Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by Stephanie. Stephanie Wonders, “Who Created HOLLYWOOD And Why?” Thanks for WONDERing with us, Stephanie!

Do you like movies? How about television shows? Of course you do! And that’s why you might be saying, “Hooray for Hollywood!” After all, many of the movies and television shows you watch are made there.

Where is Hollywood? It’s to the west and northwest of downtown Los Angeles, California. This area has long been the home of movie stars and film studios. When people think of the center of the American entertainment industry, they think of Hollywood.

Today, the American entertainment industry has spread all over Southern California. It’s even in other parts of the country, like New York City. However, Hollywood is still an important part of the industry. It’s the home of many movie studios and other related businesses.

Where did the name “Hollywood” come from? It was the idea of H. J. Whitley. He bought a 480-acre ranch in the area in the 1880s. Whitley’s wanted to use the ranch land as the starting point of a grand city. He later became known as the “Father of Hollywood.”

American filmmaking did not start in Hollywood. By 1920, though, Hollywood was world-famous as the heart of the U.S. film industry. In the following decades, television studios and music recording studios would also begin to call Hollywood home.

One of the most famous landmarks in Hollywood is the famous Hollywood Sign. The sign stands on the south side of Mount Lee in Griffith Park. It spells out “HOLLYWOOD” in letters that stand 45 feet tall and stretch over 350 feet wide.

The rough and steep terrain in the area gives the sign its unique wavy appearance. Originally, the sign spelled out “HOLLYWOODLAND.” It was built in 1923 to advertise a new housing development with that name.

The original sign was covered with over 4,000 light bulbs. It was never meant to last for more than a year or two. However, as Hollywood made a name for itself, the sign became famous, too. As a result, it was never removed.

Over time, the sign sustained a lot of damage and deteriorated badly. In 1949, the City of Los Angeles Parks Department took over responsibility for the sign. “LAND” was removed from the sign, as were the light bulbs.

In 1978, the entire sign was replaced with letters made of steel. Nine donors each gave over $27,000 to fund the $250,000 restoration project. The new version of the sign was dedicated on November 14, 1978 — the 75th anniversary of Hollywood.

The sign was updated again in 2013 when it turned 90 years old. Today, it’s visited by millions each year. Have you ever been to Hollywood? Have you seen the famous sign? Many still consider it to be the ultimate symbol of the American film industry!

Standards: CCRA.L.3, CCRA.L.6, CCRA.R.1, CCRA.R.2, CCRA.R.4, CCRA.R.10, CCRA.SL.1, CCRA.W.2, CCRA.W.4, CCRA.L.1, CCRA.L.2

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