ARTICLE & PHOTOS BY LYNNE TUCKER
Still splendid more than 100 years after its 1893 opening, its magical light-filled Victorian court, open cage elevators, marble stairs, and ornate iron railings make this one of downtown’s most photographed icons.
The Bradbury Building is the oldest commercial building remaining in the central city and one of Los Angeles’ unique treasures.
Behind its modest, mildly Romanesque exterior lies a magical light-filled Victorian court that rises almost fifty feet with open cage elevators, marble stairs, and ornate iron railings. The identity of the building’s final architect is a subject of debate. Lewis Bradbury, a mining and real estate millionaire, commissioned Sumner Hunt to create a spectacular office building. Hunt turned in completed designs but was replaced soon after by George H. Wyman, who supervised construction.
According to Wyman’s daughters, he was asked to take over because Bradbury felt that Wyman could understand his own vision for the building better than Hunt, although there is no evidence that Wyman changed the design. Wyman later designed other buildings in the Los Angeles area, but the Bradbury Building (if indeed it was designed by Wyman) was to be his only work of lasting significance, whereas Sumner Hunt went on to design many other notable buildings, including the Southwest Museum.
The building underwent complete restoration in the early 1990s as part of the Yellin Company’s Grand Central Square project.
As it stands now, the building is open for public entry from Monday – Friday, 9:00am – 6:00pm and Saturday – Sunday, 9:00:am – 5:00pm.
For more information visit https://www.laconservancy.org/locations/bradbury-building
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