Early history and development
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.
According to the diary of
H. J. Whitley, known as the "Father of Hollywood," on his honeymoon in 1886 he stood at the top of the hill looking out over the valley. Along came a Chinese man in a wagon carrying wood. The man got out of the wagon and bowed. The Chinese man was asked what he was doing and replied, "I holly-wood," meaning 'hauling wood.' H. J. Whitley had an epiphany and decided to name his new town Hollywood. "Holly" would represent England and "wood" would represent his Scottish heritage. Whitley had already started over 100 towns across the western United States.
Whitley arranged to buy the 500-acre (200 ha) 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, eastern adjacent ranch co-owner
Daeida Wilcox, and others.
, first hotel in Hollywood, at the corner of what is now called Yucca Street. It was built in the 1890s.
Daeida Wilcox may have learned of the name Hollywood from Alex Best, her neighbor in Holly Canyon (now Lake Hollywood) and a prominent investor and friend of Whitley's.
 She recommended the same name to her husband,
Harvey. H. Wilcox. In August 1887, Wilcox filed with the Los Angeles County Recorder's office a deed and parcel map of property he had sold named "Hollywood, California." Wilcox wanted to be the first to record it on a deed. The early real-estate boom busted that same year, yet Hollywood began its slow growth.
By 1900, the region had a post office, newspaper, hotel, and two markets. Los Angeles, with a population of 102,479 lay 10 miles (16 km) 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.
Newspaper advertisement for Hollywood land sales, 1908
Hollywood Hotel was opened in 1902 by H. J. Whitley who was a president of the Los Pacific Boulevard and Development Company. Having finally acquired the Hurd ranch and subdivided it, Whitley built the hotel to attract land buyers. Flanking the west side of
Highland Avenue, the structure fronted on
Prospect Avenue, which, still a dusty, unpaved road, was regularly graded and graveled. The hotel was to become internationally known and was the center of the civic and social life and home of the stars for many years.
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
 His 1918 development,
Whitley Heights, was named for him.
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 changed to Hollywood
Boulevard and all the street numbers were also changed.
Motion picture industry
Nestor Studio, Hollywood's first movie studio, 1912
By 1912, major motion-picture companies had set up production near or in Los Angeles.
 In the early 1900s, most motion picture patents were held by Thomas Edison's
Motion Picture Patents Company in New Jersey, and filmmakers were often sued to stop their productions. To escape this, filmmakers began moving out west, where Edison's patents could not be enforced.
 Also, the weather was ideal and there was quick access to various settings. Los Angeles became the capital of the film industry.
Hollywood movie studios, 1922
D. W. Griffith was the first to make a motion picture in Hollywood. His 17-minute short film
In Old California (1910) was filmed for the
 Although Hollywood banned movie theaters—of which it had none—before annexation that year, Los Angeles had no such restriction.
 The first film by a Hollywood studio,
Nestor Motion Picture Company, was shot on October 26, 1911.
 The Whitley home was used as its set, and the unnamed movie was filmed in the middle of their groves at the corner of Whitley Avenue and Hollywood Boulevard.
The first studio in Hollywood, the Nestor Company, was established by the New Jersey–based Centaur Company in a
roadhouse at 6121
Sunset Boulevard (the corner of
Gower), in October 1911.
Four major film companies –
Columbia – had studios in Hollywood, as did several minor companies and rental studios. In the 1920s, Hollywood was the fifth-largest industry in the nation.
Hollywood became known as Tinseltown
 because of the glittering image of the movie industry. Hollywood has since become a major center for
film study in the United States.
Hollywood Boulevard from the Dolby Theatre, before 2006
Capitol Records Tower, 1991
In 1923, the
Hollywood sign was erected in the
Hollywood Hills, reading "HOLLYWOODLAND," its purpose being to advertise a housing development. In 1949, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce entered a contract with the City of Los Angeles to repair and rebuild the sign. The contract stipulated that "LAND" be removed to spell "HOLLYWOOD" and reflect the district, not the housing development.
During the early 1950s, the
Hollywood Freeway was constructed through the northeast corner of Hollywood.
Capitol Records Building on
Vine Street, just north of Hollywood Boulevard, was built in 1956, and the
Hollywood Walk of Fame was created in 1958 as a tribute to artists and other significant contributors to the entertainment industry. The official opening was on February 8, 1960.
Hollywood Boulevard Commercial and Entertainment District was listed in the
National Register of Historic Places in 1985.
In June 1999, the Hollywood extension of the
Los Angeles County Metro Rail
subway opened from
Downtown Los Angeles to the
San Fernando Valley, with stops along Hollywood Boulevard at
Western Avenue (
Hollywood/Western Metro station),
Vine Street (
Hollywood/Vine Metro station), and
Highland Avenue (
Hollywood/Highland Metro station).
Dolby Theatre, which opened in 2001 as the Kodak Theatre at the
Hollywood & Highland Center mall, is the home of the
Oscars. The mall is located where the historic
Hollywood Hotel once stood.
||This section needs expansion with: ongoing revitalization supported by city but various neighborhood groups opposed to dense development have won several major court victories. You can help by adding to it. (May 2015)
After years of serious decline in the 1980s, many Hollywood landmarks were threatened with demolition.
Columbia Square, at the northwest corner of
Sunset Boulevard and
Gower Street, is part of the ongoing rebirth of Hollywood. The
Art Deco-style studio complex completed in 1938, which was once the Hollywood headquarters for
CBS, became home to a new generation of broadcasters when cable television networks
Spike TV consolidated their offices here in 2014 as part of a $420-million office, residential and retail complex.
 Since 2000, Hollywood has been increasingly
gentrified due to revitalization by private enterprise and public planners.
In 2002, some Hollywood voters began a campaign for the area to secede from Los Angeles and become a separate municipality. In June of that year, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors placed secession referendums for both Hollywood and the
San Fernando Valley on the ballot. To pass, they required the approval of a majority of voters in the proposed new municipality as well as a majority of voters in all of Los Angeles. In the November election, both measures failed by wide margins in the citywide vote.