The Factory

photo by: Hunter Kerhart

11 Most Endangered Historic Places

The Factory

  • Constructed: 1929
  • Location: West Hollywood, CA

The Factory was built in 1929 to accommodate the booming success of the Mitchell Camera Corporation. Mitchell Cameras revolutionized filmmaking and continued to influence camera technology until the digital era arrived in the early 2000s. Following the camera company’s move to the suburbs in 1946, The Factory was converted to serve a series of new uses--most famously, Studio One, a pioneering gay disco that opened in 1974.

Founded by a Beverly Hills optometrist and openly gay man, Studio One provided a place for gay men to socialize and proudly and openly celebrate their identity while being entertained by the likes of Patti LaBelle, Joan Rivers and Liza Minnelli. As such, it was associated with the gay rights movement throughout its history. When the AIDS epidemic hit in the early 1980s, for example, one of the nation’s first major fundraisers took place at Studio One.

“The Factory is a trove of important and multi-layered history that simply cannot be replaced. The Factory has proven many times over its history that it can successfully evolve with changing times to serve a variety of uses. As West Hollywood plans its future, this is just the type of place to protect and preserve, not destroy.”

Stephanie Meeks

Today, The Factory, one of the last remaining industrial buildings in West Hollywood built specifically for the technical aspects of the film industry, is threatened with demolition. A large-scale hotel project--one of the many new developments now jeopardizing West Hollywood and Hollywood’s LGBTQ heritage and early film industry history--would route a pedestrian “paseo” or walkway directly through a portion of the site on which The Factory now sits. This route could easily be realigned to spare this landmark from the wrecking ball.

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