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The Legendary Bradbury Building

Downtown Los Angeles—just down the street from City Hall, the legendary L.A. landmark that appears on the badge of the Los Angeles Police department. The Bradbury building is no less legendary, you have seen it any times before, you just might not know just exactly where.

There are the movies it has appeared in, of course, the legendary 1945 noir Double Indemnity written by Raymond Chandler and Billy Wilder. Chandler lived in the neighborhood back in the 20s/30s, but Chandler has lived in just about every neighborhood in L.A.

There were other classic noirs that involved the Bradbury too: The Unfaithful 1947, Shockproof, 1949, DOA 1949 and Mike Hammer vehicle, I the Jury 1953. But those movies were just the start, the Bradbury has featured in neo noir classic Chinatown, Blade Runner and a whole host of TV shows, everything from Perry Mason, 77 Sunset Strip, to Mission Impossible, Bosch, and CSI.

The actual tenants of the building are just as interesting as the cinematic residents. Marvel Comics has its west coast office in the building, as does the Internal Affairs Division of the Los Angeles Police Department. The LAPD board of rights holds disciplinary hearings in the building, which is nicknamed the “ovens” because officers see it as the place where careers get burned.

So why the Bradbury? The joint is named after gold mining millionaire Lewis Bradbury who ordered the place built in 1892. It cost half a million dollars to build around three times the original budget of $175,000 [and he died before it was finished]. If you want to visit the building it stands on the corner of West third and South Broadway in the heart of downtown Los Angeles. Watch out, this can be a rough neighborhood, but there is a lot to see close by, including the LAPD building and the legendary Angel’s Flight cable car. So check out the Bradbury next time you are in L.A. They will be filming close by, I almost guarantee it.

Author Tony Bulmer outside the Bradbury Building in downtown Los Angeles.

Inside the Bradbury Building


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