The Broadway, Los Angeles, California


Illustration of The Broadway used  in the press,
prior to its 1913 opening.

A postcard view of the store as it looked
soon after opening.

A more contemporary image showing the 10-story
1924 addition to The Broadway's Fourth St. side.

View along Broadway, looking north toward Fourth
St., showing The Broadway in its context - on one
of the most magnificent shopping streets in all of
California if not the whole nation.

"It's at The Broadway"

The Broadway
401 South Broadway
Los Angeles, CA (1896/1912)

MAdison 6-7411






Street Floor
Fine Jewelry 810 • Silver Flatware 59 • Silver Holloware 166 • Clocks 95 • Watches 810 • Better Fashion Jewelry 141 • Fashion Jewelry 20 • Fashion Accessories 41 • Et Cetera 86 • Handbags 37, 132 • Jr. Contemporary Handbags 117 • Personal Leather Goods 142 • Gloves 6 • Cosmetics 17 • Hosiery 3 • Plaza Sportswear 65, 133 • Plaza Skirts & Blouses 66 • Plaza Sweaters 149 • Street Floor Lingerie 54 • The Hat Box 825 • Misses’ Shoes 8 • Almost Shoes 138 • Women’s Casuals 101 • Presents Perfect • Notions 4 • Stationery 15 • Cameras 13 • Electronics 13 • Books 18 • Luggage 33 • Candy 34 • Liquor and Gourmet 845 • Men’s Fragrances 177 • Men’s Accessories 105 • Men’s Loungewear 48 • Men’s Sleepwear 164 • Fashion Neckwear 122 • Men’s Furnishings 7 • University Shop 53 • Men’s Sweaters 171 • Men’s Tops 184

Street Floor Mezzanine
Men’s Clothing 126 • Men’s Shoes and Hats 57 • Men’s Sport Clothing 48 • Men’s Spectator Sportswear 550 • Contemporary Many 124 • Men’s Sportswear 50 • Men’s Active Sportswear 109 • Men’s Better Sportswear 170

Second Floor
Aisle of Fashion Fabrics 1, 30, 67 • Art Needlework 29 • Sewing Machines • Luggage 33 • Lamps 71 • Pictures and Mirrors 31 • Domestics 2 • Towel and Bath Shop 23 • Linens 23 • Bedding 55 • Sporting Goods 43 • Sierra Shop 43 • Boys’ Shop 98 • Little Boys’ Wear 74 • Saturday’s Expression

Third Floor
Hair Styling Salon 601 • Girls’ Shop 44, 47 • Little Girl’s Wear 96 • Toddlers 74,90 • Infants’ Shop 42,137 • Toys 28 • Children’s Accessories 102 • Children’s Shoes 58 • Hi Deb Shop 52 • Body Fashions 19 • Daywear Lingerie 63 • Leisurewear 67 • Robes 51 • Fashion Sleepwear 24 • Misses’ Sportswear Dresses 12 • Plaza Dresses 73 •  Plaza PM Dresses 131 • Career Dresses 27

Fourth Floor
Windsor Shop • Regency Room 22 • Design II Dresses 79 • Design II Sportswear 103 • Signature Collections 440 • VIP Collections 104 • Bridal Salon 93 • Furs 60 • Studio Room Millinery 800 • Contempora Sportswear 78 • Misses’ Sportswear 89 • Dresses 70s 49, 93 • Sportswear 70s 134, 148 • Woman 70s 62 • PM Clothes 93 • Spectator Sports Shop 40 • Coats 25 • Suits 25 •  Modern Miss Shop  • Junior World  Junior Sportswear 97 • Junior Dresses 64, 102 • Young Juniors 52 • Better Juniors 136 • Junior Coats 64 • College Shop 85 • International Shop 64

Fifth Floor
Pianos • Glassware 36 • Waterford Shop 112 • China 11 • Housewares 39 • Electrical Housewares 95 • Small Housewares 39 • Gift Shop 70 • Cookshop 206 • Cookery Gourmet 143 • Hardware • Garden Shop • Radios • Televisions 72 • The Music Center 77 • Major Appliances 80

Sixth Floor
Furniture 92 • Recliners • Home Furnishings Studio • Slumber Shop 69 • Auditorium

Seventh Floor
Carpeting 32 •Rugs 45 • Curtains 10 • Draperies 10 •
Bedspreads 10 • Custom Draperies and Reupholstery 82 •
Personnel Offices

Eighth Floor
Credit Office • Cash Office • Offices

Ninth Floor
Garden Tea Room




Lower Street Floor


Street Floor


Mezzanine


Second Floor


Third Floor


Fourth Floor


Fifth Floor


Sixth Floor


Seventh Floor


Eighth Floor


Ninth Floor
Auditorium





Street Floor


Mezzanine


Second Floor


Third Floor


Fourth Floor





First Level


Second Level


Third Level



Hollywood
1645 Vine Street
March, 1931

Pasadena
Colorado Blvd.
November, 1940

Crenshaw Plaza
Baldwin Hills
November, 1947
The Chafing Dish

Westchester
8739 Sepulveda Blvd.
August, 1950

Valley
Panorama City
October, 1955
The Chafing Dish

Orange County
Anaheim Plaza
October, 1955
The Chafing Dish

Long Beach
Los Altos Plaza
October 1956
The Chafing Dish

Del Amo
Torrance
February, 1959
289,000 s.f.
The Chafing Dish

Wilshire
5600 Wilshire Boulevard
March, 1960

Whittier
Whitwood Center
February, 1961
134,000 s.f.

