Hollywoodland -- your land, my land

Hollywoodland

Remember in 2008, when a Chicago investment group stuck a For Sale sign on 138 acres of open space next to the Hollywood sign? They bought the land from the estate of Howard Hughes in 2002 for close to $1.7 million, got it zoned for four McMansions (because we're short on those) and then offered it up for $22 million. Bob Pool broke the story, and a lot of people got really steamed.

Today, fellow Angelenos, thanks to an impassioned fund-raising campaign by Mr. Los Angeles City Councilman Tom LaBonge and the Trust for Public Land, those 138 acres now belong to us. Even with a final sale price of $11.7 million, it wasn't until philanthropist Aileen Getty stepped in with a million-dollar-plus donation, and Hugh Hefner kicked in the final million that the deal was done. (A complete list of major donors is here.)

So say thank you in the best way possible -- go for a Hollywoodland hike.

Pix from yesterday's ceremony after the jump...

First, we drove and drove and drove some more:
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...parked next to a satellite dish or two:
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...then looked down at where we were headed:
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Where most hikers see this:
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...we were lucky enough to see this:
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...and then this:
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The liability waivers we all had to sign suddenly made sense.

So we slid, screaming walked calmly down a vertical steep trail and there we were, at the base of the Hollywood sign.

Oh!
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It was amazing.
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Check out the view:
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And one of my favorite parts? California poppies, growing at the base of the H.
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Later, there was a ceremony:
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That's Mr. Los Angeles Tom LaBonge in the red shirt.
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It wouldn't be LA without a movie star -- that's Bill Pullman, being interviewed by the lovely (and intrepid) Nita Lelyveld. (Her story is here.)
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Here's Aileen Getty, with her plaque:
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Her son and some friends rode in from Burbank to offer support:
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And here's the land you own, now part of Griffith Park.
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Beautiful, yes?


More by Veronique de Turenne:
Hollywoodland -- your land, my land
Diesel Books returns to Malibu!
Rolling (roiling?) on the river
A question of style
Q&A with Mark Z. Danielewski
Previous Native Intelligence story: Lisker Chronicles: Staying positive

Next Native Intelligence story: A look at the three Dodgers ownership finalists

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