c. 1924

Image: Underwood Archives/Getty Images

In 1923, Los Angeles Times owner and real estate investor Harry Chandler was looking for a way to advertise a new housing development in the Hollywood Hills above Los Angeles.

His friend H.J. Whitely (who claimed to have coined the name of the Hollywood area in 1886) offered a suggestion: Build a colossal sign above the development touting its name, Hollywoodland.

The idea stuck, and the developers contracted the Crescent Sign Company to build the sign, with letters 43 feet high and 30 feet wide, at a cost of $21,000

Once erected, the sign was lit with thousands of light bulbs, and was programmed to flash its name in segments: HOLLY—WOOD—LAND—HOLLYWOODLAND. Read more…

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Back when the Hollywood sign had an extra syllable