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Old Hollywood Photos

C. C, Pierce

For 100 years,  pictures of  Hollywood have been taken by hundreds of photographers.  One of the earliest Hollywood photographers was C. C. Pierce.  Charles Chester Pierce was born on November 22, 1861 in Springfield, Massachusetts. An engineer by training, Pierce migrated to Southern California in 1886. Pierce began his photographic career in the thriving city of Los Angeles, first in partnership with Albert H. Lohn, and then successively with J.B. Blanchard and A.E. McConnell. He established his own studio around 1900 at 313 Spring Street.

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Early Hollywood Photos

Some of the earliest photographs take in Hollywood were panoramic photos taken from the hills above the Cahuenga Valley (now called Hollywood) . One of the most popular is a photo, looking south onto Hollywood from the hills, just west of Highland Ave.  Other popular subjects for Hollywood photographs was Prospect Ave., later renamed Hollywood Blvd.  Other subjects that were popular with early photographers were new buildings and early Hollywood settlers.

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Film Makers Arrive in Hollywood

When the Nestors Film Company, arrived in Hollywood in October, 1911, they rented the former Blondeau Tavern at the corner of Sunset Blvd. & Gower St.  The converted the tavern to offices, storage and dressing rooms.  The erected platform stages at the rear of the offices.  With great weather , all year round, they made hundreds of two and three reel films.  They, also, had a large variety of geography at their disposal.  Within a few hours, they could be filming at the beach, the desert or the mountains.  Because of  Nestors’ success,  other film companies migrated from the east to establish studios in Hollywood.  Most located on Sunset Blvd., near Nestors’ Studio at Gower St.  Later, this area became known as Poverty Row and Gower Gulch. Within 15 years after Nestors arrived in Hollywood, more than fifteen film companies settled in Hollywood.

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Hollywood’s Growth

With the explosive growth of the motion picture industry, so did the growth of the community of Hollywood.  In 1903 the residents of the Cahuenga Valley voted to incorporate their area and they named it Hollywood.  Six years later, in 1910, the residents of Hollywood elected to have their community annexed to the city of Los Angeles.  As more and more movie companies settled in Hollywood, the population also increased. As a result, Hollywood soon became known as the entertainment capital of the world. Photographers found Hollywood to be a great place to take photos and allow the rest of the world to see.  Photographs of theaters, nightclubs, studios and other locations were taken and made available to the rest of the world.

The largest collection of Hollywood photographs is on the hollywoodphotographs.com web site. 

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