West Covina
August, 1962
142,000 s.f.
The Chafing Dish

Ventura
Buena Ventura Plaza
September, 1963
180,000 s.f.
The Chafing Dish

Topanga Plaza
Canoga Park
August, 1964
170,000 s.f.

Century City
October, 1964
220,000 s.f.
The Terrace Room

Downey
Stonewood Center
October, 1965

Huntington Beach
Huntington Center
November, 1965
The Chafing Dish
San Bernardino
Inland Center
August, 1966
145,000 s.f.
The Chafing Dish

Bakersfield
Valley Plaza
August, 1967
150,000 s.f.
The Chafing Dish

Newport Beach
Fashion Island
September, 1967
179,000 s.f.
The Chafing Dish

Montclair
Montclair Plaza
August, 1968
147,000 s.f.

Fashion Valley
San Diego
September, 1969
168,000 s.f.
The Chafing Dish

Riverside
Tyler Mall
October, 1970
156,000 s.f.
The Chafing Dish

Orange
The Mall at Orange
August, 1971
The Chafing Dish

Los Cerritos
Cerritos Center
Septembver, 1971
175,000 s.f.
The Chafing Dish

Northridge
Northridge Fashion Center
October, 1971
181,000 s.f.
The Chafing Dish

Carson
Carson Mall
October, 1973
156,000 s.f.
The Chafing Dish

Broadway Plaza
Eighth, Flower, and Hope Sts.
November, 1973
250,000 s.f.
The Chafing Dish Atrium Dining Room
Country Kitchen Coffee Shop
Tavern Pub

Puente Hills Mall
City of Industry
February, 1974
The Chafing Dish

Arcadia
Santa Anita Mall
November, 1974
188,000 s.f.
The Chafing Dish

Laguna Hills
Laguna Hills Mall
August 1975
156,000 s.f.
The Chafing Dish

Culver City
Fox Hills Mall
October, 1975
189,000 s.f.
The Chafing Dish


Glendale
Galleria
August, 1976
191,000 sq. ft.
The Chafing Dish


Hawthorne
Hawthorne Plaza
February, 1977
The Chafing Dish

La Jolla
University Towne Center
October, 1977
155,000 sq. ft.
The Chafing Dish

Sherman Oaks
Galleria
November, 1977
183,000 s.f.
The Chafing Dish

Brea Mall
Brea
October, 1978
154,000 s.f.
The Chafing Dish


Thousand Oaks
The Oaks
February, 1978
155,000 s.f.
The Chafing Dish

Carlsbad
Plaza Camino Real
October, 1979
156,000 sq. ft.




Arthur Letts, founder of The Broadway, was born in the small town of Holdenby, Northamptonshire, England, in 1862, and went on to become one of the richest and most influential men in Southern California. While the bulk of his wealth came from the retail powerhouse he built, his journey from the bucolic English countryside to California was, for the most part, an uphill one. After leaving school at age 14, Letts worked in a dry goods firm, first as an apprentice, and moved to London where he remained until he reached 21 years of age.

By 1883, he had crossed the Atlantic ocean, and worked in Toronto, again in the retail business. Letts married in 1886, and relocated to Seattle in 1889, but the city suffered a catastrophic fire three days after his arrival, and the business in which he had found employment burned to the ground. Undaunted, he opened his own shop in a makeshift tent, but his enterprise met with failure and subsequent bankruptcy due to the financial panic of 1893. Paying his creditors only .35 on the dollar (though he later made good on his debts), Letts relocated to Los Angeles, and leased a dry goods store at the corner of Fourth Street and Broadway, then the southern end of Los Angeles’ retail district.

Named The Broadway Department Store, Letts’ establishment prospered quickly due to its policy of fixed prices and liberal returns. An early slogan of The Broadway was “All Cars Transfer at Fourth and Broadway” because trolley lines converged at the store’s corner.

As with many talented and successful people, Letts recognized talent in others and in fact drew talented people to the organization he founded. John Gillespie Bullock, born in Paris, Ontario, in 1871 was one such person. He joined The Broadway in 1896 and so distinguished himself that in twelve months he was appointed buyer, and later manager of the store. It is interesting to note that when Letts acquired a lease to a new department store building under construction further down Broadway, he suggested that Bullock take over the enterprise with his backing, and indeed Bullock’s, another of the city’s great department stores, was related to The Broadway through Letts.

The Broadway outgrew the handsome building it occupied, and in 1913 revealed plans to demolish half of its structure and take over space in the adjacent Clark hotel building, which fronted on Hill Street. In place of the old building would be erected a 9-story department store building “in a commercial adaptation of the Italian Renaissance style.” The company stated at the time that “the earth will be ransacked for merchandise” to fill the 470,000 sq. ft. building. When the first half of the planned structure opened in February of 1914, the Los Angeles Times described it as an “imposing and harmonious structure,” while Letts stated in an interview that “I am most pleased that my people, those who have worked so faithfully, can have plenty of heat, plenty of light . . . during their hours of downtown life.”

