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Remembering Torrance's Singles-Only Apartments of the 1960s

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The Milano Apartments is a nondescript, 248-unit complex in Torrance that's just sold for *$60.75 million (it's likely to continue being apartments). Few would guess, however, that it began life in 1965, and enjoyed considerable national fame, as The South Bay Club, one of the first singles-only apartment buildings, according to the Daily Breeze's South Bay History. The swinging singles domain was featured in Time magazine and the LA Times, with each outlet getting more and more salacious interviews from residents, described by the former as "500 single stewardesses, doctors, teachers, engineers, secretaries and salesmen" (so you can probably imagine the shenanigans they got up to). The party kept going until about 1969 when the marketing plan (and name) changed, and the SBC became a dreaded Oakwood, but those first four years sound pretty nuts. We've compiled the 10 wildest things you need to know about the bygone days of the South Bay Club.

-- "Almost from the day it opened, South Bay has gloried in its swinger reputation, and none of those who have moved in have any intention of letting the club down–least of all to outsiders."

-- That reputation also helped the complex get off to a solid start; within 45 days of opening, all the apartments in the community were filled. The SBC turned away about 25 people a week, even though their rents were about $50 to $100 higher than others in the area (which at the time were averaging 15 percent vacancy).

-- The LA Times reported that you needed to be unmarried, between 21 and 35 years old and "reasonably attractive." No rules on the rubric for "reasonably" attractive.

-- The slogan the SBC used to advertise with? "Live where the fun is."

-- The SBC had amenities that would put a luxury cruise ship to shame: three tennis courts, a volleyball and basketball court, two heated pools, a whirlpool, a gym for men and one for women, a rec room, a color TV, a beauty shop, a barbecue pit, and an events roster that included free trips to Hawaii and Las Vegas.

-- The ratio of men to women was 3 to 2. Everybody seemed pretty happy with those odds somehow.

-- A male resident described the setup as such: "The girls are here, really, because eventually they want to get married; the fellows just want to party and have a good time. Somewhere in between is where the fun starts."

-- From the women's camp: "'It's exciting for a girl with all those men around," coos Social Worker Mary Lee Coe. "There's some student atmosphere —only much sexier than any college's.'"

-- The four (male) building managers who oversaw the complex in its heyday were friends who ran a semi-private, roving party club called Never-on-Fridays, which threw well-attended parties that upset the neighbors and left the gents spending their Sundays cleaning cigarette butts and broken glass off the lawn and "exhuming the last of the guests from behind the sofa..."

-- The developer of the South Bay Club, *R&B Enterprises, built the Club with "the singles, the swingers, the young professional people ... everywhere" in mind, and it was such a success that they made two more buildings that were singles-only.