With its iconic copper-clad tower looming over Wilshire Boulevard, the Bullock’s Wilshire has been a celebrated element of the Los Angeles cityscape since its opening in 1929. Known for its lavish Art Deco aesthetic, the department store made its mark as a prime shopping destination in a city filled with celebrities. But the Bullock’s Wilshire was more than a glamorous retail space; with a design centered around the automobile, it was to set a new standard for how businesses adapted to a rapidly changing urban environment. It is unsurprising that this shift occurred in Los Angeles. The city thrived in the early 20th Century, and especially during the 1920s, so that by the end of the decade it had become the largest city in the world by land area. Explosive horizontal growth and a well-developed road system made Los Angeles uniquely suited to travel by automobile; by 1915, Angelenos were five times as likely as most Americans to own a car and, by 1925, there was more than one car for every two residents.
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