Letts suffered a nervous breakdown due to overwork and contracted pneumonia during convalescence.  Just prior to his death in 1923, he purchased the Wolfskill ranch in the Westwood district of Los Angeles, and planned to develop a district of grand estates which he named Holmby Hills, loosely based on the name of his native town in England. His son and son-in-law continued the development, which is today one of the most exclusive residential enclaves in the world. The Broadway was subsequently led by Arthur Letts, Jr., and indeed, at the time, the store’s management reminded customers that the elder Letts “left us the foundation stones of the business: truth, courtesy, liberality, and value” and that these principles would continue to guide the organization.

In fact, the store was being expanded when Letts passed away. The 10-story addition on Fourth Street opened in 1924, adding 128,000 sq. ft. to the store which was now an anchor on the north end of the Broadway retail district. Subsequently, in 1926, the estate of Arthur Letts sold The Broadway to its executives, and the business was renamed The Broadway Store, Incorporated.

The Broadway grew by acquiring smaller retailers. It purchased B.H. Dyas, which had just built a new store in Hollywood, in 1931. The store was christened The Broadway-Hollywood and was a major retail presence in “tinsel-town” during its heyday. Likewise, the purchase of Milliron’s in 1950 and Walker’s in 1956 gave The Broadway instant branches in Westchester and Long Beach, respectively.

A major event in 1950 was the merger of The Broadway with Hale Brothers of San Francisco, which operated department stores in Oakland, San Jose and Sacramento, as well as Weinstock’s in the latter city. The holding company was named Broadway-Hale stores, and went on to acquire The Emporium of San Francisco and Capwell’s of Oakland, which had operated together since 1927.

The Broadway entered the San Diego market in 1961 by purchasing Marston’s, a leading retailer, which operated independently for a few years before taking the Broadway name.  In 1968, the Broadway purchased Korrick’s of Phoenix, and by subsequent expansion in Arizona, Nevada, and New Mexico, formed a separate division known as The Broadway-Southwest.

In the Los Angeles area, The Broadway began branch expansion in earnest with a striking art-deco store on Pasadena’s Colorado Boulevard. A similar store anchored the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza in 1947, a pioneer planned shopping center. With the help of its architects, The Broadway developed a signature look for its suburban stores, which numbered in the thirties by 1979. Earlier stores (including those in Arizona) were composed of a large mass of patterned block which used the Southern California sun to great advantage. Some, such as the Cerritos, Northridge, and Newport Beach stores were surrounded by a colonnade of thin pillars, and others, like the Carson and Phoenix Metrocenter branches were characterized by a brutalist geometric design composed of overhangs and deep recesses. The Broadways later branches were more simple compositions of warm masonry, often with rounded or chamfered corners.

A firm favorite of middle-class shoppers, the Broadway dominated its market area and competed directly with The May Co., which served a similar market.   Even though it was not as exclusive as competitors Robinson's and Bullock's, its stores had a unique style which was appreciated by the public, and recognizable throughout the region.

As the public’s taste for designer names grew in the 1970s, the store responded by introducing “Signature” and “VIP Collections” in its department lineup. In the area of hospitality, the stores’ restaurants were popular casual dining locations, initially called “The Terrace Room” in many cases. Later the restaurants were re-branded “The Chafing Dish” and were well-patronized by The Broadway's customers.

The area in which the large downtown Broadway store began to decline in the 1960s, and by 1973, a replacement was built as a component of Broadway Plaza, a mixed-use development which also included a shopping gallery, an office tower, and the first new hotel built downtown in many years. Its opening was widely heralded as progress for downtown Los Angeles, even though its presence on Seventh Avenue, across Hope Street from The J.W. Robinson Co., meant that the traditional Broadway retail corridor – which the eponymous store abandoned – suffered continued decline.

Epilogue
The Broadway’s holding company was renamed Carter-Hawley-Hale Stores in 1972 “to reflect the contributions of its executives.” In reality, the name was often derided as “Ego, Inc.” by analysts, and the company went on an aggressive buying binge, acquiring Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman, and Canada’s Holt Renfrew luxury stores. In the east, Carter Hawley Hale gobbled up Thalhimers of Richmond and John Wanamaker. The Broadway stores also expanded in San Diego and into Colorado as well. This strategy involved enormous debt, eroding Carter Hawley Hale’s bottom line. The company declared bankruptcy in 1991, was downsized and reorganized into a new "Broadway Stores, Inc.," but was shortly thereafter taken over by Federated Department Stores. In the final transaction, The Broadway’s historic Los Angeles area stores were converted into Macy’s or Bloomingdale’s by Federated, depending on location.













68 comments:

  1. As the Broadway was one of the largest dept. store chains in its prime, I'd say that's one the largest suburban store galleries you've made! Well done! However, you omitted The Broadway Plaza store which replaced the 4th & Broadway store as their downtown flagship in 1973.

    The Hollywood store opened as B. H. Dyas in 1927. Westchester as Milliron's in 1949 and acquired by The Broadway the year after. Long Beach opened in 1955 as Walker's a year before that store was bought. The Grossmont and Chula Vista stores were originally Marston's in the years indicated, and were renamed The Broadway in 1964.

