When Was WeHo’s “Golden Age”?

Comments on my recent post about Flipper’s have me thinking about WeHo’s “Golden Age” and when was it? I think most of us agree that this isn’t it, but in what decade did our city have its best days?

There are certainly reasons to love the 60s, with memorable music, cute clothes, and cool cars. I remember reading about the Sunset Strip in my teenybopper magazines and wishing I could be there, seeing acts like the Doors and the Byrds in small clubs like the Whiskey or the Troubadour. While gay persons did not yet have equal rights, WeHo was a welcome change from the repressive small towns where many grew up.

I have a soft spot for the 70s because it was my first decade in SoCal. I loved the wide variety of music venues and the opportunities to see legendary acts without waiting for the occasional package show to come through my hometown. The WeHo gay scene was growing, with bars and other businesses springing up on Santa Monica Blvd. In 1975, the state of California sent a big FU to Anita Bryant and her ilk by legalizing sex between consenting adults. 

The 80s started out promising, with gay-related businesses burgeoning and laws against homosexuality being relaxed. Then AIDS hit and the impact on West Hollywood was devastating. One bright spot was cityhood which was achieved in 1984, giving WeHo citizens more say in how the city was run.

The 90s was an era of peace and prosperity for much of the nation and in WeHo, the Boystown area was becoming a mecca for gay nightlife, even as HIV remained a threat. New drugs allowed more PWA to live longer, healthier lives.

The 00s were a time of change as developers were attracted to the charming city our citizens had created and began buying up homes and apartment buildings so they could tear them down and replace them with cookie-cutter condos. My own longtime home was one of the buildings that almost fell to the wrecking ball, but that’s a long story. The result was WeHo becoming less and less affordable. This was also the decade that the city was regularly featured in the tabloids as young celebrities partied at local hotspots like Hyde on Sunset Blvd.

The teens saw runaway development as many longtime residents were forced out by rising rents and beloved businesses were forced to close. Some lamented the loss of WeHo’s small city ambiance as more corporate hotels, restaurants, and shops proliferated.

So here we are in 2022 and most of us aren’t especially happy about it. What was your favorite era in West Hollywood?

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Larry Block
Admin
4 months ago

Linda you are terrific! Xo!

Jeater mester
Jeater mester
2 months ago

The 80 were my childhood years. I miss the 80s.

alex
alex
3 months ago

The 1990 before everything got expensive

Manny
Manny
3 months ago

The “Golden Age” were the days when bars didn’t need a security guard with a gun.

Larry Block
Admin
3 months ago
Reply to  Manny

excellent

Valeri
Valeri
3 months ago

hands down late 70s until late 1981. Had AIDS not hit or hit 10 years later this town would’ve been one long orgy in the 80s.

WehoQueen
WehoQueen
3 months ago

The “glory days” were when everyone living here paid their own way, paid fair market rents, and it wasn’t a city based on freeloaders wanting handouts. Nowadays, there are a few rich people who still pay their own way, but sadly the vision of rich and poor living side by side, has not worked, and it will never work.

Rose
Rose
3 months ago

Despite Person feelings about the movie director ..

The film (10 or 15 or ? yrr old)

MIDNIGHT IN PARIS

If you you are looking to find what is your “good old days of …”

OR “GOLDEN AGE” kinda tell you… If you go a few inches deeper than just watching a movie.

Ham Shipey
Ham Shipey
4 months ago

A lot of strange comments here.

hifi5000
hifi5000
4 months ago

I started coming to West Hollywood in the early 1990s,so I guess I would call it “the Golden Age” for me.Rage was a favorite for me as it was free-flowing with the crazed action.You just had to deal with the loud music and the out there characters. Studio One is a different story as I thought the place was dated.I went a few times,but crossed it out as a place to hang. Nowadays,the Abbey is the place to go to,but if I wanted a quieter place,I can go to Trunks.I guess with age,my tastes are changing and I am glad… Read more »

angry gay pope
4 months ago

The Sunset Strip peaked in the 1970s. But by then their prototype for Las Vegas was picked up and moved to Nevada as a piece. After that the strip lost its mojo, the think that makes it special, and now it is trapped in 1980s metal band mode. The lack of parking and the encroachment of the super-rich means that the glory days of “the strip” won’t be back any time soon.

Michael G Labarbera
Michael G Labarbera
4 months ago

Best time the late ’70’s to pre-AIDS 80’s. The city was beautiful, safe and affordable. The Gay subculture was coming into it’s own without being over-run or trampled by the straight establishment. Over gentrification ruined the city.

Scott
Scott
4 months ago

So happy they did tear down those single family homes! Can’t imagine how impossible it would be for anyone other than wealthy seniors and social media millionaires to live here if they had left them intact. Please, tear down more and replace them with reasonably priced condo and rental towers with nice views. Not hotels and private clubs.

LeShawn
LeShawn
4 months ago
Reply to  Scott

Yes! WeHo should densify with residential towers, like Miami or Honolulu (and we don’t need to worry about flooding here!) While I loved Linda’s memories of the twentieth century, her conflation of development with unaffordability is inaccurate and represents the worst anti-density/development tendencies of Southern California Boomers.

WeHoRay
WeHoRay
4 months ago

Fun article to read! The early 00’s when the gay bars and clubs were GAY and fun like HERE and Cherry Pop. You’d go out and many of your friends would be out. You didn’t worry about walking home after a night out or pick pockets. Crime was low and you didn’t need to take out a mortgage loan to pay for a night out.

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