History Moment By William “Doc” Halliday


Do you live in a subdivision? Many readers do and those who don’t know someone who does. Sometimes a subdivision grows and becomes large enough to become a city itself; or a destination. From the moment of its inception, Hollywoodland de􀏐ined the lifestyle known as “living in the Hollywood Hills.”


The name “Hollywood” was given to the area in 1888 by Harvey Henderson Wilcox and his wife, Daeida. It was Daeida who selected the name after she met a lady on a train whose summer home was called Hollywood. At that time, the pastoral hillside area was populated by citrus farmers. In 1903 the residents of the area elected to incorporate as the city of Hollywood. Seven years later to residents of Hollywood vote to be annexed by the city of Los Angeles.

Hollywoodland began in 1923 with the syndicate owned by Harry Chandler, developer Sidney H. Woodruff, and the founder of West Hollywood, General M. H. Sherman. The development was promoted as one of the most attractive residential sections of the City of Los Angeles. It was proposed as a Mediterranean Riviera in the Hollywood Hills between Lake Hollywood and Griffith Park. Architectural drawings which were inspired by regions of France, Italy, and Spain were used to draw east Coasters to the hillside lots. The plan was to have their homes completed in time to avoid the next harsh winter in their current location. That same year, 1923, Lake Hollywood Reservoir was built to provide water for the rapidly growing city.

You have no doubt seen the “Hollywood” sign. If you have not seen it in person, you have certainly seen it in movies and television shows. Ninety-four years ago, on July 13, 1923, the sign was dedicated on Mount Lee. The sign was fifty feet tall and 510 feet wide when it was erected. Each of the letters was 30 feet wide. Originally the full sign was “Hollywoodland”. There was a 35 foot diameter dot below the sign with a perimeter of 20- watt lights to attract attention. The sign itself featured an additional 4,000 bulbs spaced 8 inches apart which blinked out “Holly”, “wood”, “land”. It was and is hard to miss this landmark sign during the day but the lights would certainly have had a vivid effect at night. The sign cost $21,000.

Living in Hollywoodland defined living in the Hollywood Hills of the Santa Monica Mountains. As impressive as the sign was…

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