Let’s Explore the Hillside Letters of North Dakota Towns
It was on this day (July 13) in 1923 when one of the most iconic signs in the nation was dedicated; The Hollywood Sign.
What some people may not know is that the sign used to have four more letters attached to the end. They were L-A-N-D. 'HollywoodLand' was the name of a new neighborhood where a housing development was going to be built. The sign was meant to be just a short-lived advertisement.
Eventually the developers pulled out of the housing project though. Ultimately the sign's ownership fell to the city of Los Angeles. The last four letters were removed 1949 and the entire sign was then rebuilt in the 1970s.
But Hollywood is not the only location in the country with large letters landscaping the hillside.
Here in North Dakota we see it too. In Mandan, you can see the city's name written on the side of a large hillside known as 'Mandan Hill' or 'Crying Hill.' According to the Mandan Historical Society, the letters were placed there in the 1930s in order to assist airplane pilots. The large signs allowed pilots in the pre-GPS days to identify what cities they were flying over during cross-country flights.
The Mandan Historical Society also notes however that the signs may have been placed due to sheer 'civic pride.'
The Mandan Boy Scouts completed the sign in 1932 which required 47 truckloads of rock. The Mandan Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts maintained the sign for 30 years. After that the Mandan Jaycees helped to maintain and refurbish the sign.
The letters were originally placed on the South side of the hill. They were moved to the East side of the hill in the late 1980s after the construction of Interstate 94 so approaching traffic could see the sign.
Other cities around North Dakota have hillside signs as well in including New Salem.