By Michele E. Buttelman
Turning 100 years old is a milestone for people, places and things. This year Los Angeles will see several historic locations reach centennial status.
In 2023 the iconic Hollywood sign turns 100 with birthday events to be held throughout the year.
To kick-off its centennial year the 45-foot-high letters of the sign were painted “Hollywood Sign Centennial White” by Sherwin-Williams in November.
The Hollywood Sign Trust, formed in 1978 to preserve and maintain the sign, has announced plans to spearhead a Visitor Center.
The sign is currently inaccessible to visitors who want to get up close and personal. A fence and high-tech security system keep visitors at a distance. Trespassers will be arrested and fined.
Ushering in the fundraising campaign, the Trust will seek donations and sponsorships. The campaign will also include concept designs and location contests that give residents and others the opportunity to share their ideas for the Visitor Center.
The Hollywoodland sign was first erected in 1923 as a billboard for an upscale real estate development in the hills above the Hollywood district of Los Angeles.
The sign was intended to last just 18 months; however, it has endured as a celebrity in its own right. The word “land” was removed from the sign in September 1949.
Appearing in hundreds of films, TV shows and music videos the sign has rallied movie stars, rock stars, directors, producers and philanthropists to help keep it intact, including the 1978 restoration when Hugh Hefner, Andy Williams, Alice Cooper, Gene Autry and others pledged funds to help the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce rebuild the famous monument.
To get involved with the Visitor Center project, to sponsor or donate, contact [email protected].
Another birthday event includes the opening of the Academy Museum’s “Hollywoodland” exhibit, however the date of the exhibit has yet to be announced. Visit the museum’s website to learn when the exhibit will open at www.academymuseum.org/en/exhibitions.
Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum
3911 S. Figueroa St.,
Los Angeles, CA 90037
The L.A. Memorial Coliseum is the only facility in the world to host two Olympiads (1932, 1984), two Super Bowls (I and VII) and the 1959 World Series.
The Coliseum was commissioned in 1921 as a memorial to L.A. veterans of World War I; it was rededicated to all veterans in 1968.
After a groundbreaking held Dec. 21, 1921, work was completed May 1, 1923. It opened to the public in June 1923.
The first varsity college football game at the Coliseum attracted 20,000 fans to watch University of Southern California vs. Pomona Pitzer. The Trojans won, 23-7.
The game was a double header, opened by USC’s Freshman team, known as the “peagreeners” vs. Santa Ana High School.
In 2028 the Summer Olympics return to Los Angeles and the L.A. Memorial Coliseum will host it’s unprecedented third Olympic Games.
506 S Grand Ave.,
Los Angeles, CA 90071
The Los Angeles Biltmore Hotel opened in 1923 across from Pershing Square in downtown L.A. At the time the Biltmore was the largest hotel west of Chicago. Now known as the Millennium Biltmore, the hotel has appeared in numerous movies and TV series, including “Chinatown,” “Ghostbusters,” “Beverly Hills Cop” and “Mad Men.”
With exquisite Beau Arts architecture, its rich history is most noted for its connection with the Oscars.
The founding banquet for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences was held in the Crystal Ballroom in 1927, where the original Oscar statuette was sketched on a Biltmore napkin. Italian Giovanni Smeraldi led a team of artists who hand painted the Greek myth-inspired frescoes that cover the ballroom ceiling. It took them seven months in 1922 to complete the job.
Eight Academy Awards banquets were held in the Biltmore Bowl during the 1930s and 1940s.
The hotel also was previously a prohibition-era nightclub.
In 1969 the Biltmore Hotel was designated an L.A. Historic-Cultural Monument.
Book a night at the hotel and visit the Gallery Bar and Cognac Room, a nostalgic watering-hole rumored to be the last place the Black Dahlia was seen alive before her still unsolved murder in 1947.
1100 Glendale Blvd.,
Los Angeles, CA 90026
Charismatic preacher Aimee Semple McPherson opened the Angelus Temple, seating 5,000, in L.A’s Echo Park district in 1923.
McPherson’s new Pentecostal denomination came to be called the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel.
In 1926 McPherson “vanished” from a Venice beach only to “reappear” five weeks later in the desert in Sonora, Mexico. It was the scandal of the decade when she claimed to have been kidnapped for ransom, only to have many speculate she had absconded with a lover. The real story may never be known.
The historic Angelus Temple is currently the home of the Angelus Temple Hispanic Church.
Here are a few historic milestones we missed in 1922.
The Rose Bowl
1001 Rose Bowl Drive,
Pasadena, CA 91103
On Oct. 28, 2022 the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, home to the college football classic annual Rose Bowl Game, celebrated its 100th birthday.
The Rose Bowl Stadium has played host to five NFL Super Bowls, two Olympic Games and the Men’s and Women’s FIFA World Cups.
The stadium has hosted superstar concerts, a Papal Mass and visits by three U.S. Presidents: John F. Kennedy, Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan.
Also in 1922:
–Los Angeles’ first radio stations, KFI, KHJ and KNX, went on the air.
–The first concerts are held at the Hollywood Bowl amphitheater, now the summer home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic.
–The Tam O’Shanter restaurant opened by Lawrence Frank and Walter Van de Kamp, they later founded Lawry’s Prime Rib. Walt Disney and his animators were regulars, his favorite table was #31, right by the fireplace and commemorated by a plaque.
–The first L.A. County Fair was held in Pomona.