Hollywoodland, an icon is born

How an eye-catching advertising billboard became a famous and glamorous icon? Discover the legend of the Hollywood Sign and the best views point to capture it. Follow me!

A pinch of history

  • The sign is located on top of Mountain Lee.
  • Daeida Wilcox named it after Mary Peck’s lands located in Chicago.
  • Each letter measure 45 feet tall and 30 feet wide.
  • There was no sign standing for tree month during its rebuilt in 1978.

  1. An icon is born


How to promote a new residential area in a fast-growing city?

A real estate group erected in 1923 a massive billboard. Thirteen white letters, H-O-L-L-Y-W-O-O-D-L-A-N-D, to promote a new lifestyle. Standing on top of Mount Lee, the sign was impressive during the day and spectacular at night when 3,700 bulbs lighted it.

This $21,000 advertising sign was supposed to stand only for a year and half….

Years later, as the movies industry was rising in the city, the billboard became its symbol. The city of Los Angeles acquired the land for $1 in 1944. By 1949, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce repaired and maintained it. The last letters “LAND” were removed then.


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By 1978, the eye-catching wooden structure was infected by termites and neglected. Rebuilt completely the sign was the only option to save it.


The Hollywood chamber of commerce initiated the “Save the Sign” campaign and some local residents stand up too. Hence, Playboy founder Hugh Hefner hosted a fund-raising party at the Playboy Mansion. The goal was to raise $250,000 which is $27,500 for each letter. Contributors (individuals and companies) were generous and make the reconstruction possible.

Hollywood reservoir

Today the Sign is protected by “three official agencies: the City of Los Angeles (which owns the land the Sign stands on), the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce (which owns the licensing rights for the Sign’s image), and the Hollywood Sign Trust (formed to maintain, repair and provide capital improvements to the Sign for the benefit of the public, with a larger mission of helping to preserve Hollywood’s standing as the worldwide center of motion pictures and cinema arts).” (source: Hollywoodsign.org)




  1. Best viewpoints

Capture one of LA’s symbol, following some of my favorite’s viewpoints:

The closest

Hike the Sign! Look behind the DOOWYLLOH sign and overlook to the city of angels. Several trails will lead you on top of Mount Lee: Mt. Hollywood Trail, Brush Canyon Trail, and Cahuenga Peak Hike. Grab comfortable shoes and start the escapade!

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Be aware that you can’t touch the sign as a fence and numerous cameras are protecting it.

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The greenest

Lake Hollywood Park is offering the greenest view. Grab your picnic and a blanket for a comfortable and relaxing time. As the park is dog-friendly many locals are coming for a walk.


Cautious: the neighborhood is always packed with tourists

The Star-est

Combine cosmos gazing, city skyline and Hollywood Sign at the Griffith Observatory. Put yourself in the big screen as this area appeared in numerous movies, from “Rebel without a cause” to “La La Land”. It’s not the closest viewpoint but the only one to immortalize the statue of James Dean and the sign in the background.


The Hollywood-est

Tour the Walk of Fame on Hollywood Boulevard and stare at the sign. Walk a few stairs to reach the second floor of the mall located on Hollywood & Highland. Then, look down at Hollywood, palm trees and the sign for the most picturesque picture.




Feel like an icon discover?


If you enjoyed this post, please leave a comment and share with a traveler visiting Los Angeles.

3 thoughts on “Hollywoodland, an icon is born

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