"Davis has provided her readers with a broad and very well written history of not only the artifact of the buiilding itself, but of the historic development of the chain of Bullock's stores in Southern California."
--David Gebhard, Professor Architectural History, University of California Santa Barbara
"I cannot recommend this book highly enough. The research is impeccable, the use of original blueprints, the history of the founding of the company, its lavish use of photos from the period make this a must read."
--The Exposition, The Newsletter of the Art Deco Society of Los Angeles
"Bullocks Wilshire was a fascinating place. The beauty was mesmerizing and I felt proud to be such a young girl working in such a beautiful store."
--Angela Lansbury, actress
This elegant book chronicles the efforts of the impressive team of international architects, designers and businessmen who created Los Angeles' famed Art Deco masterpiece. Bullock's Wilshire recounts the lives of the two immigrant entrepreneurs, John Gillespie Bullock and Percy Glen Winnett, who, with this magnificent department store, tested a new theory of retailing in the suburbs, and the architectural team, Parkinson and Parkinson, who executed that vision into one of Los Angeles' most beloved landmarks.
Written by a noted chronicler of Los Angeles history based on extensive interviews and research, Bullock's Wilshire promises readers an unprecedented opportunity to peek inside the doors of a unique architectural icon and discover its rich history from construction and golden age to its renovation and rebirth. This hard-cover volume combines 100 beautifully reproduced historical photographs with the dramatic text of award-winning author Margaret Leslie Davis.
Bullock's Wilshire recounts the story that unfolded beneath the store's 241-foot tower, a glittering beacon bathed in spotlights on Wilshire Boulevard when the street was the Champs Elsyees of Los Angeles. It relives the visits of the famous who shopped there: Greta Garbo who brought men's suits to create her outrageous fashion statement; Mae West who shopped from her chauffeured car as clerks brought merchandise for approval; and Marlene Dietrich who considered Bullock's Wilshire her "only emporium."
A store like no other, the architectural gem is considered a national treasure, part of the fabric of Los Angeles, indelibly etched into the city's cultural soul. Historian David Gebhard calls the building "one of the key monuments of the art deco style in America and the most beautifully and consistently carried out." Noted Los Angeles architect, Albert C. Martin says, "Bullock's was a magnificent architectural expression, a high quality design using outstanding materials. It created a new spirit in retailing." Historian Kevin Starr wrote that Bullock's Wilshire "celebrated and climaxed the expansion of a decade. . . reflecting the confidence and optimism of Los Angeles."
In August 1996, 67 years after the structure first captured the hearts and imagination of the people of Los Angeles, the beloved icon reopened its doors. "It's an extraordinary thing, " restoration architect Ron Altoon says, "to breath new life into one of the city's most prominent architectural landmarks."
Margaret Leslie Davis is an alumna of Southwestern University School of Law and an award winning author. Her book Rivers in the Desert: William Mulholland and the Inventing of Los Angeles (HarperCollins) was the first major biography of William Mulholland the genius engineer who built the Los Angeles Aqueduct and was the winner of the Golden Spur Award for Best Non-Fiction Book of 1994 by Western Writers of America and praised by Newsweek as a "A fascinating history." The book will be the subject of a forthcoming mini-series on the Turner Network (TNT). The book has received widespread national attention and the author has been featured on "Larry King Live," "Today," and "Entertainment Tonight." Davis also writes a monthly column for the Los Angeles Daily Journal, "Courtroom Classics," which highlights memorable historic trials in California.