Hollywood is the home of the motion picture industry partly thanks to Thomas Edison, who owned a majority of the motion picture patents and sued other filmmakers. Filmmakers moved to Los Angeles when the Court of Appeals ruled against patent claims. Also, the terrain around Hollywood was varied, and the weather was compatible with year-round movie production.
The history of Hollywood starts around 1886 with H. J. Whitley, who had founded over 100 western towns. Whitley developed a residential area named Ocean View. He installed electric lights, established a bank, and built a road. He chose the name Hollywood to honor his heritage. Holly was for England, and wood was for Scotland.
Hollywood was incorporated in 1903 and merged with Los Angeles in 1910 to obtain access to water and sewers. It started its history as a dry town with the abolition of alcohol sales in 1904, and it also banned movie theaters, hardly a good start for a Hollywood motion picture industry.
However, the first Hollywood motion picture was produced by D. W. Griffith in 1910. Nestor Motion Picture Company produced Hollywood's first studio movie in 1911 using Whitley's home as a set. Paramount, Warner Brothers, Columbia, and RKO also had studios in Hollywood at that time. By 1920, the Hollywood film industry was the nation's fifth largest industry. Hollywood controlled the film industry and produced 600 films per year by the 1930s.
By 1927 movie theaters were allowed in Hollywood. That year, Sid Graumann opened the TCL ( Grauman's) Chinese Theatre. Construction began in 1926 and took 18 months to complete. Grauman's opened in May 1927, with the premiere of Cecil B. DeMille's The King of Kings. Other premieres followed as well as special events such as the Academy Awards. The theater is located at 6925 Hollywood Boulevard. Part of the sidewalk featuring the Hollywood Walk of Fame runs in front of the theatre.
The iconic Hollywood Walk of Fame contains more than 2,500 embedded stars honoring actors, directors, producers, musicians, and other entertainment industry notables. The Walk of Fame extends 15 blocks along Hollywood Boulevard and three blocks along Vine Street. E. M. Stuart, Hollywood Chamber of Commerce president in 1953, proposed the idea for the Walk of Fame. He may have been inspired by the stars containing celebrity names painted on the ceiling in the Hollywood Hotel. The first stars were installed in 1960.
Another iconic Hollywood site is the Hollywood sign, located in Griffith Park on Mt Lee in the Hollywood Hills. Erected in 1923, the sign originally read Hollywoodland. It didn't celebrate the town or the film industry but instead promoted a real estate development. The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce repaired and rebuilt the sign and removed land from it in 1949. The sign measures 45' tall and 350' long and stands in front of the Griffith Observatory.
The Griffith Observatory, built between 1933 and 1935, was part of a Depression-era Works Progress Administration (WPA) project. It includes an exhibit hall and a planetarium. The observatory was the dream of Griffith J. Griffith, who donated the land for it in 1896 and provided the money to build it in his will after his death in 1919, on condition that the observatory be open to the public and admission is free. At that time, observatories were open only to scientists. Located in Griffith Park at 2800 E Observatory Road, visitors can enjoy the observatory and the surrounding 4,210 acres of parkland. The park offers picnic areas, hiking, and horseback riding. The Griffith Observatory and Park provides residents and visitors a change-of-pace from film-industry-related sites.
Another non-film-industry-related site is the LA Farmers Market, located at the corner of Third and Fairfax. The Farmers Market sits on land purchased by A. F. Gilmore in 1880 for a dairy farm. The land is still owned by the Gilmore family. Gilmore discovered oil on the land in 1900, but large scale drilling was stopped when the area became part of LA. In 1934, Fred Beck and Roger Dahlhjelm suggested opening a farmers market to Gilmore's son. It was an immediate success and still offers a unique shopping and dining experience.
Now you know Hollywood offers both film-related and other things to do. So, with all this available, get out and enjoy Hollywood, and let us create the lawn of your dreams worthy of a movie set.