Hollywood: 125 Years Young

A city entwined with the new marks an impressive milestone.

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The word "action!" gets shouted on movie sets each and every day around Hollywood. But when did "action!" get called for the city itself?

That date was Feb. 1, 1887, meaning that Lady Tinseltown is marking her 125th in 2012. A city can begin in many ways, of course, but this particular date is a meaningful one for one of the planet's most mythic cities. Why? It was on that date that Mr. Horace Harvey Wilcox swung by the LA recorder's office and made the name "Hollywood" official.

(Yep, there's a Wilcox Avenue in Hollywood; impress your friends with your history smarts next time you drive it. Coming up at the end of this post: De Longpre Avenue and its origins. Is De Longpre your favorite street name to say? It's everyone's.)

Mr. Wilcox had big plans for his brand new principality; he wanted a temptation-free zone, a place with higher purpose and a pure heart. We will pause here to let wags more creative than ourselves comment on whether that is what has come to pass or not for Hollywood. Aaand go.

Us? We think what Hollywood represents is kind of perfect. And nope, the city hasn't been without its drama, literally and figuratively, and it does have a way of drawing both impassioned backers and detracters. But it is full of life force and forward motion, even if its script gets rewritten from time to time.

In short, few towns inspire such emotional response at the mere utterance of their name. With that in mind, happy 125th, dear Hollywood. We'll tip our cap to your 19-century origins next time we drive down Wilcox.

And now, about De Longpre Avenue as promised. It was named after painter Paul de Longpre, who was known for his exquisite Hollywood gardens.

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