Hollywood Land and the Sign

Springing from humble beginnings, Hollywood Land was first founded as a residential development by Harvey Henderson Wilcox and his wife Daedia in 1888. It was Daeida who first conceived the name Hollywood after overhearing a woman talking about her summerhome, Hollywood. The Hollywood sign originally read Hollywood Land and was a promotional strategy to advertise the local suburban community. Maintenance of the sign was discontinued until the land was turned over to the City of Los Angeles, and in 1949 the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce commissioned the sign to be repaired, and for 'Land' to be removed. It was deemed an official historical monument in 1973.


In 1911, the Nestor Company opened Hollywood's first film studio in an old tavern on the corner of Sunset and Gower. Not long thereafter Cecil B. DeMille and D.W. Griffith began making movies in the area, drawn to the community for its open space and moderate climate as well as the ability to film year-round in a multitude of sceneries. Movie making was big business and in turn attracted many other types of companies such as recording studios, night clubs, hotels and restaurants. Film Studies followed the example set by Broadway of using 'big-name' stars to carry their film titles, and because World War II decimated foreign film industries they were able to create lavish sets and costumes with little competition. The combination of celebrity and ostentation perpetuated the notion of glamour and awe that has since been attached to Hollywood.

The Walk of Fame

In 1958 the Hollywood Walk of Fame was envisioned as a lasting tribute to the celebrities that had ensured Hollywood's famous reputation. It included 5 acres of bronze stars embedded in pink terrazzo and surrounded by charcoal terrazzo squares. A distinctive emblem marks one of five categories that the star might hail from: Motion Pictures, Television, Radio, Recording, and Live Theater. The Walk of Fame lines both sides of Hollywood Boulevard from Grover to La Brea, and both sides of Vine Street, from Yucca to Sunset.

Since its inception, Hollywood has remained far from static, and after a few decades many of the stars, and much of the business that catered to them, moved to Beverly Hills. In 1985, the Hollywood Boulevard commercial and entertainment district was officially listed in the National Register of Historic Places protecting the neighborhood's important buildings and seeing to it that the significance of Hollywood's past would always be a part of its future.

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