    You might also want to add their stores outside California that were eventually spun off into their Southwest division. In 1962,they acquired Korricks in Phoenix which operated a downtown store built in 1961, and a year-old branch store at Chris-Town Mall. In 1966, Korricks was renamed the Broadway and opened a store in Las Vegas at Boulevard Mall. The following year, they closed their downtown Phoenix store and consolidated the staff and merchandise with the expanded Chris-Town store.

    Here are the remaining non-California Broadway locations and opening dates:

    1968-Biltmore Fashion Park, Phoenix
    1969-Los Arcos Mall, Scottsdale
    1973-Metrocenter, Phoenix
    1974-Park Mall, Tucson and Fashion Place, Murray, UT*
    1976-Coronado Center, Albuquerque
    1978-Meadows Mall, Las Vegas
    1979-Fiesta Mall, Mesa, AZ

    *The Murray branch was converted to The Broadway's Sacramento-based sibling, Weinstock's in 1978. I hope you do a Weinstock's exhibition very soon.

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  2. "The Broadway Southwest" will be covered along with other Phoenix department stores in due course.

    I will add the Broadway Plaza shortly along with a floor-by-floor for the Wilshire store, too. It took a lot of searching to find so many images of the branch stores, that I had to postpone further updates, so the exhibit, as of now, is a "work in progress."

    At the moment, I do not have a lot of information about Weinstock's, but I do hope to find enough to include it. In fact, all of the exhibits which I intend to include are listed on the "Welcome to the Museum" page, but it will take some time.

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  3. I thought there was one in North Hollywood, next to the freeway?

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  4. The store next to the freeway in North Hollywood was The May Company

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  5. I used to work at the store on Wilshire Blvd.. so long ago.. How can we contact some of The Broadway

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  6. The Long Beach store opened as Walker's in 1955, a year before being acquired and renamed The Broadway.

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  7. The Broadway was located in Santa Monica and The Beverly Center in West Hollywood/LA

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  8. I worked at the Wilshire store in 1975-6. It was a grand dept store in it's day. I have no pictures but a vivid memory of the store because of it's history. Gary

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  9. I have a chronological list the of the exact opening dates of the Los Angeles and Chicago chains. Here are the opening dates for The Broadway. The parenthisised names indicate the previous nameplate of the location The Broadway acquired.

    Downtown - Feb. 24, 1896
    Hollywood - Mar. 9, 1931 (B. H. Dyas)
    Pasadena - Nov. 15, 1940
    Crenshaw - Nov. 21, 1947
    Westchester - Aug. 18, 1950 (Milliron's)
    Panorama City - Oct. 10, 1955
    Anaheim - Oct. 14, 1955
    Long Beach - Oct. 22, 1956 (Walker's)
    Del Amo - Feb. 16, 1959
    Wilshire - Mar. 8, 1960 (Coulter's)
    Whittier - Feb. 13, 1961
    West Covina - Aug. 6, 1962
    Ventura - Sept. 30, 1963
    Topanga - Aug. 24, 1964
    Century City - Oct. 12, 1964
    Downey - Oct. 18, 1965
    Huntington Beach - Nov. 15, 1965
    San Bernardino - Aug. 29, 1966
    Bakersfield - Feb. 27, 1967
    Newport Beach - Sept. 11, 1967
    Montclair - Aug. 5, 1968
    Fashion Valley - Sept. 8, 1969 (replacing Downtown San Diego store)
    Riverside - Oct. 12, 1970
    Orange - Aug. 16, 1971
    Cerritos - Sept. 13, 1971
    Northridge - Oct. 18, 1971
    Carson - Sept. 10, 1973
    Broadway Plaza - Nov. 17, 1973 (replacing orig. Downtown LA flagship)
    Puente Hills - Feb. 18, 1974
    Santa Anita - Nov. 11, 1974
    Laguna Hills - Aug 4, 1975
    Glendale - Aug ?, 1976
    Hawthorne - Feb 14, 1977
    La Jolla - Oct 15, 1977
    Sherman Oaks - Nov 5, 1977
    Thousand Oaks - Feb 18, 1978
    Brea - Oct 21, 1978
    Carlsbad - Oct 20, 1979
    Plaza Pasadena - Aug 16, 1980 (replacing 1940 Pasadena store)
    Santa Monica - Oct 16, 1980
    Beverly Center - Mar ?, 1982
    Downtown San Diego @ Horton Plaza - Oct 4, 1985
    Escondido @ North County Fair - Feb 13, 1986
    Costa Mesa @ South Coast Plaza's Crystal Court -Oct 31, 1986
    Santa Barbara @ Paseo Nuevo Mall - Aug 17, 1990

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  10. Nice pictures! The Broadway Pasadena and Crenshaw are almost similiar but for a long while the stores each had a design unique to that store prior to the fifties. I live about a mile west from the ex-Broadway now doing just nice as Sears, Whittwood, 1961, and can tell you that it's nice to see that 1955 "Anaheim Plaza" look, then the next standard look, designed for "Whittwood", and the similiar one for 1962's "West Covina Plaza".

