Probably one of the most well-known attractions in Hollywood is not a place but rather a spot… The Hollywood Sign was created in 1923 to advertise a new real estate development called Hollywoodland. Fast forward to present day and tucked away from the hustle and bustle is the highly desirable and classy community now known as Beachwood Canyon. Beachwood Canyon is a one of a kind neighborhood with a rich history, fruit trees of every variety (crops were raised by early inhabitants of what’s now Beachwood Canyon in the 1880’s) a lake and amazing properties that entice celebs and artists…over the years many tv shows and movies have been filmed in Beachwood Canyon. The community possesses a real elegance and the picture perfect backdrop of the Hollywood sign. Although it is in the middle of the city it feels the world away and resembles a charming hill-side European city.
In 1905, brothers-in-law and street-car tycoons Eli P. Clark and M. H. Sherman obtained 640 acres at the top of the canyon. Clark and Sherman formed a relationship with the publisher of the LA Times Harry Chandler, and respectable real estate builders Tracy E. Shoults and S. H. Woodruff… Chandler offered free publicity in the newspaper for Hollywoodland and Shoults and Woodruff lent their stellar reputation as builders of the high-end Marlborough Square and Windsor housing tracts.
On March 31st, 1923 Hollywoodland was marketed as the first themed hillside residential development in the US. Advertisements promoted its European ambiance, and claimed the neighborhood as a “supreme accomplishment in community-building”. Two stone gates were built below 2690 W. Beachwood Drive, granite quarried in the region was used in constructing roadway and hillside community stairways and retaining walls. At the very top of Beachwood Drive Hollywoodland Stables was created, a location where citizens could board or hire horses… Miles of paths were built connecting to Griffith Park trails. Horticulturalist and Landscape architect Theodore Payne was employed to plant wildflowers, to beautify the community. Advertising guy John Roche developed letters 30 feet broad and 50-feet high spelling the name Hollywoodland to out dwarf any other billboards in the area. The original sign was made of lightweight components like sheet metal, pipes, phone poles and poultry wire, and was finished in July 1923. Woodruff took over as the developer of Hollywoodland and then he authorized only four architectural designs on the hillsides of the development’s: Spanish, English Tudor, Mediterranean, and French Normandy. Architect DeLario produced Beachwood Village at the community entrance and developed the wonderful Castillo del Lago overlooking Lake Hollywoodland. Numerous respectable architects have designed stellar homes in Beachwood Canyon over the years and today what was once called Hollywoodland still draws countless celebrities, musicians, and actors to Beachwood Canyon due to its peaceful ambiance, privacy, and views.