The Hollywood sign is being covered with a new message: “Save the Peak.” Event is part of a public fundraising campaign by councilmember Tom LaBonge and national land conservancy the Trust for Public Land, which have been working to acquire Cahuenga Peak from property owners threatening to develop the land for luxury residential housing.
The Trust for Public Land has an agreement to purchase the 138-acre parcel just to the west of the sign for $12.5 million, but they must raise the funds by April 14 to prevent the development of luxury estates next to the national monument.
“The Hollywood sign is one of the most famous landmarks in the country and it’s surrounded by some of the world’s great hiking trails,” said LaBonge. “We have to work together to save this land, Cahuenga Peak.”
Ironically, when the sign was first erected in 1923, it was conceived as an outdoor ad campaign for a suburban housing development called ‘Hollywoodland.’ The sign was built by Los Angeles Times publisher Harry Chandler as an epic $21,000 billboard.
The original letters each stood 30 feet wide and 50 feet tall, constructed of 3’x9′ metal squares rigged together by an intricate frame of scaffolding, pipes, wires and telephone poles. In 1949, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce removed the ‘Land’ portion of the sign.
In the 1970s, after decades of deterioration, the top of the “D” and the entire third “O” toppled down Mt. Lee and an arsonist set fire to the bottom of the second “L.” By the end of the decade, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce determined that the sign required a complete rebuilding at a cost of about $250,000 and scrapped the old sign for the current one in 1978.