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  11. This is an amazing site. I never cease to be thriled at the quality and amount of information that is available through the internet. The novelty never wears off. I am in possesion of BROADWAY memorabilia for an event that took place in 1929 and 1930. The event was called The DOLL TEA PARTY and the items are teacups and saucers. The have the BROADWAY name and ALFRED LETTS JR.'s signature on some of them. There seems to have been different artists designs commemrating the event...I have been hunting information on these items for four years now and have not been able to come up with anything solid. I hope my selfish needs are not taken the wrong way by using this wonderful siet as a platform to find out information but..what do I have to lose? And what is interesting also is if these dated items are 1929 and 1930...which BROADWAY was the event held at? Being a California native and having moved around a lot...it is fun to look at the different Broadways and having memories from them. THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES!!

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  12. This website is great! Although most of these buildings were built way before my time (im only 25) I have an appreciation for the design of these buildings. I live in southern california and frequently drive by these buildings. Ironically, I work in the old Broadway at Fashion Island which is currently a Bloomingdale's. Next time I walk into work I'll appreciate my old building a little more.

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  13. I worked in the advertising department from 1974 to 1985 as a home furnishings illustrator. A great place to start my career. After 11 years of drawing bedding, pots and pans, furniture, appliances... anything that wasn't fashion... I could draw anything. I kind of lament the loss of the type of newspaper advertising we had back then, that was my first job and as I look back, one of my best.

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  14. Does anyone remember the Cheesecake they served at their tea rooms? Is the recipe still around?

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  15. wow, great site, I worked for the Broadway at the Hollywood store till it closed, Westchester and then
    the Santa Monica Store, many fond memories of that
    Department Store, Remember when Managers worked 9-5 Monday through Friday and we had night and weekend Manager ? I tale that tell to all my Managers now.

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  16. Excellent website and sketches of many of the stores I helped open. Many, many a fond memory with The Broadway. I spent 5 years in Hollywood managing nights and weekends while in college. I know every inch of that store from the lower level to the penthouse. Then on to open Glendale and then The Service Building.Asst Buyer, Buyer and Home Furnishings VP. 15 years 1971-1986. An Important part of California history is lost to the younger generation, but I still have some friends. Hi Steve!

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  17. Thanks for the comments about The Braodway. I would like to include a directory for the Hollywood store; I should be able to glean the information from the Los Angeles Times.

    I appreciate your affection for this fine store.

    BAK

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  18. I worked at the Broadway Montclair Plaza as a contingent on call extra and from there became a cashier at the Service Bldg in Los Angeles as my last position in 1979. The stores I was employed besides Montclair were Puente Hills, Fox Hills, Westchester, Northridge, Panorama City and Glendale. I had some wonderful years and remember them fondly. It was a joy to come to work and I loved every year. I was shocked and saddened to learn when living in Michigan that the company went defunct!

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  19. I miss the Broadway very much. I worked there for the last 5 years in the San Diego area. I worked from a commissioned sales associate up to management and had fun doing it. The environment in the store was fun and rewarding. I met my wife there and lots of my life long friends and will always regard the years spent there as some of the best. When Macy's took over it was never the same.

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  20. Bak...Would love to see the Hollywood Store Directory and relive my countless hours riding up and down the escalator. When the bells rang out twice and then five times I had to pick up a store phone to hear where they needed a check signed off for a customer. No pagers, no cell phones...those were the days!

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  21. Is there ANY way to find out when an employee was hired at the Downtown Store? Here is the reason: My cousin was working there in 1971 when she was murdered. I am the family historian and have been researching her, but do not know when she began that job. Would love to find that out and add it to her family information. This site awesome. Thanks so much for making it.

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  22. What do the numbers mean after each department?

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  23. The numbers are the department numbers used by the store, which they also published in their advertisments. Some stores did this, others didn't. One can only assume that the ones that did, like The Broadway, did so to help customers find merchandise in case of difficulty.

    BAK

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  24. To begin with, let me say how sorry I am to hear that your cousin was murdered. The only consolation is that after so long, she is obviously still remembered, and kept alive in her loved ones' hearts. One also hopes and prays that there was some justice for this terrible crime.

    I would check with Macy's, Inc. They bought The Broadway and may still maintain some of those records. I do know that the former Marshall Field & Company store on State Street in Chicago has an archive and museum, but whether the records are there, in New York, or Cincinnati (current headquarters), I cannot say.

    You may try also something like Ancestry.com for social security and tax records, if they have them.

    Furthermore, I have access to The Los Angeles Times archives in digital format, and I could search her name. If you would like me to, comment with your e-mail and her name (I will not publish the comment) and I will try to find what I can for you. I have a few major commitments over the next couple of weeks, so it may take a little time, but I will try my best to help.

    Kind regards:

    Bruce

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  25. I worked for the Broadway Security Department from 1978 to 1994 in various capacities. I worked in the Newport Beach, Laguna Hills, Huntington Beach, Carlsbad and Escondido stores, The Service Building, as well as an internal investigator covering all the stores. There wasn't a ceiling, crawlspace or hidden wall I didn't have to go inside at one time or another. This is a pretty cool site.

    Have you heard the ghost stories about the Hollywood store?

