Hollywood, California History and Information

Hollywood, California!

Hollywood Boulevard in the evening

Hollywood Boulevard in the heart of the city

Hollywood is a district in Los Angeles, California, U.S.A., situated west-northwest of Downtown. Due to its fame and cultural identity as the historical center of movie studios and stars, the word “Hollywood” is often used as a metonym for the American film and television industry. Today much of the movie industry has dispersed into surrounding areas such as Burbank and the Westside, but significant ancillary industries (such as editing, effects, props, post-production, and lighting companies) remain in Hollywood.

Many historic Hollywood theaters are used as venues and concert stages to premiere major theatrical releases, and host the Academy Awards. It is a popular destination for nightlife and tourism, and home to the Walk of Fame.

Although it is not the typical practice of the City of Los Angeles to establish specific boundaries for districts or neighborhoods, Hollywood is a recent exception. On February 16, 2005, Assembly Members Goldberg and Koretz introduced a bill to require the State to keep specific records on Hollywood as though it were independent. For this to be done, the boundaries were defined. This bill was unanimously supported by the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce and the LA City Council. Assembly Bill 588 was approved by the Governor on August 28, 2006, and now the district of Hollywood has official borders. The border is shown at the right, and can be loosely described as the area east of Beverly Hills and West Hollywood, south of Mulholland Dr., Laurel Canyon, Cahuenga Blvd. and Barham Blvd., and the cities of Burbank and Glendale, north of Melrose Avenue, and west of the Golden State Freeway and Hyperion Avenue. Note that this includes all of Griffith Park and Los Feliz, two areas that were hitherto generally considered separate from Hollywood by most Angelinos. The population of the district (including Los Feliz) as of the 2000 census was 208,237. The median household income was $33,409 in 1999

As a portion of the City of Los Angeles, Hollywood does not have its own municipal government, but does have an appointed official that serves as “honorary mayor” for ceremonial purposes only. Currently, the “mayor” is Johnny Grant. Since this is a non-elected, honorary position, Grant has held this position for decades.

Hollywood History

Hollywood in 1885

Hollywood in 1885

In 1853, one adobe hut stood on the site that became Hollywood. By 1870, an agricultural community flourished in the area with thriving crops. In the 1880s, Harvey Henderson Wilcox of Kansas, who made a fortune in real estate even though he had lost the use of his legs due to typhoid fever, and his wife, Daeida who is originally from Hicksville, Ohio, moved to Los Angeles from Topeka. In 1886, Wilcox bought 160 acres (0.6 km) of land in the countryside to the west of the city at the foothills and the Cahuenga Pass.

A locally popular etymology is that the name Hollywood traces to the ample stands of native Toyon, or “California Holly,” that cover the hillsides with clusters of bright red berries each winter. But this and accounts of the name coming from imported English holly then growing in the area are not confirmed. There is some disagreement as to who was the first to name the place Hollywood. One account says that the name was coined by H. J. Whitley, the Father of Hollywood. He and his wife Gigi reportedly came up with the name while on their honeymoon (from Margaret Virginia Whitley’s memoir). He was called the Father of Hollywood by the Los Angeles Times and many others. His gravesite in the Hollywood Forever Cemetery posts that title. Another account is that Mrs. Wilcox coined the name in 1883; while on a train she became acquainted with a wealthy lady who often spoke of her country home named after a settlement of Dutch immigrants from Zwolle called “Hollywood”, and when she returned to Los Angeles she so named her country place.

Glen-Holly Hotel, first hotel in Hollywood, at the corner of what is now Yucca Street. It was built by Joakim Berg,  a famous artist back in the 1890s.; 1890.

Glen-Holly Hotel, first hotel in Hollywood, at the corner of what is now Yucca Street. It was built by Joakim Berg, a famous artist back in the 1890s.; 1890.

