The History of Brock & Company Jewelers


The beautiful building Seven Grand is in was originally built as the corporate headquarters, manufacturing center and flagship store of Brock Jewelry. Celebrity customers included Mary Pickford.

Yes, Brock's was a nationally-prominent jewelry firm, and it certainly was the most important jewelry and giftware store in Los Angeles. Brock & Co. was founded by George A. Brock in 1903. In growing the company, George A. Brock merged a number of other established Los Angeles jewelry companies into Brock & Co., including S. Nordlinger and Son, which had been around Los Angeles since at least the late 19th Century. In the 1920s, George Brock obtained a 99-year ground lease on the property at 515 West Seventh Street, and soon the custom-designed and custom-built structure now housing Seven Grand went into service.

George C. Brock, George A.'s son, took charge of the company, and it continued to grow and thrive. A second store was opened on Wilshire Boulevard, in the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills. Tiffany and Co. even approach Brock's to do a merger to become Tiffany-Brock & Co. That merger did not take place, and Angelenos continued to buy their jewelry, watches, silver, fine china, and crystal at Brock & Co.

The first (ground) floor of the 515 West Seventh Street store was the watch and jewelry department. (When Clifton's Silver Spoon was in residence, there was a small dining room in the old vault in the back.) The second floor, now Seven Grand, had three walls lined with enormous, floor-to-ceiling wood and glass cases full of silver, china, and crystal. Clifton's kept those as display cases of Los Angeles and Clifton's memorabilia. The third floor was offices, and the fourth floor was the skylight-covered jewelry workshop.

In the 1960s, George C. Brock (married to my cousin, Margaret) wanted to retire. The company owned an undeveloped tract of land in Canoga Park (the result of a lawsuit -- a long story) that real estate developer Ben Weingart (prime benefactor of the Weingart Foundation and its various homeless services) wanted to buy. Mr. Weingart, as a young broker in the 1920s, had been involved in the 99-year ground lease for the Brock & Co. parcel on Seventh Street. George and Margaret Brock had no children, and George told Mr. Weingart that the only way he could get the tract of vacant land (actually, a citrus orchard, but an asset of the company) was to buy the company.

So, Ben Weingart bought Brock & Co. (at that point down to the one Downtown store) in 1964. Mr. Weingart brought in a liquidator who operated the store for a few years, selling off its inventory (and a lot of items that the Brocks never would have carried). Ben Weingart built homes on the orchard in Canoga Park (near the present Orcutt Ranch Horticultural Center). The jewelry business was ended, and some of the store fixtures were sold. The big display cases on the second floor were too big to be sold and moved intact, so they stayed. Clifton's rented the building and ran a wonderful branch of its small cafeteria empire, as Mr. McCabe describes. George C. Brock died in 1967.

And that's the story of Seven Grand's building -- somewhat abbreviated.

John H. Welborne, President, Angels Flight Railway, Los Angeles