See How the Hollywood Sign Has Changed Over Time

TIME

When the Hollywood Sign was dedicated on this day, July 13, in 1923, there was little hint that it would become an iconic emblem. In fact, the sign didn’t even say “Hollywood.”

The 50-ft.-tall lettering, which was lit by thousands of flashing light bulbs, was erected as an advertisement not for the movie-making mecca, but for a housing development called Hollywoodland.

The development was complete by the end of 1923, according to the Hollywood Sign Trust. And the Hollywoodland developers figured it would about a year to sell the remaining plots, at which point the billboard would be dismantled, according to Gerald Schiller’sIt Happened in Hollywood.

So much for that. The temporary advertisement became a permanent landmark, playing roles large and small in all sorts of Hollywood stories (including that of the actress Peg Entwhistle, who committed suicide by jumping from the sign). By 1949, with the…

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