On August 10, 2014 an article entitled “Builder to save old hotel’s façade” appeared in the Sun-Sentinel and shortly thereafter in the Miami Herald, and in an Orlando newspaper. Unfortunately the article was filled with errors (disinformation?), so I wrote the papers refuting them but my letter wasn’t published. Perhaps it’s too long. In any case, people who did read it were impressed and sorry it wasn’t made public, so I’m putting it here, very slightly condensed. I think my comments will suggest what I am rebutting.

Following the letter are various events from Augusts past.

Here’s my letter:

“It is sad enough to allow a historic landmark to be destroyed, but it is really shameful to adjust history to suit your purpose. I refer to the excuses given for plans to demolish most of the Great Southern Hotel, built by city founder Joseph W. Young, Jr. , leaving only the entrance façade as a forlorn attachment to an out-of-scale 19-story erection. An article by Susannah Bryan and Robert Nolin begins : “there were no halcyon days of balls, debutantes or dignitaries. “ Refuting this would take a paragraph, but in fact the Great Southern Hotel had a ballroom, Hollywood never had any debutantes, and as for “dignitaries,” this is too sweeping to cover in a letter. No, Hollywood had no debutantes to strut in the Great Southern ballroom, but Hollywood’s first teen center, The Rec, began in this hotel.

Having attempted to establish that the Great Southern was created to be mediocre, the next paragraph quite incorrectly states that Young built this hotel as “home to the workers who built the city nearly a century ago.” Total fabrication, written by people who have apparently not bothered to read either Virginia TenEick’s History of Hollywood, or my own Guide to Historic Hollywood. No, visionary city builder J. W. Young did not spend half a million 1920s US dollars to hire an important Miami architect to plunk a hotel for laborers on the main corner of his carefully planned downtown Boulevard and grand circle park.

The simple, and obvious reason that Young built the Great Southern Hotel was that his city was so successful, and growing so fast that visitors needed more hotel rooms. He therefore hired architect Martin Hampton, who had worked with Addison Mizner, and who was designing buildings for George Merrick at the same time, to design his second hotel. The rooms are small? It’s a 1920s hotel. I stayed in the grand and famous hotel in Banff, Canada, and guess what? The rooms are small.

Left: a room in the Great Southern Hotel from a flyer, 1920s or 1930s. Note the handsome drapes, stylish wicker chairs, sofa, oriental rug, and bureau with mirror.

From the Hollywood Historical Society

Beach Hotel rooms 1930s

Right: two rooms in the Hollywood Beach Hotel, from a flyer of the 1930s. Note the drapes, bureau with mirror, lamps, etc.

Which room is for the “laborer”?  Neither, right.

From the Hollywood Historical Society.

Apparently to imply that Young himself wouldn’t deign to stay in his Great Southern Hotel, this article states that Young chose to live in his first-built hotel, the Hollywood Hotel (later the Park View Hotel). Yes, Young did live in the Hollywood/Park View, beginning in 1923, for a very good reason: it was the only hotel in Hollywood at the time. He didn’t begin to build the Great Southern until September, 1924.

Calling the Park View “Young’s tourist venue” isn’t exactly accurate, either. Young built both downtown hotels as accommodations for people who came to the new city to buy land. There was nowhere else for them to stay in the first few years of Hollywood’s existence. Both hotels served meals, as well, filling another need. Businessmen stayed in both. Laborers stayed in neither. Eventually it fell into neglect—what historic site hasn’t? The White House nearly collapsed on Harry Truman. And so on.

We can honor our past, or distort it, but the historical facts will remain.”

This ends my letter.

dELRAY HOTELNo, this isn’t the Great Southern Hotel, at left. It is a sister hotel, designed by Martin Hampton and still very much in bloom in downtown Delray Beach.

My photo.

And here, below, is the Great Southern Hotel today.



