The Bradbury Building, at 3rd Street and Broadway, has been called one of the most magnificent relics of 19th-Century commercial architecture in the world. When it was completed in 1894, for a total cost of $500,000, it contained Italian marble, Mexican floor tiles, delicate water-powered bird-cage elevators from Chicago, 288 radiators, 50 fireplaces, 215 wash basins and the largest plate-glass windows in Los Angeles.
Yet this building, so ambitious and ornate for its time, was designed by an inexperienced $5-a-week architectural draftsman. George H. Wyman had no academic architectural credentials. Years later his friends and relatives revealed that Wyman's decision to take on the project was influenced by a Ouija board: A dangling pencil was said to have written, "Take the Bradbury Building--it will make you famous." That perhaps apocryphal prophecy has come true.