Okay, so I am completely convinced now that West Adams is Los Angeles’ Black Gay Mecca, our Black gay West Hollywood if you would.
West Adams, also known as Historic West Adams, is a large district located in the center of Los Angeles, California, southwest of Downtown and north of USC.
The district is bordered by Pico-Union, Angelus Vista and Harvard Heights on the north, the original South Los Angeles on the east, Vermont Square on the south, and Jefferson Park on the south and west. Its principal thoroughfares are Adams, Jefferson and Washington Boulevards, Western, Vermont and Normandie Avenues, and Hoover and Figueroa Streets. ZIP codes for the district are 90007, 90018 and 90019.
I’ve lived in West Adams now for quite some time but it was only recently after moving into my new house, around the corner from my old one, lol, what difference a block can make and a coupe hundred square feet, how Black and gay West Adams is.
I kid you not, most of the staff at my local Starbucks are Black lesbians. Very cool. Most of my friends live in or near West Adams, and they’re Black and gay. When I walk in the neighborhood I am always seeing gay stickers on cars. Then there’s the fact that the oldest Black gay nightclub is right here too, Jewel’s Catch One. Seems awfully gay to me. Add to that, everywhere I go in my neighborhood, I see family.
So I am officially proclaiming West Adams as a Black gay friendly neighborhood, as if it hadn’t already been dubbed that, lol. I thought, I’d make it official.
I choose West Adams to live in because of its central location. I am minutes (if there’s no traffic) from Hollywood, Downtown, Leimert Park, and Ladera Heights. The 10 freeway is right around the corner from my house as well. I love the old homes that come with huge rooms and plenty of built-ins that add to the charm.
So all my 10th District West Adams folks holla and hit me up and tell me your cross streets and whether you agree or disagree that West Adams is L.A.’s Black Gay Mecca.
About West Adams
Major subdistricts include North University Park and Kinney Heights. It includes several institutions of higher learning, including Mount St. Mary’s College’s Doheny Campus (North University Park) and Hebrew Union College (North University Park).
West Adams is home to one of the largest collections of historic homes west of the Mississippi River. The West Adams area was developed between 1880 and 1925, and contains many diverse architectural styles of the era. Architectural styles seen in West Adams include the Queen Anne, Shingle, Gothic Revival, Transitional Arts and Crafts, Craftsman/Ultimate Bungalow, Craftsman Bungalow, Colonial Revival, Renaissance Revival, Mediterranean Revival, Spanish Colonial Revival, Mission Revival, Egyptian Revival, Beaux-Arts and Neoclassical styles. West Adams boasts the only Greene and Greene house in Los Angeles. Its historic homes are frequently used as locations for movies and TV shows including CSI, Six Feet Under, The Shield, Monk, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind and Of Mice and Men.
West Adams is one of the oldest neighborhoods in Los Angeles, with most of its buildings erected between 1880 and 1925, including the William Andrews Clark Memorial Library. It was once the wealthiest district in the city, with its Victorian mansions and sturdy Craftsman bungalows home to Downtown businessmen and professors at USC. In the 1990s, three areas of West Adams were designated as Historic Preservation Overlay Zones by the city of Los Angeles, in recognition of their outstanding architectural heritage.
The development of the West Side and Hollywood, beginning in the 1920s, siphoned away much of West Adams’ upper-class white population; upper-class blacks began to move in around this time, although the district was off-limits to all but the very wealthiest African-Americans. One symbol of the area’s emergence as a center of black wealth at this time is the 1948 headquarters of Golden State Mutual Life, a late-period Art Deco structure at Adams and Western that housed what is still the nation’s largest black-owned insurer. West Adams’ transformation into an affluent black area was sped by the Supreme Court’s 1948 invalidation of segregationist covenants on property ownership. The area was a favorite among black celebrities in the 1940s and 1950s; notable residents included Hattie McDaniel, Joe Louis, Little Richard and Ray Charles.
Ray Charles’ business headquarters, including his RPM studio, was located at 2107 Washington Boulevard, just outside the northern edge of the district. (The intersection of Washington and Westmoreland Avenue, near the studio, is named "Ray Charles Square" in his honor.)
In the 1950s, the construction of the Santa Monica and Harbor Freeways obliterated much of West Adams, their routes chosen in large part to demarcate areas acceptable for black settlement and those deemed whites-only (in both cases, this was notably unsuccessful, as many African-Americans moved into Mid-City and Arlington Heights during this period.)
The 1992 Los Angeles riots largely spared West Adams’ historic buildings. Mirroring changes seen throughout Los Angeles, the district’s Latino population have been growing. The area’s architecture and proximity to USC have brought many upper-middle-class whites as well. WE CALL THAT GENTRIFICATION. Many of the neighborhoods are experiencing a renaissance of sorts with their historic homes being restored to their previous elegance.