People visit Los Angeles for many reasons. Getting the opportunity to spend some time in Hollywood is one of the more common. If you have any interest in film, odds are good you’d be thrilled to explore the part of LA that gave birth to the most well-known movies in the world.
Odds are also good you probably have some interest in learning about Hollywood history. While it would be impossible to cover the entire topic in a single blog post, the following overview should help you better understand how this iconic neighborhood developed over the years.
Visiting Los Angeles? What You Need to Know About the History of Hollywood
It’s no secret that Hollywood is home to the American film industry. That said, the neighborhood existed before it took on this role. In the 19th century and early 20th century, it developed into an upscale residential neighborhood, and was officially incorporated in 1903. It wouldn’t become part of LA until 1910.
The Beginning of the Film Industry
Hollywood was not always destined to become the movie capital of the country (and, arguably, the world). During the early days of the film industry, a number of studios chose the East Coast as their homes. However, LA boasted a quality that region did not possess: decent weather throughout the year. Quite simply, the cold, snowy, and rainy conditions that are more common on the East Coast made filming there on a consistent basis impractical.
Hollywood, on the other hand, enjoys relatively warm and sunny weather virtually all year long. That’s a major reason East Coast studios began to relocate there not long after the first Hollywood studio opened in 1911. Additionally, filming in Hollywood allowed studios to avoid potential lawsuits brought by Thomas Edison’s Motion Picture Patents Company.
The Hollywood Sign
You may know that the iconic Hollywood sign used to read “Hollywoodland.” What you might not know is that the sign wasn’t always meant to be one of LA’s most well-known landmarks. When it was first constructed in 1923, the plan was to remove the sign after approximately a year and a half. This plan was abandoned when it became clear that the sign played a major role in defining the identity of the neighborhood. Although it fell into disrepair during the Depression years, it was eventually restored.
The Major Studios
With Hollywood firmly established as America’s moviemaking hub, major studios began producing classics at a fast rate. The film industry was still developing, resulting in an atmosphere of experimentation. Filmmakers tried their hands at various genres, experimented with new special effects, and generally created the popular film medium as we know and love it today. Hollywood is also credited with providing entertainment that helped Americans cope with the struggles of the Depression and World War II.
Advances in filmmaking technology have recently allowed producers and directors to make movies outside of the studio system. In fact, some filmmakers are now even making movies with iPhones. However, the vast majority of major American films still call Hollywood their home. If you’re a film buff, be sure to pay it a visit during your time in LA!