In the battle to preserve historic structures in West Hollywood, it often seems like the losses far outweigh the successes. In an article published by WehoVille, local historian Bob Bishop uncovers what appears to have been the first community effort to protect a building in West Hollywood.

The building in question was the William S. Hart residence at 8341 De Longpre Ave., which may be the oldest remaining structure along the Sunset Strip. The battle to save it took place in 1985, a year after West Hollywood became a city.

Bishop writes that the owners of St. James Club — now the Sunset Tower Hotel — next door to the Hart residence wanted to replace the house with a parking garage.

“A coalition of neighborhood groups, the Sierra Club and Hart Jr. opposed the developer’s proposal,” Bishop writes. “The battle took four more long years to play out, but ultimately, the plan for a parking garage was denied by respective planning and review authorities in both cities [West Hollywood and Los Angeles].

The victory was doubly sweet because it ensured that the wishes of the home’s original owner, silent-film cowboy star William S. Hart, were finally fulfilled. Hart had donated the property to the public in 1944 with the intent that it serves as a park.

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