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  26. Thahnks, DWK, for the compliment and for your comments. Given that Oct. 31 is approaching, why don't you submit the ghost stories here for everyone to enjoy?

    BAK

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  27. The Broadway played some role in nearly everyone's life if they grew up in Southern California during it's day. My grandmother worked in the Pasadena and Huntington Beach locations for many years and always spoke of it fondly. I went on to work for the company in the mid-1980's. The Pasadena and Hollywood locations were key, they represented the first time the Broadway made it to the suburbs. Interestingly, The Broadway-Hollywood sign still stands, although the building has been converted to fabulous condos that now use the name for the development. That sign can be seen in old episodes of "I Love Lucy" during the season when the show is set in California. You might have thought that producers of the show would have used the famous hillside Hollywood sign, yet, revealing it's importance, in the view from the window of Ricky and Lucy's hotel suite stands the classic, neon, timeless sign that reads "The Broadway - Hollywood." The sign itself is a landmark! For a time a slogan used by the company was "The Broadway IS Southern California." It's true, it really was.

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  28. The 'Broadway - Hollywood' sign was also visible in the photo used for many years behind Johnny Carson's desk on The Tonight Show.

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  29. No picture or information of the Beverly Center- Los Angeles store. Joel

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  30. My Grandfather was the manager and a partner in Broadway Hale starting in the late 1920s. In 1931 he opened The Broadway Hollywood and managed that store from 1931-1940. He moved to the Broadway Pasadena in 1940 staying in charge until 1955 when he transferred to the new Anaheim store. He retired from the Broadway after 35-years in 1960.

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  31. Here's a link that includes photos of the distinctive "stacked blocks" Broadway store in Riverside, California. Opened in 1970 and designed by Los Angeles-based Charles Luckman & Associates, the building has sister stores in Fresno and Citrus Heights (Sacramento). The Riverside building previously housed Macy's (1996-2006) and recently re-opened as Forever 21.

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  32. I'd like to see an exhibit on Weinstock's, the Sacramento-based sibling of the The Broadway. There are some photos of their branch stores from the Sacramento History Catalog under http://sacramento.pastperfect-online.com. I'd be more than happy to provide the opening dates of the Weinstocks branches.

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  33. I plan to include Weinstock's; I have seen the photos of the branches at the Sacramento History Center; but I would need a floor-by-floor directory of the downtown store, preferably from the 1960s. The only way I can get this information is by looking through Sacramento Newspapers, which are not yet online.

    Bruce

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  34. My first job was at The Broadway Chula Vista (Store 37) in 1980. I transferred to the newly remodeled Fashion Valley store (Store 38) in the same year. It was a lovely store in the largest mall in the area. The Fashion Valley store replaced the downtown Marston's store in 1969. Most Broadways had a three-story plan with Cosmetics, Accessories, Plaza Sportswear, Ladies Shoes and The Men's Store (Men's Suits, Furnishings, Sportswear and Young Men's or University Shop) on 1, Dresses, Furs, Lingerie, Children's and Junior's on 2, and Housewares, China and Glass, Silver, Linens, Draperies, Furniture and Notions on 3. There was a restaurant in all stores, and it was quite the place for a special occasion. The Grossmont store (Store 36) was not on the same plan, as it was only 2 stories and was planned before Broadway's acquisition of Marston's. Chula Vista was the first store in San Diego that was planned by The Broadway and looks similar to Huntington Beach and many of the locations in Arizona and to many of the mid-60's Weinstock's in Sacramento. The 3 San Diego locations mentioned are now Macy's branches, with Fashion Valley functioning as the flagship Macy's location in the area. Too bad there is not a picture of the Grossmont store in La Mesa as it is a lovely store, too.

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  35. Correction: The Broadway Sherman Oaks was at Sherman Oaks Fashion Square, not Sherman Oaks Galleria. May Company and Robinson's were the anchors of Galleria. Fashion Square won the battle and now has Macy's (former Bullock's) and Bloomingdales (former Broadway).

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  36. I purchase a wooden tennis racket at a garage sale today and did not know what type of racket is was. I'm just a tennis fan looking for old rackets. One side of the racket has "Peter Pan" and the other side has "BH DYAS CO LA". I searched "B.H. DYAS CO LA", and found your information. What great information on the Broadway Store and how wonderful to own a little of their history.

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  37. I worked at the Broadway at the Boulevard Mall in Las Vegas, NV from 1969 to 1986. It was a great store to work in and great people to work with. I miss it but I still have friends today that I worked with then!

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  38. The Broadway Westchester had door handles that were "W"s. My Dad said they stood for the town name. Since this history says the original store at that site was Milliron's I have a feeling that they were originally "M"s. I know when Mervyn's took over the store the handles were turned around and appeared as "M"s. They were there in 2005 when I last took my Dad shopping there.

    This building had parking on the roof of the building which made it unique in the area. They had a room at the roof level when I took a "Charm" course as a young teen. The restaurant may have been at this level also, but the rest of the store was all on the first floor.

    The hat department was located at the southwest corner of the building, near the grand entrance. It always looked like a fairyland to me.

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  39. Outstanding Article!!! I love the pictures of the Broadbuildings, I think they are so wonderful and I am glad they are still around in Los Angeles. I am linking my article on Arthur Letts to this post. Thanks for the great article!

