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Hollywood Sign Photos on hollywoodphotographs.com website

The largest collection of Hollywoodland Sign and the Hollywood Sign are on the hollywoodphotographs.com website.

Hollywoodland Sign Photos

There are more than 500 vintage Hollywoodland Sign and Hollywood Sign photographs in this large collection. 

Construction of the Hollywoodland Sign began in October 1923 when the Hollywoodland Development Company decided they needed an advertisement gimmick to attract buyers to their tract.

Vintage and Historic Hollywoodland sign photo

Hollywoodland Sign Construction

The sign was first erected in 1923 and originally read "HOLLYWOODLAND." Its purpose was to advertise the name of a new housing development in the hills above the Hollywood district of Los Angeles. The owners of the hillside property were Los Angeles Times newspaper publisher, Harry Chandler, E.P. Clark & Moses. H Sherman. They hired real estate developers S.H Woodruff and Tracy Shoults who called their development "Hollywoodland" and advertised it as a "superb environment without excessive cost on the Hollywood side of the hills."

They contracted the Crescent Sign Company to erect 13 letters on the hillside, each facing south. The sign company owner, Thomas Fisk Goff (1890–1984), designed the sign. Each letter was 30 feet (9.1 m) wide and 50 feet (15 m) high, and the whole sign was studded with some 3,800 light bulbs. The sign would flash in segments; "HOLLY," "WOOD", and "LAND" would light up individually, before lighting up entirely. Below the Hollywoodland sign was a searchlight to attract more attention. The poles that supported the sign were hauled to the site by mules.

Early Hollywoodland Sign Photos

The earliest photos of the Hollywoodland sign, on the hollywoodphotographs.com website, show the construction of the sign.  Some show workmen carrying light boxes up to the newly constructed sign.  These photos dispel the notion that the sign wasn’t lighted when the sign was completed. Other photos show mules standing by some of the letters. Some other photographs show the sign partially completed.  Some of the rarest photos show the informal dedication of the sign, where several businessmen are hiking up to the base of the newly constructed sign.

As lots in Hollywoodland were being sold and developed, photographers began taking photographs of the tract and sign. Many of the photos are on the hollywoodphotographs.com website.

Hollywood Sign Built

Twenty-six years after the Hollywoodland sign was completed, it was severely damaged by a ferocious windstorm.  Prior to this, the sign had experienced deterioration by years of bad weather.  One of the photos on the hollywoodphotographs.com website shows the letter “H”, toppled and the remaining letters badly damaged. 

The County of Los Angeles, who owned the land, on which the sign was standing, wanted to have the sign demolished.  However, residents of Hollywood objected and convinced the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce to get involved and save the sign.  The Chamber convinced the County to let them pay for the refurbishing of the sign. The County agreed and the letter “H” was rebuilt. They removed the last four letters and refurbished the rest of the sign.

Hollywood Sign Refurbishment

For the next several years, the sign experienced further deterioration, which prompted a campaign to save the sign.  In 1976, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce undertook another “Save the Hollywood Sign” campaign. This resulted in a cosmetic refurbishment that didn’t address the underlying problems of the sign’s structure.  Scores of photos, showing the sign’s continuing decay, are highlighted on the hollywoodphotographs.com website.

Historical Hollywood sign photo

New Hollywood Sign

Two years later, the Hollywood Sign was beyond any restoration. It was time to demolish the original sign and erect a new one in the same location as the original sign. Many of the Hollywood sign photos, on the hollywoodphotographs.com website, show how much damage he sign sustained.

In 1978, in large part because of the public campaign to restore the landmark by Hugh Hefner, founder of Playboy magazine, the Chamber set out to replace the severely deteriorated sign with a more permanent structure. Nine donators gave $27,777.77 each (totaling $249,999.93) to sponsor replacement letters, made of steel supported by steel columns on a concrete foundation.  The old sign was demolished and construction of the new sign begun.

The new letters were 45 feet (14 m) tall and ranged from 31 to 39 feet (9.4 to 11.9 m) wide. The new version of the sign was unveiled on November 11, 1978, as the culmination of a live CBS television special commemorating the 75th anniversary of Hollywood's incorporation as a city.

Refurbishment, donated by Bay Cal Commercial Painting, began again in November 2005, as workers stripped the letters back to their metal base and repainted them white.

Following the 1978 public campaign to restore the sign, the following nine donors gave $27,777.77 each (which totaled $250,000):

In November, 1978, the sign was dedicated with an elaborate light show and party.

Hollywoodphotographs.com website

Bruce Torrence, owner of hollywoodphotographs.com, took photos of the sign’s unveiling and was able to capture some of the finest dedication photos. They are available for purchase.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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