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Developer advertising turned cultural monument

I don’t really have an opinion on the debate surrounding public access to Los Angeles’ famed Hollywood sign. I just don’t know enough and I’ve never visited it myself.

On the one hand, if you live in Hollywoodland, I can see how having 10 million or so people traipse through your neighborhood each year to take photos of the sign might be a little annoying.

On the other hand, living in a big city like Los Angeles means dealing with certain annoyances. And doesn’t everyone deserve a selfie with the sign? It also doesn’t seem to be impacting values (see above).

What is more interesting to me is that all of this is a reminder that many/most of the neighborhoods and communities that people love today were, at one point, built be developers.

The Hollywood sign was first erected in 1923, and originally read Hollywoodland. It was developer advertising at its finest and intended to sell new homes. The sign cost $21,000 at the time.

Today the sign is a LA Historic-Cultural Monument and one of the city’s most recognizable icons. Isn’t it funny how this stuff works?

Chart via the WSJ

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