By 1900, the community called Cahuenga also had a post office, a newspaper, a hotel and two markets, along with a population of 500. Los Angeles, with a population of 100,000 people at the time, lay seven miles (11 km) east through the citrus groves. A single-track streetcar line ran down the middle of Prospect Avenue from Los Angeles, but service was infrequent and the trip took two hours. The old citrus fruit packing house would be converted into a livery stable, improving transportation for the inhabitants of Hollywood.

Hollywood Hotel, 1905

Hollywood Hotel in 1905

Hollywood Hotel in 1905

The first section of the famous Hollywood Hotel, the first major hotel in Hollywood, was opened in 1902 by H. J. Whitley, eager to sell residential lots among the lemon ranches then lining the foothills. Flanking the west side of Highland Avenue, the structure fronted on Prospect Avenue. Still a dusty, unpaved road, it was regularly graded and graveled.

Hollywood was incorporated as a municipality in 1903 . Among the town ordinances was one prohibiting the sale of liquor except by pharmacists and one outlawing the driving of cattle through the streets in herds of more than two hundred. In 1904, a new trolley car track running from Los Angeles to Hollywood up Prospect Avenue was opened. The system was called “the Hollywood boulevard.” It cut travel time to and from Los Angeles drastically.

The intersection of Hollywood and Highland, 1907

The intersection of Hollywood and Highland, 1907

By 1910, because of an ongoing struggle to secure an adequate water supply, the townsmen voted for Hollywood to be annexed into the City of Los Angeles, as the water system of the growing city had opened the Los Angeles Aqueduct and was piping water down from the Owens River in the Owens Valley. Another reason for the vote was that Hollywood could have access to drainage through Los Angeles sewer system.

With annexation, the name of Prospect Avenue was changed to Hollywood Boulevard and all the street numbers in the new district changed. For example, 100 Prospect Avenue, at Vermont Avenue, became 6400 Hollywood Boulevard; and 100 Cahuenga Boulevard, at Hollywood Boulevard, changed to 1700 Cahuenga Boulevard.

Hollywood and The Motion Picture Industry

In early 1910, director D. W. Griffith was sent by the Biograph Company to the west coast with his acting troop consisting of actors Blanche Sweet, Lillian Gish, Mary Pickford, Lionel Barrymore, and others. They started filming on a vacant lot near Georgia Street in Downtown Los Angeles. The Company decided to explore new territories and traveled several miles north to a little village that was friendly and enjoyed the movie company filming there. This place was called “Hollywood”. Griffith then filmed the first movie ever shot in Hollywood called In Old California, a Biograph melodrama about Latino-Mexican occupied California in the 1800s. The movie company stayed there for months and made several films before returning to New York. After hearing about this wonderful place, in 1913 many movie-makers headed west. The first feature film made in Hollywood, in 1914, was called “The Squaw Man”. All the films made in Los Angeles from 1908 to 1913 were short subjects. With this film, the Hollywood movie industry was “born”. Through the First World War it became the movie capital of the world. The oldest company still existing in Hollywood today was founded by William Horsley of Gower Gulch-based Nestor and Centaur films, who went on to create the Hollywood Film Laboratory.

Nestor Studios, Hollywood's first movie studio, 1913

Nestor Studios, Hollywood's first movie studio, 1913

Modern Hollywood

On January 22, 1947, the first commercial television station west of the Mississippi River, KTLA, began operating in Hollywood. In December of that year, the first Hollywood movie production was made for TV, The Public Prosecutor. And in the 1950s, music recording studios and offices began moving into Hollywood. Other businesses, however, continued to migrate to different parts of the Los Angeles area, primarily to Burbank. Much of the movie industry remained in Hollywood, although the district’s outward appearance changed.

In 1952, CBS built CBS Television City on the corner of Fairfax Avenue and Beverly Boulevard on the former site of Gilmore Stadium. CBS expansion into the Fairfax District pushed the unofficial boundary of Hollywood further south than it had been. CBS slogan for the shows taped there was “From Television City in Hollywood . . .”

During the early 50’s the famous Hollywood Freeway was constructed from The Stack interchange in downtown Los Angeles, past the Hollywood Bowl, up through Cahuenga Pass and into the San Fernando Valley. In the early days, streetcars ran up through the pass, on rails running along the central reservation of the highway.

