Structure Type: built works - commercial buildings - department stores

Designers: Dodd and Richards, Architects (firm); William James Dodd (architect); William Richards (architect/engineer)

Dates: constructed 1915

7 stories, total floor area: 392,000 sq. ft.

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600 West 7th Street
Downtown, Los Angeles, CA 90017

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Building History

This huge new department store opened at 10:00 A.M. on 09/07/1915. Olive Gray, writing in the Los Angeles Times in 1915, described the nine-acre interior as one of "dignified elegance." She stated: "There is nothing ornate, nothing tawdry in decorative effects, but everywhere evident is solid, chaste, worthy finish such as has always distinguished this house The decorative effects throughout the house are such as must appeal to the most exacting tastes. Soft, delicate grays, modes and tans in woodwork and tile, as well as in the occasional touches of tapestried panels which give a luxurious air, are grateful to the eye of the beholder. Southern gum of handsome grain, chastely inlaid, forms the woodwork." Upon entry, she was struck by the store's scale: "...A grand aisle, sixteen feet in width, enters from Seventh street, while spanning the distance from Grand avenue to Hope street stretched a long vista which for the first time gives an adequate idea of the area covered by this vast establishment." She complimented the "abundance of light and air" and the technological advances--"the spiral chutes, moving belts and tubes for transportation of merchandise to and from counters and stockrooms"--that could deliver goods from storage at rapid rates or transport shoppers upstairs. A bank of elevators had a special feature: "The immense battery of elevators which gives access to all floors is equipped with a system of bridges by means of which, should power at any time be impeded upon one lift, the passengers may step out and pass in safety to another, at whatever elevator the car may be at the time." In the original layout, the first floor contained women's notions and accessories, jewelry, menswear, boyswear, leather goods, stationery, and "bargain square;" the second contained linens, fabrics, silk dress goods patterns, ladies restroom and dressing rooms, beauty parlors and a shoe shining area; the third had misses and ladies clothing, baby items, children's wear, dressing gowns, kimonos, and underwear; the fourth had rugs and draperies, statuary, cut glass, porcelains and toys; the fifth had offices, an auditorium, spaces for the alteration department and workrooms; the sixth had a hospital and reserve stockroom; the seventh had an employee's cafeteria, two outdoor courtyards, a female employee's restroom, and a men's court and lounge; the top floor contained a roof garden and a cafe "to be opened later on." (See Olive Gray, "Doors of Merchandise Palace to Swing Wide," Los Angeles Times, 09/07/1915, part II page 3.)

Building Notes

The Los Angeles County Assessor indicated that the building at 600 West 7th Street had 470,702 square feet in 2019.


Although this location was three blocks west of the established department store row on Broadway, this Robinson's store achieved rapid success. Other shops relocated to operated close to the prestigious new store. In 1923, a 232,000-square-foot, seven-story annex was built on its south side that nearly doubled capacity to 624,000 square feet. The building's original Mission Revival details were removed in 1934, when the store was updated to have a simpler exterior with strongly vertical shafts lining the facade. Its interior was updated earlier between 1931-1933.

Los Angeles County Assessor Number: 5144011019

PCAD id: 18454