After lunch at the Grand Central Market, our next stop was the Bradbury Building. One of the oldest buildings still standing in downtown Los Angeles, it was completed in 1893.
While the exterior is purposely plain, the interior is nothing short of spectacular.
Lewis Bradbury made his fortune mining gold and wanted a monument to his name. He hired a draftsman working in the architectural office of Sumner Hunt named George Wyman. Wyman consulted a planchette (a board used in seances) and was told if he took the job he would be successful.
Wyman was influenced by the science fiction book Looking Backward by Edward Bellamy written in 1887 about a Utopian society in the year 2000 where commercial buildings would be halls of light from above.
A spring was discovered under the site so although this meant extra precautions to strengthen the foundations, the water was used to run hydraulic elevators.
The building has been the star of countless movies, TV shows, commercials and music videos.
The beautiful wrought iron work was created in France and displayed at the Chicago World’s Fair before being installed in the building.
In 1991 developer Ira Yellin and project architect Brenda Levin Associates undertook a $7 million restoration and seismic retrofitting.
Lewis Bradbury unfortunately passed away just months before his building opened. When he was alive he could look down from his home on Bunker Hill to keep an eye on the progress of the construction. I like to think he saw his completed building from a much higher viewpoint!
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