The famous Capitol Records building on Vine Street just north of Hollywood Boulevard was built in 1956 . It is a recording studio not open to the public, but its unique circular design looks like a stack of 7-inch vinyl records.

The now derelict lot at the corner of Hollywood Boulevard and Serrano Avenue was once the site of the illustrious Hollywood Professional School whose alumni reads like a Hollywood Who’s Who of household “names”.

The Hollywood Walk of Fame was created in 1958 and the first star was placed in 1960 as a tribute to artists working in the entertainment industry. Honorees receive a star based on career and lifetime achievements in motion pictures, live theatre, radio, television, and or music, as well as their charitable and civic contributions.

In 1985, the Hollywood Boulevard Commercial and Entertainment District was officially listed in the National Register of Historic Places protecting important buildings and ensuring that the significance of Hollywood’s past would always be a part of its future.

no one deals like we do!

In June 1999, the long-awaited Hollywood extension of the Los Angeles County Metro Rail Red Line subway opened, running from Downtown Los Angeles to the Valley, with stops along Hollywood Boulevard at Western Avenue, Vine Street and Highland Avenue.

The Kodak Theatre

Opened in 2001 on Hollywood Boulevard at Highland Avenue, where the historic Hollywood Hotel once stood, has become the new home of the Oscars.

While motion picture production still occurs within the Hollywood district, most major studios are actually located elsewhere in the Los Angeles region. Paramount Studios is the only major studio still physically located within Hollywood. Other studios in the district include the aforementioned Jim Henson (formerly Chaplin) Studios, Sunset Gower Studios, and Raleigh Studios.

While Hollywood and the adjacent neighborhood of Los Feliz served as the initial homes for all of the early television stations in the Los Angeles market, most have now relocated to other locations within the metropolitan area. KNBC began this exodus in 1962 when it moved to from the former NBC Radio City Studios located at the northeast corner of Sunset Boulevard and Vine Street to NBC Studios in Burbank. KTTV pulled up stakes in 1996 from its former home at Metromedia Square in the 5700 block of Sunset Boulevard to relocate to the 20th Century Fox lot in Century City. KABC-TV moved from its original location at ABC Television Center (now branded The Prospect Studios) just east of Hollywood to Glendale in 2000, though the Los Angeles bureau of ABC News still resides at Prospect. After being purchased by 20th Century Fox in 2001, KCOP left its former home in the 900 block of North La Brea Avenue to join KTTV on the Fox lot. The CBS Corporation-owned duopoly of KCBS-TV and KCAL-TV moved from its longtime home at CBS Columbia Square in the 6100 block of Sunset Boulevard to a new facility at CBS Studio Center in Studio City. KTLA, located in the 5800 block of Sunset Boulevard, and KCET, in the 4400 block of Sunset Boulevard, are the last television stations with Hollywood addresses.

Additionally it has once served as the home of nearly every radio station in Los Angeles, all of which have later moved into other communities. KNX was the last station to broadcast from Hollywood when it left CBS Columbia Square for a studio in the Miracle Mile in 2005.

In 2002, a number of Hollywood citizens began a campaign for the district to secede from Los Angeles and become, as it had been a century earlier, its own incorporated municipality. Secession supporters argued that the needs of their community were being ignored by the leaders of Los Angeles. In June of that year, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors placed secession referendums for both Hollywood and the Valley on the ballots for a “citywide election.” To pass, they required the approval of a majority of voters in the proposed new municipality as well as a majority of voters in all of Los Angeles. In the November election, both referendums failed by wide margins in the citywide vote.

