Mineral Wells Index, Mineral Wells, TX

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April 24, 2014

A welcome sign

Iconic greeting possibly the inspiration for its Hollywood counterpart


While the dates for the construction of both signs are about a year apart, the Portal to Texas suggests  the connection is just part of Mineral Wells lore, said Palin Bree, library manager at the Boyce Ditto Library. The library has contributed a significant amount of material to the Portal, an online database available to the public for historical research.

Some of that material comes from various sources such as A.F. Weaver’s “Time Was in Mineral Wells,” she said, which notes a visit to Mineral Wells by legendary director D.W. Griffith, who produced the classic film “Birth of a Nation” and created the Keystone Kops.

The history site notes Griffith stayed at the Crazy Hotel on his visit and was impressed with the Welcome sign, the only connection, other than time and history, the two signs seem to have. The site also notes Griffith played a role in the development company in charge of Hollywoodland. What’s problematic, however, is that Griffith’s visit was in 1929, well after both the Welcome sign and the Hollywood sign were built.

The connection to the signs hasn’t been researched by Hollywood Signs, said site spokesperson Betsy Isroelit.

“I have never heard of that story,”she said in an email, “but it is fascinating.”

On the Portal to Texas site, Griffith is pictured standing on the Crazy Hotel’s roof, and other stories say he was able to get his “impressive” view of the Welcome sign from that rooftop.

Whether the signs are connected or not, as the site notes, as history itself shows, Mineral Wells does get at least a footnote in Hollywood’s ballyhoo, playing host to icons like Griffith and Garland, here at the very least to relax and perhaps find inspiration in the surrounding hills for their next film.

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