Videos of Interest


Thursday, April 1, 2010

May Company, Wilshire & Fairfax, Los Angeles. Opened 1940. Architects: Albert C. Martin & S.A. Marx

David May founded what was to become The May Department Stores Company in Leadville, Colorado in 1877, one year before R.H. Macy founded his famous chain. It was in 1910 that the name The May Department Stores Company, later to be known as May Co., was officially incorporated. The May Company California division was established in 1923 when David May acquired A. Hamburger & Sons Co.

This striking building at the corner of Wilshire Blvd. and S. Fairfax Ave. marks the western end of the "Miracle Mile" in Los Angeles, a brand new concept in city planning for the 1920s that centered around the automobile as opposed to the pedestrian. The May Company Wilshire, as it was soon to be known, was constructed in 1940 by architects Albert C. Martin & S.A. Marx.

I took these photographs when I first moved to the area in 1989. How well I remember the 'store closing' sale during it's final months. Sadly, I never photographed the exquisite interior, with its wood paneled elevators and it's polished escalators. In my mind I can still picture the interior as it was when I walked through the doors off Wilshire Blvd. The May Company chain dissolved in 1993 and many of it's stores became Macy's Department Stores. Happily, this building was preserved and acquired by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. They've retained its streamlined facade for future generations to appreciate.

May Company Wilshire, corner of Wilshire Blvd. & S. Fairfax Ave., Los Angeles (1989)

May Company Wilshire, looking east down Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles (1989)