Support for LAist comes from
We Explain L.A.
Stay Connected

Share This

This is an archival story that predates current editorial management.

This archival content was written, edited, and published prior to LAist's acquisition by its current owner, Southern California Public Radio ("SCPR"). Content, such as language choice and subject matter, in archival articles therefore may not align with SCPR's current editorial standards. To learn more about those standards and why we make this distinction, please click here.


Tear It Down: Hollywood Sign Edition

Before you
Dear reader, we're asking you to help us keep local news available for all. Your financial support keeps our stories free to read, instead of hidden behind paywalls. We believe when reliable local reporting is widely available, the entire community benefits. Thank you for investing in your neighborhood.

LAist's Tear It Down is currently 1-0, with last year's desperate cry to tear down 8500 Melrose Avenue (the pink and black checkered monster) receiving cries of agreement and some nice legitimate placement in the Los Angeles Times for the cause. We were overjoyed to know that we weren't alone in voicing our opinion that, yes, there are some buildings and landmarks around town that really, positively must be demolished.

This week is no different. LAist would like to stick their digital neck out into the Los Angeles community and cry for the ultimate tear down ever -- the Hollywood sign.

Let's start with what we know: The Hollywood sign stands four stories high, stands firmly in the Hollywood Hills, and was erected in 1923 with the extended letters L-A-N-D. The landmark was not built as an homage to a city, or as a love letter to the motion picture industry or as a cool place to "park." The 1923 HOLLYWOODLAND sign was built for one reason and one reason only: to motivate real estate sales by a group of real estate developers.

Support for LAist comes from

When the 1929 stock market crash came along and Hollywoodland's real estate development crashed as well, the developers abandoned their marketing billboard. And without anyone around to maintain it, it fell apart until 1949 when the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce stepped in and offered to remove the last four letters and repair the rest.

Sure, the Hollywood sign now has a sense of history, but if local lawmakers decided to leave up a GAP ad with Tobey Maguire on a building for sixty years, or if that Angelyne billboard was allowed to stay up and become historical (oh wait, it has) -- people would probably be visiting LA and taking pictures of themselves in front of the "historical Tobey ad." "I'm going to LA to see the Jenna Jameson billboard," people would say. And that would be very very very sad.

So...why treat the Hollywood sign with any more respect than every other billboard around town? Really, that's all it is -- a really old billboard that has happened to accidentally become a landmark.

Call us commie-bastards or call us something else that you're unable to submit with your e-mail address and web page URL -- but we're not 100% convinced that keeping the Hollywood sign is the way to go. Does it really mean that much to all of us to keep it up? Wouldn't you rather have your tax dollars go to repairing the potholes in the roads or fixing Hollywood Boulevard or paying for more police or to (finally) splinter off the Los Angeles public school system? Doesn't it just make perfect sense to get rid of the rest of those letters and call it a day?

It's just a billboard, people. An eighty-two year old sales tool.

Nothing more.