It is prominent for its place as the home of the entertainment industry, including several of its historic studios. Its name has come to represent the motion picture industry of the United States. Hollywood is also a highly ethnically diverse, densely populated, economically diverse neighborhood and retail business district.
Hollywood was a small community in 1870 and was incorporated as a municipality in 1903. It merged with the City of Los Angeles in 1910, and soon thereafter a film industry began to emerge, eventually becoming dominant in the world. From the late 1990s to 2013, new buildings, roadways and a subway public transportation system have transformed the neighborhood.
In 1853, one adobe hut stood in Nopalera (Nopal field), named for the Mexican Nopal cactus indigenous to the area. By 1870, an agricultural community flourished. The area was known as the Cahuenga Valley, after the pass in the Santa Monica Mountains immediately to the north.
The name Hollywood was coined by H. J. Whitley, the "Father of Hollywood". Whitley arranged to buy the E.C. Hurd ranch and disclosed to him his plans for the land. They agreed on a price and Hurd agreed to sell at a later date. Before Whitley got off the ground with Hollywood, plans for the new town had spread to General Harrison Gray Otis, Hurd's wife, Mrs. Daeida Wilcox and others.
By 1900, the region had a post office, newspaper, hotel, and two markets. Los Angeles, with a population of 102,479 lay east through the vineyards, barley fields, and citrus groves. A single-track streetcar line ran down the middle of Prospect Avenue from it, but service was infrequent and the trip took two hours. The old citrus fruit-packing house was converted into a livery stable, improving transportation for the inhabitants of Hollywood.
Whitley's company developed and sold one of the early residential areas, the Ocean View Tract. Whitley did much to promote the area. He paid thousands of dollars for electric lighting, including bringing electricity and building a bank, as well as a road into the Cahuenga Pass. The lighting ran for several blocks down Prospect Avenue. Whitley's land was centered on Highland Avenue.
Incorporation and merger
Hollywood was incorporated as a municipality on November 14, 1903, by a vote of 88 for and 77 against. On January 30, 1904, the voters in Hollywood decided, by a vote of 113 to 96, for the banishment of liquor in the city, except when it was being sold for medicinal purposes. Neither hotels nor restaurants were allowed to serve wine or liquor before or after meals.
In 1910, the city voted for merger with Los Angeles in order to secure an adequate water supply and to gain access to the L.A. sewer system. With annexation, the name of Prospect Avenue was changed to Hollywood Boulevard and all the street numbers in the new district changed.
Motion picture industry
By 1912, major motion-picture companies had set up production near or in Los Angeles.
The nicknames Tinseltown and Movie Biz City for Hollywood refer to the glittering nature of the movie industry.
During the early 1950s the Hollywood Freeway was constructed through the northeast corner of Hollywood.
In 1985, the Hollywood Boulevard Commercial and Entertainment District was listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
In June 1999, the Hollywood extension of the Los Angeles County Metro Rail Red Line subway opened from Downtown Los Angeles to the San Fernando Valley, with stops along Hollywood Boulevard at Western Avenue, Vine Street and Highland Avenue.
After years of serious decline in the 1980s, many Hollywood landmarks were threatened with demolition.
Since 2000, Hollywood has increased in gentrification and revitalization planned by private enterprise and public planners with the goal of recreating the district in line with the principles of urban density in mind and increased commercialization.