culture of Los Angeles. With windows facing the street and a huge parking lot in the back, it was one of the first stores of its kind built with the automobile in mind. At the time of its construction, its familiar green copper spire was visible for miles around and beckoned shoppers to the Cathedral-like structure.
The store’s ground level was damaged during the 1992 riots, and it closed shortly thereafter. In renovating the property Southwestern has preserved much of the Art Deco interior. The storied tea room, for instance, now serves as a study hall, but looks much the same as it did when Hollywood luminaries like Gloria Swanson and Clark Gable dined there.
The tours on July 30 conclude in the tea room, with a luncheon for the first five tour groups and high tea for the sixth. According to the event page, food served in the tea room will include “specialty items from the original Bullocks Wilshire menu.” We sincerely hope this includes the store’s famous coconut cream pie.
Tickets for the tours cost $75, while the open house is $25. Parking is available on site.
- Bullocks Wilshire Open House [Eventbrite]
- Map: Finding Old Hollywood Glamour Buried in LA’s Koreatown [Curbed LA]
- Bullock’s Department Store Founder’s Hancock Park House [Curbed LA]