Hollywood History Books

-Nudelman, Robert & Wanamaker, Marc. (2005) Historic Hollywood: An Illustrated History (Hardcover), Texas: Historical Pub Network. (ISBN 978-1893619463)

-R. Jezek, George & Wanamaker, Marc. (2003) Hollywood: Now and Then (Hardcover), California: George Ross Jezek Photography & Publishing. (ISBN 978-0970103611)

-Gaelyn Whitley Keith. (2006) The Father of Hollywood: The True Story (Hardcover), Book Surge, An Amazon.com Company. (ISBN 1-4196-5387-3)

-Gregory Paul Williams. (2005) The Story of Hollywood: An Illustrated History (Hardcover), BL Press LLC. (ISBN 0-9776299-0-2)


One feature for Hollywood since the 1960s has been its attractiveness for desperate runaways. Every year, hundreds of runaway adolescents leave their homes across North America and flock to Hollywood hoping to become movie stars, as portrayed by the lyrics of the 1960s Burt Bacharach song “Do You Know the Way to San Jose?” whose lyrics include the words: “All the stars / That never were / Are parking cars / And pumping gas.” Such individuals soon discover that they have extremely slim chances of competing against professionally trained actors. Many of them end up sinking into homelessness, which is a problem in Hollywood for adults as well as youth.

Some return home, while others linger in Hollywood and join the prostitutes and panhandlers lining its boulevards; others go to Skid Row in Downtown Los Angeles; and yet others end up in the large pornography industry in the San Fernando Valley. This side of Hollywood was portrayed in Jackson Browne’s 1980 song, “Boulevard”, whose lyrics include reference to a notorious hustler hangout of the 1970s, with the words: “Down at the Golden Cup / They set the young ones up / Under the neon lights / Selling day for night.” This phenomenon is also portrayed in the books of Charles Bukowski.

Hollywood Demographics

As of the census of 2000, there are 167,664 people in the Hollywood district. The racial makeup of the neighborhood is 42.82% White (non-Hispanic), 4.48% African American, 0.68% Native American, 8.98% Asian, 0.12% Pacific Islander, 22.23% from other races, and 6.76% from two or more races. 39.43% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race. The income per capita was estimated at $26,119, putting it ahead of Burbank, California, and about the same as Arcadia, California.

Education in Hollywood

Students who live in Hollywood are zoned to schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District.

Elementary schools:
Vine Street Elementary School
Ramona Elementary School
Gardner Elementary School
Valley View Elementary School
Cheremoya Elementary School

Middle schools:
Bancroft Middle School
Le Conte Middle School
Taylor Middle School

Hollywood High School is the sole zoned public high school in Hollywood.
Christ the King Elementary School is a private school in the area.

For many years, the motion picture Industry had its own private Industry-run institution for child actors, the Hollywood Professional School.

Frances Howard Goldwyn Hollywood Regional Branch of the Los Angeles Public Library is in Hollywood.

Landmarks, interesting spots in Hollywood

Amoeba Music
Barnsdall Park
Blessed Sacrament Church
Bob Hope Square (Hollywood and Vine)
Capitol Records
CBS Columbia Square
Charlie Chaplin Studios
Cinerama Dome
Crossroads of the World
El Capitan Theatre
Frederick’s of Hollywood
Frolic Room
Gower Gulch
Grauman’s Chinese Theater
Grauman’s Egyptian Theatre
Griffith Observatory
Griffith Park
Hollywood Bowl
Hollywood Forever Cemetery
Hollywood and Highland
Hollywood Heritage Museum
Hollywood High School
Hollywood Palace Theatre
Hollywood Palladium
Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel
Hollywood Sign
Hollywood Walk of Fame
Hollywood Wax Museum
Janes House
The Jester Comedy Club
Knickerbocker Hotel
Kodak Theatre
Lake Hollywood
Lasky-DeMille Barn
The Magic Castle
Masonic Temple
Max Factor Building
Musso & Frank Grill
Pantages Theatre
Paramount Studios
Pig ‘N Whistle
Pink’s Hot Dogs
The Prospect Studios (ABC Television Center)
Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! Odditorium
Rock ‘n’ Roll Ralphs
Rock Walk
Runyon Canyon Park
Shrine Auditorium
Sunset and Vine apartment complex
Sunset Gower Studios

This page uses content from Wikipedia. The original article was at Hollywood. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. The text of Wikipedia is available under the GNU Free Documentation License.



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