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A Brief History of “HOLLYWOOD”


Most of us today firstly think of Hollywood as the place where cinematic magic is made, stars are born and a big HOLLYWOOD sign overshadows us all. Delving into the history of how it came to be what it is today may surprise you. Next time we are giving you a guided tour of the area as you sit back in luxury, this is a bit of history to keep in mind.

Between the years of 1853 and 1870 a large agricultural community had built up in the area and was known as Cahuenga Valley. It did not change to the name we know until , H. J. Whitley, also known as the "Father of Hollywood", came up with the name. Whitley developed a plan for a new town that by 1900 had a post office, newspaper, hotel, and two markets.  At that time the Los Angeles region had a population of 102,479. Still predominantly agricultural it also had a single-track streetcar line that ran down the middle of Prospect Avenue. The now famous Hollywood Hotel was opened in 1902 by H. J. Whitley himself. Over the years Hollywood became a municipality and began to grow even more.

So when did it start to become the Hollywood we know today? The first studio in Hollywood was established in 1911 by the New Jersey–based Centaur Co., which wanted to make westerns in California. Los Angeles and New York became known as the two centers of motion picture production, and by 1915 Los Angeles was the location for most films of the time.

The community continued to expand, and by 1920 HJ Whitley commissioned architect A.S. Barnes to design Whitley Heights. It was a Mediterranean-style village on the steep hillsides above Hollywood Boulevard, and it became the first celebrity community.

The modern Hollywood we are most familiar with today officially started its expansion and influence in the late 1940’s as more theaters opened and the movie industry expanded.


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Posted on Oct 14 2011

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