Friday, June 13, 2014

Hollywood Sign Was Not the Only Hilltop Icon in LA

One of the most recognizable symbols of Los Angeles stands atop Mt. Lee in the Hollywood Hills, the world famous HOLLYWOOD sign.  Built in 1923, the sign was first erected as a temporary advertisement for a new real estate development in the nearby hills called "Hollywoodland".  The sign itself had the"-land" appended to its famous "Hollywood" portion until the sign's first refurbishment in 1949.  The letters, 50 feet tall by 30 feet wide, were designed to be read by cars passing by as far as Wilshire Boulevard.  After the sign's first decade, the fame of Hollywood became far more important than any collection of hillside homes for sale, and the sign became an iconic symbol for Los Angeles' glamorous film capital.

But Hollywoodland was not the only Southern California real estate development to advertise with a gigantic hilltop sign.  From Beverly Crest to Eagle Rock, hills across the LA metropolitan area in the 1920s were festooned with similar gargantuan white-lettered standing advertisement signs.

Hunter Communications Original News Source:

Link to article:

Excerpt: "HOLLYWOODLAND's voice was not alone. Other hillsides also spoke. Across Los Angeles in the 1920s, signs announced new real-estate subdivisions in big block letters perched high above the city. BEVERLY CREST. BRYN MAWR. TRYON RIDGE.

Time has largely forgotten these other signs. One still rusts away in the chaparral day, toppled and discarded long ago.

The Hollywoodland Sign—a mere real-estate advertisement when it rose from the face of Mt. Lee in November 1923, as disposable as the rest—might have suffered a similar fate. But as Hollywood soon became an accepted metonym for L.A.'s glamorous film industry, the sign's letters acquired a new meaning. Nine decades later, it's become one of the city's greatest monuments—a journey richly chronicled by USC cultural historian Leo Braudy.

Beverly Crest 
Seemingly a close relative of the Hollywoodland Sign, Beverly Crest's block-letter sign first appeared on the slopes above Coldwater Canyon in December 1923—only one month after Hollywoodland's. Large signs weren't all the two developments had in common; they also both featured elaborate stone gates modeled after fairy-tale castles.

Like Beverly Terrace, Beverly Crest was the work of George E. Read. Though its sign rose in 1923, houses and lots didn't hit the market until 1926. Here's a 1926 view of the Beverly Crest Sign from the USC Libraries' Dick Whittington Photography Collection:"

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