So Cal dept stores

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Dan O.
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So Cal dept stores

Postby Dan O. » Tue Dec 06, 2005 8:46 am


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Postby Lynxwiler » Tue Dec 06, 2005 9:51 am

LAPL has some great photos of Seibu's interior, but i don't know if they are available online or not. Best of luck with the book!

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Beverly Hills Robinson's

Postby SkipHome » Tue Dec 06, 2005 11:24 am

I hope someone will document the great Pereira designed Robinson's about to be demolished at Wilshire/Santa Monica Blvds.
There seems to be no outcry to save this stunning structure. Probably everybody knows it's a lost cause.

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Postby r'n'r_beautyqueen » Tue Dec 06, 2005 12:27 pm

I once wrote a paper for a landscape geography course on the evolution of the shopping mall moving west from Bullock's Wilshire to the Westside Pavilion and some of those along the way.

I will see if i still have my bibliography.

Of course check out Bullocks Wilshire by Margaret Leslie Davis as it was one of the first modern department stores with lots of parking.

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Postby Dan O. » Tue Dec 06, 2005 1:34 pm

I have not been by the BHills Robinson's, is it still open? I've neglected driving by mostly because that spot is the last place I want to be on the way home from work. Are there any other examples of "golden age"-era dept stores still open to the public (think Bullock's-now Macy's Pasadena on Lake)?

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Postby SkipHome » Tue Dec 06, 2005 1:40 pm


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Postby nichols » Tue Dec 06, 2005 2:02 pm


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Postby lasvegaslynn » Tue Dec 06, 2005 2:44 pm

Lynn in Sherman Oaks

www.classiclasvegas.squarespace.com (blog)

www.classiclasvegas.com (website)

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Postby streinen » Tue Dec 06, 2005 3:49 pm

Check out the (now) Target store on Colorado Blvd in Pasadena, about a mile north of the Macy's on Lake.

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Postby Dan O. » Wed Dec 07, 2005 8:31 am

I have always liked that store (originally Robinson's), it is my earliest memory of what a department store was. I remember the interior from when it was still a Robinson's, reminded me of that episode of the Twilight Zone about mannequins and the 13th floor. Found this photo of that store under construction:

http://jpg1.lapl.org/pics31/00035286.jpg

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I well remember

Postby modfan » Wed Dec 07, 2005 8:57 am

the JW Robinson's in Pasadena. I too have memories of that being a classy dept. store with a restaurant that had an automatic water glass filler-it used an electric eye to turn on the tap and turn it off-I thought that was so cool when I was a kid.

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Postby Futura Girl » Wed Dec 07, 2005 1:05 pm

hmmmm - i have not actually been inside the may company building (across from Seibu > Orbach's Dept. > petersen museum) since it was transformed into another LACMA bldg. has anyone else been?
it seemed very old school east coast vibe to me with a 2 story tall main hall filled with accessories and cosmetics counters. and a mezzanine overlooking it all.

there was an AMAZING pererra designed Robinson's that was demo'd after the northridge earthquake in Panorama city. now there is still a broadway>now wal mart that looks great outside, but not in.
Last edited by Futura Girl on Thu Dec 08, 2005 12:03 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby Lynxwiler » Wed Dec 07, 2005 11:42 pm

I understand the Miracle Mile May Co. is covered in high security since it became a LACMA-site so I don't suggest you try this. But I was told much of the upper floors are intact from the museum's dept. store days. Floor 2/3/4 are mostly used for general storage and cubicles, but the space has been unchanged and retains its dusty pastel colors, dressing rooms, dressing mirrors, and several display cases/fixturers from the May Co's final days.

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Postby hushpuppy » Sun Mar 12, 2006 11:09 pm

Check out the old May Company on Crenshaw at MLK Blvd. Built in 1947, it is pretty much in the same shape it was back then. May never saw fit to renovate the store which makes it fun to visit. Every time I am in LA, I go up to the second floor and stomp down the escalator just like Bette Davis did in 'The Star'. Across MLK is the former Broadway (now Wal-Mart) department store, also opened in 1947. Unfortunately, that store looks nothing like it did in its heyday.

I have heard that the former I Magnin store on Wilshire and Vermont has become a sort of Koreatown bazaar, but the decor is supposedly remarkably untouched from its Magnin days.

To the best of my knowledge, the only pre-WWII department store in all of Southern California still operating as such is Saks Fifth Avenue on Wilshire & Peck in Beverly Hills.

I think a book on SoCal department stores is a great idea. So many are gone (Broadway, May Co, Robinsons, Bullock's, Bullock's Wilshire, Coulters, Millirons, I. Magnin, Bonwit Teller, Bullock's Wilshire, Webb's, Buffum's, Henshey's to name but a few)

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This is an interesting idea.

Postby modchick65 » Sun Mar 19, 2006 8:13 am

Save Wildwood, NJ!!

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Postby nichols » Mon Mar 20, 2006 1:13 pm


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Postby apower » Wed Mar 22, 2006 2:33 am


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So CA Dept. Stores

Postby Deco Lover » Mon Mar 27, 2006 3:29 pm

I was a former employee at the Beverly Hills Robinson's-May, who
worked in the women's shoe department, and have mixed emotions
at hearing that the store has closed, and is now scheduled to be demolished for luxury condos.

When I worked at this store, there was a certain cache about being
in a former first class department store, with a celebrity clientele,
but as it was then owned and run by the May Co., the luster was
gone. Kind of like a sterling silver tea set, covered in tarnish.

I heard all about the various departments that once graced the
building, from the fur salon, to the travel agency, and the rooftop
restaurant with bar, where fashion shows occurred during lunch.
When I was there, the restaurant with the bar counter was still
there, but was used for storage, and junk. What a wasted space.
I have to add, there was a great view of the neighboring Beverly
Hilton Hotel, and the penthouse windows where ex-President
Clinton stayed while in Los Angeles. It was easy to spot which
rooms, as the windows were tinted, and a satellite dish with cables
were leading to the rooms! May Co. missed a great opportunity
to re-use the restaurant.

The store still had some of the architectural details that set this
store apart from the other Robinson's-May stores, but no real
attempt was made to upgrade, ie. paint, replace carpeting, fixtures, furniture to give it a BH style. Instead, May Co. was clearly about
cheap merchandise at cheap pricing, during their famous 12-hour
sales.

It was fun to see which celebrities would come to shop at this
store, and while working in this store, I met and saw quite a few.
My favorite was chatting with the late Ann Miller, who remembered
my name!, also Marty Ingels and Shirley Jones, Debbie Reynolds,
the late Luther Vandross, Carl Reiner, Dianne Carroll, the late
Eva Gabor, Mitzi Gaynor, etc. All of them were friendly, and easy
to be around, unlike the "normal" May Co. customer, who were
usually demanding, rude, and out to get something for nothing.
Oh, how times had changed in retail.

So, as I read that the store is now closed, and demolition is in it's
future, I will hold fond memories of being a part of one of the
grand dames in department store history.


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