The Hollywood Sign is an iconic landmark to a significant degree. It symbolizes history, hope, success, and the magic Hollywood has to offer. The bold white sign is recognized internationally. To visitors, it is a tourist attraction. To local residents, it is a pleasant view and a reminder of the privileges of calling the City of Angels home. It makes a loud statement as it sits silently in the Hollywood Hills.
Primitively displayed as HOLLYWOODLAND, The Hollywood Sign was originally created in 1923 by the Hollywoodland Real Estate Group. It was meant to serve as an advertisement for a local real estate development that was supposed to last a year and a half. After gaining much recognition, the famous sign was left up. In 1932, twenty-four year old actress Peg Entwistle jumped to her death off of the ‘H’. In the early 1940’s, the official caretaker of the sign, Albert Kothe, lost control of his vehicle and drove off the cliff right behind the ‘H’ and crashed into it destroying both the letter and his car. The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce began a contract with the City of Los Angeles Parks Department in 1949 to repair and rebuild the sign. It was during that time the LAND was removed from the sign only leaving HOLLYWOOD displayed as a way to exemplify Hollywood as a district and not as a real estate housing development.
In 1973, fifty years after its formation, the sign was declared a Los Angeles Cultural Historical Monument after the citizens of Hollywood campaigned for the protection of the beloved sign. However, the condition of the sign had plummeted by 1973 after much decay. With letters deteriorating and falling down, it was in desperate need of restoration and rebuilding. Even though it was lawfully protected, the funds and recourses were still inadequate. The Hollywood Sign Trust was established in 1978 to oversee and accomplish the restoration and rebuilding of the sign. With generous assistance and sponsorships from celebrities and citizens, the new sign was unveiled in 1978. Nine donors, including Alice Cooper, Hugh Hefner, and Gene Autry, contributed nearly $28,000 each to replace a letter of the sign.
Decades have passed and the famed sign is still in existence as it welcomes visitors and new comers chasing their Hollywood dreams. It is a beautiful backdrop for residents of Los Angeles and a reminder to everyone of the generations of people with a dream, the success, the extremes, the lows, the glamour, the lights, and everything in between in the world of Hollywood.