Established in 1880 as Barker & Muller in a small outlet near the Plaza, the company now supplied furniture to most of the city’s hotels in addition to its retail business.
The new 11-story red brick Renaissance Revival Building at the southwest corner of Seventh & Flower streets and the southeast corner of Seventh & Figueroa streets was designed by Curlett & Beelman. The brothers pulled off the move from 724-728 S. Broadway in just 60-hours, with Charles H. Barker hand carrying a clock that had ticked in the main office through all of the company’s locations. The store threw open its doors with a gala reception on January 25, 1926.
Though famous for its furniture, the company sold much more than that by 1926. It had a full inventory of household goods, sheet music, toys, electrical appliances, and artwork. It also offered interior design services. The top floor featured an auditorium that seated 600 and had its own theater pipe organ.
For weary shoppers, the popular Mary Louise Tea Room, whose main location was at Westlake Park, opened an outlet on the 11th floor of Barker Brothers the day after the store’s grand opening.
The foyer features a great concert pipe organ, one of three in the new store. The pair of decorated trees were trucked down from Lake Arrowhead in 1926. It would be a tradition in the store thereafter.
Barker Brothers would open a branch store in Hollywood in October 1927, occupying the upper floors of the new El Capitan Theater on Hollywood Blvd. The flagship downtown store closed its doors in 1984.
Top image: The new Barker Brothers in 1926. LAPL.