A short history of WeHo: Part 3 of 3

October 29, 2012

A short history of WeHo IN THREE PARTS – See the video made by DohenyLLC, Paul Wagner and Chris Pyle at the bottom

See part one here…

See part two here…

Part 3 of 3…

The City of West Hollywood, covering 1.9 square miles, has a population of approximately 35,000 residents.

The city is bordered by Hollywood Hills on the north, the Fairfax District on the south, Hollywood on the east, and Beverly Hills on the west. The city was incorporated as an independent city on November 29, 1984 and became the first city in America to have a majority of gays on the City Council.

West Hollywood was one of the first cities in the nation to adopt a Domestic Partnership Ordinance in 1985 to provide equal rights for domestic & married partners in the city.

Due to the vibrant, creative and diverse residences and businesses, “The Creative City” was chosen as West Hollywood’s official motto.

During the 1960s and 70s…

Rock & Roll and the hippie generation came to West Hollywood and was the genre of the day at popular clubs like “Whiskey A-Go-Go” and the “Troubadour.”

Whiskey A-Go-G0 in 1973. photo courtesy Images of America – West Hollywood by Ryan Gierach.

In addition, in the late 1960s, Ciro’s started Sunday gay nights, likely the very first gay “Tea Dance.” Gay men were allowed to dance together which was tolerated even though, at the time, it was illegal.

Once Ciro’s closed, gays started opening bars and clubs in West Hollywood in the 1970s since the unincorporated area of Los Angeles offered more freedom from the heavy-handed law enforcement regime of Los Angeles City Police.

The booming television business created work for hundreds of young actors and stagehands, many of whom were gay.

West Hollywood’s gay clubs, rows and rows of apartments, and low rents attracted many gay men to the city.

The most recent migration to West Hollywood came about after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, when thousands of Russian Jews immigrated to the city.

A majority of the 5,000 to 6,000 Russian Jews settled in two major immigration waves, 1978–79 and 1988-1992.

During the 1980s…

In 1984, residents in West Hollywood organized to maintain rent control.

Coalition for Economic Survival (CES) organized the area’s residents to fight for cityhood and rent control. Photo courtesy CES.

When Los Angeles County began planning to discontinue rent controls, West Hollywood was a densely populated area of renters, many of whom would not be able to afford to keep up with the generally rapid raises in rent in the Los Angeles area.

A tight coalition of seniors, Jews, gays and renters were greatly assisted by the Coalition for Economic Survival (CES) and they swiftly voted to incorporate as the “City of West Hollywood.”

The scene at Barney’s Beanery during one of the nightly protests against the “Fagots Stay Out” sign posted behind the bar. It finally came down when the city formed.

West Hollywood then immediately adopted one of the strongest rent control laws in the nation.

West Hollywood was incorporated as an independent city on November 29, 1984. In 1985, West Hollywood was the first city to create a same-gender domestic partnership registration for its residents, as well as to offer same-gender domestic partner benefits for city employees.

Legislation prohibiting discrimination in the workplace on the basis of sexual orientation is widely recognized as the toughest in the nation. The city is also one of 92 jurisdictions in the country where it is illegal to discriminate on the basis of gender identity or expression.

City legislation also bans the sale of handguns, prohibits smoking in public places and restricts the city from doing business directly or indirectly with any country known to violate human rights.

With a socially minded population, West Hollywood adopted one of the nation’s first mandatory green building ordinances on October 1, 2007.

The city designed a law that pets are to be called “companions” and their owners “guardians” and was the first city in the country to outlaw the de-clawing of cats.

In 2011, West Hollywood became the first city in the United States to ban the sale of clothing with animal fur.


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Sources:  Wikipedia, aboutweho.com, gay-los-angeles.com, wehonews.com, city-data.com, westhollywoodes.com, Architecture Tours L.A. Guidebook by Laura Massino Smith, More Hollywood Homes by Mike Oldham, Images of America – West Hollywood by Ryan Gierach