A Look Back at Robinson’s as the Glamorous Beverly Hills Store is Demolished


The calls and emails and gory cell phone videos have been coming in all week as the former Robinson’s department store in Beverly Hills is being demolished. The ultra-glamorous shopping palace opened in 1952 and was designed by William Pereira and Charles Luckman, the iconic architects behind CBS Television City, LACMA, and the Forum.

The white marble clad store covered nearly a quarter million square feet with departments for luggage, furs, stationery, gowns… and interiors by Raymond Loewy, probably the most iconic industrial designers of the 20th century. 

The store, which period reports describe as being covered in “Travertine marble from Peru, St. Victor’s rose marble from Portugal, black Andes granite from Brazil, and Rosewood from Madagascar” is currently being ground into a fine powder as plans for a high-rise condo building continue to marinate.

Robinson’s began in Wild West-era L.A. with a store at Spring and Temple, which relocated to 7th and Grand in 1914. That building is now a data center with Coco Laurent and Sugarfish restaurants on the ground floor. The chain merged with May Company in 1992 to become the short-lived Robinson’s-May and closed their last store in 2006. 

To celebrate this grand old Los Angeles nameplate, let’s take a look back at Robinson’s through the years, with images from the Los Angeles Public Library.

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  • Bob

    I remember being heartbroken when they replaced the elegant script “Robinson’s” with the tacky block-letter “Robinson’s-May”. I’m so glad not to live there as they tear the whole damn thing down. :-(

  • Gia

    The most stressful-free stop for a quick Holiday gift from the cosmetics counter. With such easy parking, I could be in and out within 20 minutes.

  • Suzie

    I loved this store, the Tea Room was wonderful with my mom and grandmother. I agree with the ease of shopping and parking…old world shopping is missed.

  • Gloria

    It was walking distance for me and I always found something wonderful at the holidays. Yes, it was horrible when it closed and then it just sat there for so many years – vacant and a negative reminder that time goes on and life goes on and nothing stays the same – sometimes for the better – but in this case – it was never to be replaced.

  • Victoria Moore

    I’m heartbroken they’re tore down Robinson’s-May. I worked at May Co. at one time, and Robinson’s another time, while attending school as a Fashion Merchandising student at CSULA. This definitely makes me feel sad for the future of retail, and California architecture. Why do we have to destroy our past when we don’t have anything better to replace it with?