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More Vintage Hollywood Boulevard Photos

Prospect Ave

Hollywood Boulevard was originally named Prospect Avenue from 1887 to 1910, when the town of Hollywood was annexed to the city of Los Angeles. Until the motion picture industry settled in Hollywood, in 1910, Hollywood was a small community consisting of small farms ranches and residences. In fact, Hollywood Boulevard was almost exclusively residential. After the film industry settled in Hollywood, Hollywood Boulevard began a gradual change from residential to commercial buildings. By the 1920s, Hollywood Boulevard was one of the most fashionable and popular streets in America. Hollywood Boulevard had wonderful restaurants, elegant shops, theaters, hotels and nightclubs.

Early photo of Hollywood Blvd. & Wilcox Ave.

In the late 1890s, Hollywood Pioneer, Daeida Wilcox began developing commercial property at the intersection of Prospect Ave. and Cahuenga Ave. In 1887, she and her husband, Harvey, purchased 160 acres at that intersection. Daeida was responsible for naming Hollywood.  When she began building commercial structures, they were about the only ones on Prospect Ave. 

Hollywood Developers

Around 1900, other developers began developing commercial property on Prospect Ave. 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.  The First National Bank of Hollywood was built across the street from the Hollywood Hotel.  

1921 Photo of snow on Hollywood Blvd.

In 1903, the residents of the Cahuenga Valley voted to incorporate their small community, which they named Hollywood.  However, the incorporation only lasted six years. Due to uncertain water conditions and municipal facilities, the residents voted to annex the City of Hollywood into the City of Los Angeles. The last official act of the Hollywood Board of Trade, was to change the name of Prospect Ave. to Hollywood Blvd.

1936 early photograph of Hollywood Blvd.

As the population of  Hollywood grew, so did the number of commercial building on Hollywood Blvd. Many fine stores opened for business and so did scores of restaurants. Musso & Franks Grill opened its doors in 1919 and is the only early Hollywood restaurant to exist today.

Historic photograph of Hollywood Blvd. in 1936

Beginning in the 1920s, people from all over Southern California came to Hollywood to patronize the wonderful stores and restaurants that lined Hollywood Boulevard. For almost four decades, Hollywood Blvd. was the shopping capital of the country.   However, after World War II, the population of Southern California began to soar and, as a result, people moved to the outlying areas, including the San Fernando Valley. As these neighborhoods grew and flourished, small shopping areas began to be developed in those areas. As a result, by the 1950s, people stopped coming to Hollywood Boulevard to shop and dine. By the 1960s, many of the shops along Hollywood Boulevard were suffering and many went out of business. Hollywood was in a deep economic decline that would last for more than thirty years. It wasn't until the 1990s that Hollywood Boulevard began to see a resurgence in popularity.

The largest collection of Hollywood Boulevard photos is on the website. All the photos are available for purchase. The collection has more than 12,000 historical Hollywood photos, including photographs of the Hollywood Sign and the Hollywood Canteen.

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