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Shopping Through History at The New Marshalls

By Kim Sudhalter

January 16, 2015

Honestly, there’s nothing I like better than a long shopping day at Marshalls. The thrill of finding that perfect designer dress on sale for $39.99 is like nothing else on earth…better than Christmas, my birthday and Valentine’s Day all rolled into one. And as a Marshalls fan, I’ve been to lots of them in different cities…New York, Chicago and Boston to name a few. But none, I repeat, none, rivals the new Marshalls that opened recently in the historic Petersen Building at 7013 Hollywood Blvd.  Spacious, clean, bright and packed with everything you could possibly want, the new Marshalls is truly one of the best shopping experiences around.

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One of the things that makes this Marshalls so special is the architecture. The neo-Renaissance style building, which opened in 1930, was designed as a showroom and office building for Hillcrest Motor Company by architects Meyer & Holler, best known for the Chinese and Egyptian Theatres, First National Bank Building and Hollywood Athletic Club. The two-story Don Lee Cadillac La Salle dealership had auto showrooms on the first floor, and auto repair and service shops upstairs. It boasted impressive arched windows on both the Hollywood Blvd and N. Orange sides that allowed natural light to flood the rooms, showcasing the beautiful cars.

Don Lee-Hillcrest Cadillac dealership 1930 at Orange and Hollywood Blvd

Don Lee-Hillcrest Cadillac dealership,1930, at Orange and Hollywood Blvd. Photo courtesy of Marc Wanamaker.

Along the Hollywood Blvd. ground floor frontage, the building featured three specialty retail spaces, one of which housed the world famous C. C. Brown’s ice cream parlor from the early 1930s to its closing in 1996. An appliance store called Electra City occupied the former Hillcrest space from 1948 until the mid-50s. That was replaced by a Hertz Rent-A-Car, Avis Rent-A-Car and Shakey’s Pizza Parlor over the years. Then, in 1975, the building was leased to publishing magnate Robert Petersen as a home for his astounding collection of TV and movie cars, motorcycles, and hot rods.

Don Lee Building 1932 - Hillcrest Cadillac at Orange and Hollywood Blvd011

Don Lee Building 1932 – Hillcrest Cadillac at Orange and Hollywood Blvd. Photo courtesy of Marc Wanamaker.

The publisher who built his empire around such auto-themed publications as Motor Trend, Car Craft and Rod & Custom opened the “Motorama Museum,” a one of a kind attraction where “The Cars Are the Stars.” A 1975 L.A. Times ad touted the exhibit as featuring more than 60 cars, including the “Bat Fuzz” ’66 Batmobile, Munster Koach, Beverly Hillbillies Rod, Bonnie & Clyde ’34 Ford Movie Car, and more. In 1994, Petersen established the Petersen Automotive Museum on Wilshire and moved the entire collection away from Hollywood. The top floor then operated as a Hornberg Jaguar Service Center, staying with the auto theme, and an auto garage until 2014.

Motorama Museum fr LA Times

1975 Motorama Ad

The new Marshalls, which debuted in November 2014, makes good use of the industrial nature of the building. The tall curved windows are shown off to perfect advantage against a backdrop of white-painted bow and truss supports and skylights. The ceilings are high and the shop floor is wide open, providing plentiful space for browsing for clothing, shoes, accessories, housewares and beauty products. The end result is a shopping nirvana in a one-of-a-kind location that makes for a truly memorable Hollywood experience.

Kim Sudhalter has worked with the Hollywood Entertainment District since its early years, helping to attract investment and revitalize the area. Originally from Europe and New York, she is an architecture and history buff who has a deep and abiding love for Hollywood and its past.

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