Officially founded in 1984 as the 84th city in Los Angeles County, West Hollywood is a young, vibrant community with a colorful and entertaining past.
From its 19th century beginnings as a virtual “no man’s land,” the region soon became a prime location for a railway, and in 1894, a man named Moses Sherman bought the land and designated it as the headquarters of the Los Angeles Pacific Railway Co.
Shortly thereafter, motion picture studios emerged and surpassed the railway as the major hub of “Sherman”. Movie moguls Charlie Chaplin, Mary Pickford, and Douglas Fairbanks bought film studios near Santa Monica Boulevard, where The Lot currently stands. In 1925, when the city’s name changed to West Hollywood, a dirt road a few blocks north served as the main commuter route between Beverly Hills and Hollywood – this area is now known as Sunset Boulevard. Sunset became a stomping ground for those in the entertainment world and The Sunset Strip was born, bringing with it nightclubs, hotels and a number of architecturally stunning buildings. People were drawn to this thriving western locale and celebrities of the Golden Era considered West Hollywood the swankiest, most glamorous nightlife destination. The area gained notoriety around the nation due in part to the county’s lax law enforcement, which was just outside the LAPD’s jurisdiction.
Through the following decades, West Hollywood added to its growing legend. In the 60s and 70s it became a major gathering place for the counterculture with hippies, musicians, and artists owning the streets. Buzz acts like Led Zeppelin, The Doors and Elton John won over crowds in emerging music venues such as The Troubadour, The Whisky a Go Go, and The Roxy. The “Riot Hyatt” West Hollywood (now the Andaz West Hollywood) became a hotel of rocker legend, with many musicians occupying the hotel for its easy access to the music venues on Sunset Boulevard.
The Strip continued to be a major focus for punk rock and New Wave during the late 1970s, and evolved into the epicenter of the colorful glam metal and heavy metal scenes during the 1980s. Groups including Van Halen, Motley Crue and Guns N Roses re-defined the standard for rock n roll excess, with West Hollywood serving as their playground.
At present, the city has grown to 39,000 residents and remains Los Angeles’ hottest destination for the entertainment industry with its boutique hotels, celebrity-owned restaurants, unparalleled nightlife and shopping, and world-renowned events like the HBO Emmy Party, Sir Elton John’s Annual Oscar Party, the Vanity Fair Oscar Party, LA PRIDE, The Sunset Strip Music Festival, and the largest Halloween street party – the West Hollywood Costume Carnaval – in the world. West Hollywood continues to set the standard for progressive, creative individuals on the cutting edge of trends and new ideas, working together as a community in one of the most exciting destinations in the country.