LA Observed is reporting that demolition was scheduled to begin yesterday on the shuttered Robinsons-May store in Beverly Hills. A later update indicated it now looks like it is delayed until summer. Whenever it goes, I’ll be sad to see it go.
The Beverly Hills Robinsons (the -May came later) was built in the day of the stand-alone department store. It was an elegant place, across from the Beverly Hilton. The modernist William Pereira and Charles Luckman design echoed the era: it was designed for the car, not the pedestrian; there was elegant afternoon dining for the ladies at the top, and floors of elegant fashion. It opened in 1952 and closed in 2004.
My memories, however, are from the late 1960s, when my grandmother worked there in the Ladies Lingerie department. I always had the belief that she got the job there through family connections with Stix, Baer, and Fuller in St. Louis, where her brother-in-law was once a buyer. I have vague memories of visiting her at the store as a yungun, and occasionally waiting for her. The store reflected her style — I always saw my grandmother as elegant and beautiful.
Nowadays, everytime I drive across Wilshire and go past the shuttered store, I think of her and smile in remembrance. The power of place.