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The History and Mystery Behind The Hollywood Sign

The History and Mystery Behind The Hollywood Sign

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The Hollywood Sign is undoubtedly one of the most recognizable landmarks in the world. It sits perched atop Mount Lee in the Hollywood Hills, overlooking the city of Los Angeles. In existence for over nine decades, the Hollywood Sign has become an iconic symbol of the entertainment industry and the American Dream. Let’s explore the history, mystery, and fascinating facts behind this iconic landmark.

Hollywood Sign (©DeAndre Bush)
Hollywood Sign (©DeAndre Bush)

A Look at The World-Famous Hollywood Sign

History

The Hollywood Sign was initially built in 1923 to advertise a real estate development called “Hollywoodland.” The Sign cost $21,000 and was intended to remain standing for only eighteen months. However, the Sign soon became an enduring symbol of the glitz and glamour of Hollywood, and the “LAND” was eventually removed, leaving only the word “Hollywood.” According to MentalFloss.com, this was done to reflect Hollywood as a city and not as a designated housing development. The change was made in 1949, the same year that the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce began to manage and maintain the Sign as a civic symbol. Over the years, the Hollywood Sign has undergone several renovations and repairs, including a $4.5 million refurbishment in 1978. In 2010, the Sign celebrated its 87th birthday.

Hollywood Sign (©Justin Aikin)
Hollywood Sign (©Justin Aikin)

Mystery

The Hollywood Sign has also become a site for urban legend and mystery. In 1932, the body of actress Peg Entwistle was found at the base of the Sign. Entwistle had jumped from the letter “H” after failing to find success in Hollywood. Some people claim to see Entwistle’s ghost haunting the Hollywood Sign, while others report strange, unexplained phenomena around the area. The Sign has also been the victim of several changes as a result of vandalism. CNN reported on an incident in 2017 when the Sign was changed to “Hollyweed.”

Hollywood Sign (©Izayah Ramos)
Hollywood Sign (©Izayah Ramos)

Fascinating Facts

The Hollywood Sign may be an icon, but it is also a fascinating architectural and engineering feat. The Sign consists of thirteen letters that stand forty-five feet tall and range in width from thirty-one to thirty-nine feet. Each letter is made of steel, weighs up to twenty tons, and is spaced twelve to sixteen feet apart.

If you’re looking for a fantastic view of the famous sign, there are several places you can go. The outer plazas of Ovation Hollywood provide a fairly unobstructed view. Griffith Park offers fantastic views of the Sign and the city from a number of hiking trails. Lake Hollywood Park also has a designated viewpoint just for getting a great look at the Sign. You can also opt for a guided tour of the Hollywood Sign or an express tour.

Hollywood Sign (©Vincentas Liskauskas)
Hollywood Sign (©Vincentas Liskauskas)
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