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  40. What an outstanding job you did on The Broadway's history. Given how numerous the branch locations were, and the changes in corporate name from 1950 through the 1996 Federated acquisition that closed the books on Bullock's, The Broadway, The Emporium and Weinstock's. A couple of facts to add to your well-written history: Arthur Letts Jr's former home is known today as the Playboy Mansion.
    The Chafing Dish name gave way to 'Cafe California' by summer 1988, which was when I began work there. The food service division was slowly being phased out: a few were removed during remodels; in others the entrances were just blocked off and the spaces (tables, chairs and equipment intact)used for storage.

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  41. my great aunt anna lee cates had lions and wild cats that somehow worked for may and company from flier i have from early 1900's ...does anyone know about that? thanks anna Lee

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  42. Before Federated Stores acquired (and later changed it's name to) Macy's, it was actually considering purchasing the Broadway with the intent on re-naming it A&S -West. Of course, this didn't happen as the Macy's name was considered the new national moniker. So the remaining Broadway stores are now either Macy's or Bloomingdales.

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  43. Awsome Collection and I really appreciate your work.

    I worked for the Broadway for many years, then became a Social Worker prior to its demise. The end of the Broadway Chain triggered a hobby and passion of capturing things are changing or going away in my area. You have done well!

    Thank you so much,
    Tortuga One on FLICKR

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  44. I grew up in Playa del Rey in the 60's and 70's and our go-to store was The Broadway in Westchester. I do remember the W door handles just like Sharon said. And yes, there was a restaurant up on the top parking lot level. My mom used to take me and my sister there for special occasions. Good times. Thanks for the memories and creating such a great website!

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  45. Gordon Pattison08 October, 2012 02:03

    I grew up in Westchester in the 40's and 50's. Yes, the door handles were turned upside down when The Broadway acquired Milliron's. I bought a Mickey Mantle model Rawlings baseball glove there in 1954 which I still have. Every year Santa Claus was set up on the central stairs which came down from the rooftop parking area. It was thrilling to drive up the ramps to the roof.

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  46. I met my husband when we were working together at The Broadway Glendale in 1980. I miss all the people we met through the years, it was a good place to work for so many years, I was there for 12 years, my husband until they were closing all the stores and turning some into Macy's. Thank you for your article it brings back many fond memories.

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  47. This is a great website. I worked at the Broadway Panorama City from Christmas 1967 to September 1972, while in college. In the early 60s the Beach Boys performed at the Broadway for a back to school fashion show. Later Gary Puckett and the Union Gap performed at the Hollywood Bowl for another back to school show. The wooden escalator at the downtown store still is there. The building now houses offices. What a shame these department stores no longer are there. Shopping downtown used to be fun!

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  48. Does anybody have the recipe for the Broadway cheesecake the Chafing Dish Restaurant made? It was so good! I used to have it on a tee shirt years ago but moving caused me to lose it! I made it several times and it turned out really well. Just forgot it because I haven't made it for a long time!

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  49. Great website, my mother is part of the Letts Family. Arthur Letts is my Great Uncle. We have one of the family books that was given out at the time of his death. He is buried in the "Hollywood Forever Cemetery" on Santa Monica Blvd. My mom worked at the downtown store back in the 50's. in the office. Again, thank you for keeping the store alive.....

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  50. The hamburgers at the Ventura store's Terrace Room restaurant were authentic char-broiled. They were very good.

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  51. I grew up at the Broadway Bakersfield. Worked 25 years there. Went through the take over attempt by the Limited. Went through many remodels until it became a Macys.
    The Broadway was a class act here in town. Very much into the community. Paul Allen, store manager for most of those years. Staff was developed and made to feel appreciated. Very proud of having worked there.

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  52. The thing I most remember was the wonderful coconut cream pie served at the Chafing Dish Restaurant at 4th & Broadway downtown Los Angeles. Vary proud to have worked in the credit files from 1970-1975

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  53. My great-aunt was the buyer for the downtown Broadway store in the 1930's. It was quite an important job, and she was one of the first women to fly on buying trips around the world. Apparently, it was in all the Los Angeles newspapers. I'm doing a family history and haven't been able to locate any of these articles. Did the store maintain archives? Any ideas on how to find out more about this? Thanx for any help.

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  54. i'm looking for the cheesecake recipe too

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  55. It was good to find this on line museum. I worked at the Broadway Store (Store #18) while in college, and later moved into regional and corporate positions. I loved the company and miss it a lot. Might be interesting to add the store numbers for each of the chain's stores. For example, the downtown store in L.A. was store #1, and years later the downtown Plaza store became number 1 (the company's NEW flagship store). Hollywood was #2, Pasadena was #3, etc.

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  56. I worked at The Broadway Department stores from 1977 - 1987. Started at Del Amo, transferred to the alarm center ( security) servicing all the Building alarm systems. Then transferred to Brea as the store engineer. Spent the last year at the Carson store.

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  57. Does anyone have a menu from the Chafing Dish from around 1978-1980?

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  58. I seem to recall that in the late '80s or early '90s, when I was a kid, that the restaurant in The Broadway at the Tyler Mall in Riverside, CA was called Cafe California or California Cafe. Maybe I'm wrong. Does anyone remember an in-store restaurant by that name?

