One hundred years ago today, a land developer in southern California named Harry Chandler spent $21,000 on a sign to advertise a new housing project.

He put up giant white letters on the side of a hill that read “HOLLYWOOD… LAND.”

A century later, the first nine letters of that ad have become a landmark, even if, as LAist once put it, “The Hollywood Sign’s been through some stuff.”

Again, the sign was supposed to be temporary, sort of like a big block letter billboard.

But the longer it was up there on top of what’s now called Mt. Lee, the more people liked it.

Its fanbase grew especially as Hollywood, California became known all over the world as the home of the movie industry.

But the increasing affection for the sign didn’t protect it from the effects of time and the weather.

In the 1940s, there was an-almost full restoration (I say “almost” because this is when the word “LAND” disappears and the sign just reads “HOLLYWOOD.”)

But that really just started the whole process over again; the new wooden ended up wearing away to the point that several letters rolled down the hill.

It also didn’t help that somebody set one of the Ls on fire.

Celebrities raised a quarter of a million dollars in the 1970s to replace the run-down wooden sign with a metal one.

Some big names each adopted their own letters, which were flown in by helicopter.

Those letters are now held in place with concrete footings and metal wire, and maintained by the Hollywood Sign Trust.

But even with all that extra attention, strangeness still finds its way onto the hill sometimes.

Twice people have snuck onto the grounds and added extra white panels to make the sign look like it reads “HOLLYWEED,” and at least once it’s been changed to another word we can’t exactly use on this show.

Starting today at Iowa’s famous “world’s largest truck stop,” it’s the Wolcott Truckers Jamboree.

There will be bands, cookouts and fireworks.

And in keeping with an event for truckers, there will be a truck beauty contest as well as a Trucker’s Best Friend contest for pets.

The Hollywood Sign Was Torn Down 40 Years Ago And Completely Replaced (LAist)

The many facelifts of the Hollywood sign (ABC 10)

Wolcott Truckers Jamboree

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Photo by Gnaphron via Flickr/Creative Commons