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Hollywoodland and the Hollywood Sign Photos

Hollywoodland and The Hollywood Sign Photos

When people around the world see the Hollywood Sigh on the Mt. Lee hillside, they usually think glamour, excitement and movies.

The real history of the sign is decidedly more grounded than this popular belief.  Ninty years ago, the sign was built as an advertisement for a new hillside real estate development following in what became a long standing Los Angeles tradition the sales and marketing of its real estate.

To promote Hollywoodland to those who lived and worked in those very lowlands, Chandler came upon the unique notion of erecting an immense billboard of sorts in the hills above the tract.  At a cost of $21,000, thirteen gargantuan letters that spelled HOLLYWOODLAND were constructed high on the chapparal-covered south-side of Mt. Lee, held in place by a ramshackle scaffold of pipes, wires, and telephone poles. Each letter was thirty feet wide, fifty feet tall and made of sheet-metal panels painted flat white.  Four thousand 20-watt bulbs ran around each letter, illuminating each syllable of the name in sequence: HOLLYWOOD LAND.  The sign was dedicated in mid-1923 with several people hiking up the hillside to get a better view of the new sign.

Though the sign certainly won the attention of Angelenos and in times became one of Los Angeles’ most famous landmarks, Hollywoodland itself failed to become as popular as its investors had hoped, and many of its parcels of land remained unsold.  It’s the reason previously proposed by David Horsley for the construction of Lake Hollywood in the dell beneath Hollywoodland, to lure those “hillside suckers” to build their homes on these vacant hillside lots, which suddenly offered stunning view of the crystal blue lake below.

The total conception of Hollywoodland was never completed, due to the stock market crash of 1929, which drained the coffers of the investors and literally halted the development in its tracks.  To this day, one can see where the process of paving the road was discontinued at the top of Hollywoodland.  A dirt road, cut into the canyon, remains which would have been the continuance and completion of the development.

The years began to take its toll on the Hollywoodland sign. 1949, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce came to the rescue of the ailing sign.  During a fierce wind storm, the letter “H” was blown down.  The last four letters, LAND, were removed and the rest of the sign was repaired, including the toppled “H”. The new sign then read HOLLYWOOD”.

By the mid-1930s, the real estate development began to experience a resurgence of activity which resulted in most of the lots being sold and developed.

In the early 1970s, the sign was repaired but it just didn’t last long.  In January 1978, the old sign was demolished and a new sign erected in the same location of the original sign. The materials used for the new sign were “state of the art” which meant the sign would last for many years to come.  On November 11, 1978 the new Hollywood sign was officially unveiled.

Hundreds of Hollywood Sign photos can be see on the website.  Also, there are links to the Hollywood Photographs Facebook page and the Bruce Torrence Pinterest page.  All photos are available for purchase.


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