The Hollywood Sign

Last Saturday, I went hiking on the Mt. Hollywood trail this past weekend for the first time with some friends to go see the Hollywood sign. It was really cool seeing the sign in person after watching many movies and TV showing the famous sign and the glamourous hills below. Placed near the top of Mount Lee in the Hollywood Hills, it overlooks all of Hollywood as well as the city of Los Angeles.


The sign originally spelled out “HOLLYWOODLAND” because it was built to advertise the housing development in the Hollywood hills. The owner, H.J. Whitley advertised his development as a “superb environment without excessive cost on the Hollywood side of the hills.” After its indented use of only a year and a half passed, the sign was kept there because of its symbolic recognition during the rise of American cinema. Over the years, the sign sustained extensive damage and deterioration. One instance during the 1940’s was when Albert Kothe, the signs official caretaker, was driving drunk at the top of Mount Lee when he lost control and drove off the road hitting the cliff behind the H. In 1949, a contract was set in place to remove the “LAND” so it would reflect the Hollywood district instead of the previous housing development. As years went by, the letters began to deteriorate away. The first O turned into a U, and the third O had fallen down. In 1978, Hugh Hefner started a public campaign to have the Hollywood sign restored to its beauty from when it was originally built. The letters were restored in 1978 and again in 2005.  The massive sign represents the beauty that is the Hollywood hills and the glamorous lifestyle that comes with it.


  1. Mattea Malerba

    I knew that the Hollywood sign once read “hollywoodland”, but I never knew why it was changed. That’s neat that Hugh Hefner started a campaign to have it restored. I think it is an important part of our Los Angeles history. I have done the hike before as well, and I enjoyed it. I would definitely go again.

  2. Elizabeth Boron-Trotter

    I’ve done this hike recently and it was pretty cool to be able to actually see this iconic symbol up close and personal. I don’t know if that part about the sign’s official caretaker driving drunk and hitting the back part of the sign’s “H” is true, but still a good story to tell. It’s pretty neat to see the very little concern they had for the sign back then as opposed to the care we take for the sign today.

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