How Did Hollywood Get Its Name?

June 25, 2021
Hollywood Name - Where did it come from? - Hollywood Sign

There are a few legends as to how Hollywood got its name. If you're staying in one of the hotels near Universal Studios Hollywood, you might be curious as to how this world-famous city got its name.

The only verifiable truth of Hollywood's origins is that H.J. Whitley is known as the "Father of Hollywood." Whitley purchased 500 acres of land from E.C. Hurd in the late 19th century.

Harvey Wilcox also purchased land during this time, and several of the legends involve Harvey's wife, Daeida Wilcox, coming up with the "Hollywood" name.

The first official mention of the "Hollywood" name occurred when it was listed on Harvey Wilcox's land deed in 1887.

1. California Holly Legend 1‍

Hollywood Sign

One legend describes how early residents admired a holly-like bush that they called the new settlement Hollywood. The bush wasn't holly but was toyon.

2. California Holly Legend 2‍

Another legend also involves a referral to the holly-like shrub. In this legend, A friend of the Wilcox family lived in Holly Canyon and had referred to the 500 acres of land H.J. Whitley purchased it as "Hollywood." The name stuck.

It's possible that the family friend, Ivar Weid, chose the name "Hollywood" in appreciation of the toyon shrub that's also known as Christmas Berry or California Holly.

3. Daeida Wilcox Connection Legend‍

Another legend states that Mrs. Wilcox had a friend who owned an estate in Illinois. Daeida Wilcox loved the name and felt that holly brought good luck. On her recommendation, her husband Harvey Wilcox put the name on his land deed in 1887.

4. Daeida Wilcox Mass Legend‍

A popular explanation of the Hollywood name doesn't involve the plant. One legend states that Daeida Wilcox named the area after attending a Mass of the Holy Wood of the Cross on the site.

5. Hollywood, or Hauling Wood Legend‍

Another version comes from Whitley's diary. In 1886, Whitley saw a man with a wood-hauling wagon. The two men had a polite exchange, and when the foreigner said he was "hauling wood," it sounded to Whitley like "Hollywood." Whitley loved the fact that holly represented England and wood represented Scotland. He passed the story to friends, and the story reached Harvey Wilcox, and the name stuck.

6. Hollywood, Ireland Connection Legend‍

Hollywood Boulevard sign

Yet another version suggests that the Hollywood, California, name was based on an immigrant's love for their home village of Hollywood, Ireland. The immigrant in question was Mathew Guirke, born in 1826 in Hollywood, Wicklow, Ireland. Mathew arrived in America in 1850 and later established himself in the Los Angeles area. He named his new homestead Hollywood in honor of his hometown.

‍How Did Hollywood Get Its Name?‍

Which is your favorite legend about Hollywood's naming? Since the name was first written on Harvey Wilcox's land deed in 1887, it makes sense that Daeida Wilcox was involved in naming the area. Whichever legend is true, the site has become famous throughout the globe for telling legendary stories.

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