History of Hollywood :
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”. The name is a reference to the Toyon, a native plant with bright red winter berries that resemble holly. Originally the name “Figwood” was to be used to name the area due to the surrounding number of fig trees. Whitley arranged to buy the 500-acre (2.0 km2) 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.
An alternate derivation for the name comes from histories on Hollywood, Illinois (now part of Brookfield, IL) and Hollywood, Florida. Mrs. Wilcox was said to have met a woman on a train trip to the East. The woman told Mrs. Wilcox about her lovely ranch in Hollywood, Illinois. Mrs. Wilcox was said to be so enamored of the name that she appropriated it for the property she and her husband Harvey were planning in the Cahuenga Valley, as it was then known. Further research yielded that a parcel of land in Illinois was, in fact named Hollywood and was owned by John D. Rockefeller and his wife, Laura. When their fourth daughter Edith married Harold McCormick, heir to the farming equipment fortune in 1895, John D. and Laura Rockefeller gifted the ranch to her. The lower part of the area known as Hollywood was purchased by a Samuel Gross in 1893 who subdivided the property for housing and development. Mrs. McCormick donated her parcel of Hollywood to the Cook County Forest Preserve District for development as a zoological garden in 1919 and it is now the Brookfield Zoo. Often this story is repeated as Mrs. Wilcox having met Mrs. McCormick, but as the Wilcoxes filed the name with the City of Los Angeles in 1887. when Mrs. McCormick was but 15, the woman Mrs. Wilcox met was her mother, Mrs. Rockefeller, who owned the property with her husband, John D. Rockefeller.,
Glen-Holly Hotel, first hotel in Hollywood, at the corner of what is now Yucca Street. It was built in the 1890s.
Daeida Wilcox may have learned of the name Hollywood from Ivar Weid, 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. On February 1, 1887, Wilcox filed a deed and map of property he sold with the Los Angeles County Recorder’s office, 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.
Daeida Wilcox Beveridge, the “Mother of Hollywood,” gave three lots to the painter Paul de Longpré at Cahuenga Boulevard and Prospect Avenue (Hollywood Boulevard), for cultural enhancement of the town. His extensive flower gardens and mansion with public art gallery became an early tourist attraction in Los Angeles.
Hollywood Hotel, 1905
The intersection of Hollywood and Highland, 1907
Newspaper advertisement for Hollywood land sales, 1908
The Hollywood Hotel was opened in 1902 by H. J. Whitley, 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 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 changed to Hollywood Boulevard and all the street numbers in the new district changed .
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