Looking east on Seventh Street from Hill Street, c. 1937-2011

c. 1937-2011

While the heart of downtown Los Angeles remains relatively lively today, it is certainly true as well that it attracts only a small fraction of the enormous daytime crowds that flowed through its streets during its heyday. This view shows the Seventh Street side of the original Bullock’s, arguably the retail district’s prime anchor for much of the 20th century. Founded at the corner of Broadway in 1907, the highly successful department store was expanded a decade later to occupy the full block of Seventh Street between Broadway and Hill Street.

Although Bullock’s outlasted many of its competitors, long-struggling sales prompted it to shutter its former flagship location in 1983. Within months, the sprawling nine-building complex was gutted and swiftly replaced by the St. Vincent Jewelry Center and St. Vincent Galleria. Broadly speaking, it was during the 1980s that the Jewelry District replaced what was once the city’s main retail center.

1. “Bullock’s expands into hill street” Los Angeles Times. 14 Feb. 1917. II1.
2. Christian, Elizabeth. “Old Bullock’s store; St. Vincent Jewelry Center begins.” Los Angeles Times. 13 Nov. 1983. F2.
3. Vils, Ursula. “Chain closing downtown L.A. store.” Los Angeles Times. 24 Jun. 1983. C1.
Original photo: Dick Whittington Studio. “People crowd the sidewalk at Seventh Street and Hill Street – whit-m2279.” “Dick” Whittington Photography Collection. USC Digital Library. USC Libraries Special Collections. http://digitallibrary.usc.edu/assetserver/controller/view/DW-X7-19-6-ISLA.

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