The building was commissioned by Lewis L. Bradbury (November 6, 1823–July 15, 1892), for whom it is named. Bradbury was a mining millionaire – he owned a mine named Tajo in Sinaloa, Mexico – who became a real estate developer in the latter part of his life. He planned in 1892 to construct a five story building at Broadway and Third Street in Los Angeles, close to the Bunker Hill neighborhood.
The elevators, which go up to the fifth floor, are cage elevators that are surrounded by wrought-iron grillwork rather than masonry.
The entire main building features geometric patterned staircases at all ends. Ornately designed wrought-iron railings are used abundantly throughout the building to create the illusion of hanging vegetation.
The wrought-iron was created in France and displayed at the Chicago World’s Fair before being installed in the building. Freestanding mail-chutes also feature ironwork.
The walls are made of pale glazed brick. The marble used in the staircase was imported from Belgium, and the floors are Mexican tiles.
The building has operated as an office building for most of its history. It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1977.
Today the building serves as headquarters for the Los Angeles Police Department’s Internal Affairs division and other government agencies. Several of the offices are rented out to private concerns, including Red Line Tours. The retail spaces on the first floor currently house Ross Cutlery (where O.J. Simpson purchased a stiletto that figured into his murder trial), a Subway sandwich restaurant, a Sprint cell phone store, and a real estate sales office for loft conversions in other nearby historic buildings.