The Hollywood Sign was erected in 1923 at a cost of $21,000 by the Hollywoodland Real Estate Group. It was used as an ad campaign for a housing development called Hollywoodland. The Sign was originally 50 feet tall with 4,000 lights that would flash in segments “HOLLY”, “WOOD”, “LAND”.
In 1932 tragedy struck at the Hollywoodland sign. Peg Entwistle, a struggling actress, climbed the H and jumped to her death. She left a suicide note behind that read: “I am afraid, I am a coward. I am sorry for everything. If I had done this a long time ago, it would have saved a lot of pain. P.E.” It’s sad that Peg achieved fame not for her acting but for her death. She has been called “The Hollywood Sign Girl”.
Over the years the sign deteriorated and in 1949 the Sign was repaired. The H had been completely knocked down. “LAND” was removed from the Sign and the light bulbs were not replaced. In 1978 the Sign was demolished and repaired again after years of deterioration. This time the O looked like a U and the third O had fallen down. The letters were now re-sized to 45 feet tall. The Sign that was originally made of wood was now replaced with steel.
There are three agencies overseeing the Sign: The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce who owns the licensing rights for the Sign’s image, the city of Los Angeles who owns the land the Sign stands on, and The Hollywood Sign Trust who maintains repairs and makes improvements to the Sign.
The Sign was only originally meant to last a year and a half. It’s been standing tall on Mount Lee for 90 years now.