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  59. I was 19 when I started working in the Chafing Dish Restaurant in the Broadway at Grossmont Center, San Diego, 1969 - 1971
    During my employment the Downtown San Diego store closed and the Fashion Valley opened. I also worked a few days at the Riverside store when it opened. I started as a dishwasher/busboy and worked up to line cook. Every Friday night we had a buffet set up in the dining room. I prepared the salads and served the roast beef as the diners requested it. It was very popular with the customers. The kitchen crew were great. We had a cook Erma who made wonderful breads and desserts. Coconut pies and date nut bread were the most popular ones. The older cooks took the younger one under their wings and tried to teach them how to cook real food. The kitchen was huge with rows of stainless steel counters. Originally everything was prepared from scratch. There was a steam kettle that was big enough to bathe in. They made homemade soups and served them by the cup or the bowl. Actually they were the same size but .25 cents difference (maybe it was the extra crackers). That restaurant was very popular and being on the second floor it drew in a lot of potential customers for the store. Originally there was a second dining room but they turned it into a toy department. The dining room seated about 100 and the coffee shop 45. I threw a lot of dishes through that dish washer. There was a belt conveyor the ran from the dining room to the dishwasher. It held about 30 bus pans and it was usually filled by the end of lunch. I worked under four different managers. The first one was on vacation when I was hired and took a immediate dislike to me. I don’t know why. The second one a man that loved to eat bacon even though it was against his religious views. The third was a terrible man that would sit at his desk behind a window and say suggestive things to the waitresses as the walked by. He was escorted out in handcuffs for stealing from the cash register ( he cost one cashier her job ). The last one I worked under was a wonderful lady that treated us a special people and we loved working for her.
    During my employment the 70’s fashion era started with the wild designs and colors. The sales people had a dress code: dark suits and ties for the men and white blouses and dark skirts for the ladies. Well the fancy dressed mannequins made the sales people look really old fashion. So the management finally changed the dress code. As I worked around the store employees taking their breaks in the coffee shop, I heard lots of unguarded conversations. The issue of the dress code was a real problem with some of the older workers. It caused sort of a separation by their liberal and conservative clothes.
    Sorry to say most of those fellow workers are long gone - but not forgotten. I Loved the experience.

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  60. recently we bought a house in Claremore, Oklahoma. In a kitchen cabinet we found a box which contains a Shafford Tea Set in its original packaging that appears to have never been used. On the outside of the box is a hand written shipping label that shows the Broadway, 3880 No. Mission Rd, Los Angeles , Ca. the label doesn't appear to have a complete date but does have other information such as salesman number, purchaser's account number, etc.

    I would like to see if anyone can help us put a timeframe around when this may have been purchased. I have a high resolution image of the label. If you think you could help please contact me at robertwtownsend@hotmail.com.

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  61. I do believe that the address was of the Broadway's warehouse and distribution center in Los Angeles. I do not know when it was built there, but you could,if your library has access to ProQuest Historical Newspapers, search for not only it but Broadway ads for Shafford China as well.
    Good Luck,
    Bruce

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  62. I have a pair of early 1900's women's boots with the Arthur Lett's label. Do you collect items for the museum to display?

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  63. Thanks - I could only use a picture of them which I would place in the exhibit eventually.
    Bruce

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  64. This wonderful site brings back the best memories for me. This was where my Mother and I liked to shop. I grew up in Whittier and worked at the mall and this was my Mothers favorite place for shoes and purses. Also my beloved Aunt Joyce (my mothers sister) used to take me to Stonewood Broadway for my first underthings. I have lost them both now, (first Christmas without my Mother) and this has brought some peace and joy to this Christmas without the one who loved Christmas and modeled her tree after the big one that used to sit on the Broadway main floor! (My successful father almost went broke with that one!) Not to mention she loved the gift wrap department and used it often when she did not have time to create her own works of wrapping art. Thank you so much for this beautiful tribute site. Genie

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  65. Dear Genie!
    God bless your dear mother and your aunt Joyce, too. Look what great memories they gave you, and to have a little part in helping you remember is a tremendous pleasure.
    Merry Christmas,
    Bruce

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  66. I worked in the display dept.at topanga plaza 1971 to 1979 with many famous people sam gross, david j o Connell and pat Thompson. creative artist that became famous. if you remember them,share it, soni .

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  67. I received a lovely necklace for Christmas from my daughter-in-law. She purchased it from a local antique/consignment shop. I the box was a slip from THE BROADWAY Los Angeles-Hollywood-Pasadena. I'm assuming it is costume jewlery as there is a Dept. 20 on the receipt it has a sales person # R29 and a serial &check No. 46344-47. There is also a P142 stamped over the other wording and that may say instrector it is very faint. Is there anyway to find about what year this was purchased? Any other info would be greatly appreciated. The necklace is silver with some kind of clear stones and other stones that look like black onyx. It is very pretty. Thanks!

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  68. All I can tell you is that it was bought between 1940 and 1947, given the fact that the logo on the box mentions The Pasadena store of 1940, but not the Crenshaw one that opened in 1947.
    -Bruce

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