On Sunday, February 10, members of the Windsor Square-Hancock Park Historical Society gathered at the historic Bullock’s Wilshire building, on Wilshire Blvd., for their Annual High Tea event. As WSHPHS President Richard Battaglia explained in his welcoming remarks at the celebration, the organization “loves picking unique, rarely seen locations for its events,” and this year’s tea was no exception. As the Bullock’s Wilshire building is now owned by Southwestern Law School, and no longer open to the public, the tea provided historical society members a rare opportunity to explore the beautifully restored venue, including the two couture rooms, where live models showcased the store’s premium fashions from the 1920s to ’40s, and which later, in the 1950s, became the store’s fur salons.
In his remarks, Battaglia also told the story of the WSHPHS’s role in saving the building after the 1992 Los Angeles riots. According to Battaglia:
“During the LA riots of 1992 some of us watched in horror on TV as looters broke into the Wilshire Boulevard doors and started to ransack the building. Luckily no one was able to get past the first floor because the elevators were locked, or things would have been much worse. Federated [Department Stores], who owned Bullocks, Macys and Bloomingdales decided to cut their losses and sell the architectural gem known as Bullocks Wilshire. They also started taking many of the iconic lighting fixtures down and trying to sell them off. The WSHPHS heard about this and swung into action with a letter writing, post card and phone call campaign. Something magical happened and all the fixtures were brought back to the building and put back where they originally were.”
Battaglia pointed out a scrap book later presented to the building, which was on view at the tea.
In his remarks, Battaglia also thanked the WSHPHS executive committee, which helped organized the event. They include Carol Wertheim, Marlene Zweig, Judy Zeller, Damona Hoffman, Myrna Gintel, and Fluff McLean. Battaglia also announced the Society’s creation of an education award in the name of longtime WSHPHS member Rafael de Marchena, who recently passed away…and he thanked the Southwest Law School hosts, and Paul and Melanie Boettcher’s restaurant, Ye Olde King’s Head, which provided the food for the event.
Additional speakers at the tea included City Council Member David Ryu, Eric Evavold (historian, honorary tour guide, and ambassador for the Friends of Bullocks Wilshire), and historian Stephen Gee (author of the book, “Los Angeles City Hall: An American Icon”).
Here are some additional photos from Sunday’s festivities: