Tale of two ex-Bullock's stores in Westwood

target-city-westwood-lao.jpgWestwood Village gained a new big store this week — one of the scaled-down urban Targets opening under the City banner. Its doors opened quietly on Tuesday, in the former Bullock's department store on Weyburn Avenue that more recently was a Home Depot Expo. Judging by the foot traffic already, it should bring a little more retail life to that side of Westwood — and be popular with UCLA students.

Not such upbeat news for the older former Bullock's location in the village. Bebe has departed what remains of the original 1930s Bullock's outpost in Westwood, at the southeast corner of Weyburn and Westwood Boulevard. Westwood actually used to be chock full of LA's top store names. Desmond's was across the boulevard from Bullock's, in a corner that now houses a drug store — I want to say CVS but don't hold me to it. A Sears was down the boulevard a block, just south of the landmark dome-shaped Janss Building.

Bullock's was a downtown store that Arthur Letts, an English immigrant, spun off in 1907 from his Broadway department store. The Bullock's name moved out into the city as the population spread away from downtown. Bullock's Wilshire was a separate brand and upscale concept; the stores in Westwood and in most other outlying parts of town were branded as just Bullock's. Letts was the last family owner of the intact rancho that was subdivided into Westwood, Holmby Hills, Bel Air and, eventually, Century City. The Playboy Mansion was built by Letts' son.

Below: An exterior view of the first Bullock's in Westwood Village, photographed by Herman Schultheis circa the 1940s, the LA Public Library says. The cars look older than that to me, but it's just a guess. Below that, an aerial view of Westwood Village in the 1930s, source unknown. Note the blimp shadow. Westwood Boulevard proceeds north into the UCLA campus, with Bullocks on the east (or right side), diagonally across the intersection from the clock tower on the Holmby Building. The 1931 Fox Village theater is visible, but not yet the 1937 Bruin.



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