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EARLY DEVELOPMENT OF HOLLYWOOD BLVD.

           ** Click Here To See Photos **

The best way to see what Hollywood Blvd. looked like, years ago, is to look at the photos on the hollywoodphotographs.com web site.  Before the turn of the century, Hollywood (then known as the Cahuenga Valley) as made up of small farms, and sparsely populated rural type neighborhoods of single family homes.  Prospect Ave (now Hollywood Blvd.) was the main street of the Cahuenga Valley.  Until about the turn of the century, Prospect Ave. consisted, almost exclusively, of residences.  When commercial development began to take place, there were two centers of activity.  The Los Angeles Pacific Boulevard and Development Company was developing the property around the intersection of Prospect Avenue and Highland Ave.  The first structure of the Hotel Hollywood was built in 1903 by  G. W. Hoover, an investor in the Los Angeles Pacific Boulevard and Development Co.  Also at the same intersection was the First National Bank.  Within a few years other commercial building were built near that intersection.  At the same time, Mrs. Daeida Wilcox Beveridge was actively building a business center at Prospect and Cahuenga Avenues.  Thus the  village was divided into two ambitious business centers, connected by a strip of a half mile of territory through which ran the only common carrier of the town, the streetcar. For the first decade of the twentieth century, the commercial development of Prospect Ave. occurred primarily at these two business centers.

The first streetcars/train to travel on Prospect Ave. was the Cahuenga Valley Railroad, which was incorporated in 1888.  It was originally a steam “dummy” railroad that was eventually electrified in 1896.  The term dummy meant that the engine and wheels were totally enclosed so as not to frighten horses. Later, it was sold and merged with other railroad companies.  In 1911, it was deeded to the Pacific Electric Railroad which, for many years, operated the many streetcars in Los Angeles and Hollywood.

In October, 1911, the Nestor Film Company leased the old Blondeau Tavern, at Sunset Blvd. & Gower St. and established the first motion picture studio in Hollywood.  It wasn’t long before other motion picture companies heard of the great weather and variety of scenery that Hollywood had to offer.  Within three years, there were more than fifteen motion picture studios operating in Hollywood.  This new industry caused an explosive  growth in commercial development in Hollywood and particularly on Hollywood Blvd.  The Hollywood Hotel was expanded two times thereby taking up the entire Hollywood Blvd. frontage, between Orchid and Highland Avenues.  It wasn’t long before the residences on Hollywood Blvd. gave way to the building of stores, restaurants, banks, and theaters.  By 1920, there were almost no residences on Hollywood Blvd., between La Brea Ave. and Vine Street.  In 1914, C.E. Toberman built a four story building on the southeast corner of Hollywood Blvd. & Highland Ave. The first floor consisted of stores, the second floor was devoted to offices and the two two stories were apartments.  

The Hollywood Blvd. photos on the Hollywoodphotographs.com web site will give the viewer a great idea of the development of this now famous street.  All photos are available for purchase.

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