Back to the past now, to August in Hollywood. From the start Young planned to build an enormous grand hotel on the beach at the east end of his Hollywood Boulevard, but first he had to put in roads, drain marshes, build a bridge across the canal, and so on. Meanwhile, his advertising was so successful that thousands continued to flock to his city, and they needed housing before his Beach Hotel was constructed. They wanted the beach, so Young was happy to provide for that, with a big development he called:

Disk 1 misc 019

TENT CITY.  Virginia TenEick tells us that in August, 1923 Young was actively planning “Tent City” on the beach. The 1920s postcard, at right, looks down a long “street” lined with Tent City accommodations. while the sunbather front right, lounging in a beach chair, offers a suggestion of how roomy each of the “tents” was.

It’s often supposed that Tent City, also called Beach City, was built for laborers. Wrong again. So many people were flocking to Hollywood looking to buy land, or just enjoy the scenery, that Young and others couldn’t build hotels for them fast enough. People in the 1920s were big on the outdoors and fresh air so Young came up with another concept he had heard about, a resort under canvas. This huge stretch of frame structures with canvas roofs could house 100, right on the beach.

IMG_0768In this photo, at left, labeled “Beach City,” the extent of the “city under canvas” may be grasped. The large structure lower left is the dining hall (there was also a sitting room or library). There appears to be a milk wagon making a delivery. In the distance, upper left, is South Lake.

Yale Studio photo, c. 1925

Not exactly roughing it—the tents were supplied with electricity, lights, running water and maid service. Not surprisingly Tent City was demolished by the 1926 hurricane, but its residents had been moved to the Hollywood Beach Hotel which survived that and all storms since.

Tent city by moonlightTitle on the postcard at left reads:


Tinted postcard c. 1925

KINGTON, KRIEKHAUS BUILDINGS. Other buildings going up in downtown Hollywood in August, 1923 were the Kington Building, now the Broward Building, and across the Boulevard the Kriekhaus Building with its unusual coral rock façade. Reporter Sept. 1923, p. 16

At right, top, is the Kington Building under construction, from one of Young’s Hollywood Reporters. Ward Kington was a very early supporter of J. W. Young, building a fine home just across the FEC tracks (behind the trees) in 1922. He chose his locations on the Dixie Highway and Hollywood Boulevard so that travelers would see how handsome a city was under way.

kington aptsThe bottom photo shows the completed structure, with shops on the ground level and six large apartments on the second level. The building is on the southwest corner of 21st Avenue and Hollywood Boulevard.

Kriekhaus building, 2019 Blvd., 1923. Reporter p. 5 Aug. 1923At left is the Kriekhaus building, which stood on the north side of Hollywood Boulevard, just to the east of Young’s company garage (the first building erected in Hollywood by Young).

Reporter Dec. 1923, cover. Kriekhaus BuildingThese two views of the Kriekhaus building with its coral rock facade both appeared in Young’s publications, the bottom photo on the cover. There seems to be a shop with men’s wear in the window, and at right in the distance may be seen the Park View Hotel.

The Kriekhaus building was damaged by the 1926 storm and torn down, but the Kington Building, one of Hollywood’s oldest, now called the Broward Building, has been carefully restored.

HARDING CIRCLE. Also in August, 1923, just months after his brief golfing visit to Hollywood, President Warren G. Harding died in Seattle of a heart attack. Reporter, Sept. 1923 p. 15

At right, from Young’s Hollywood Reporter, the president is the tall man, center. He is greeting the Hollywood Land & Water Company’s top salesmen before lunch at the Park View Hotel.

Upon his death, the downtown Circle, then called either The Circle or Circle Park, was renamed Harding Circle, and so it remained until after the death of J. W. Young who did not want anything named for him. Harding’s death also led to the naming of Coolidge Street for the new president, the last Hollywood street to be named for a president.

FIRST PASSENGER TRAIN STOPS. On August 20, 1924 the first passenger train made a stop in Hollywood at the beautiful station Young had built to entice the Flagler people to stop in his new city. dragimage

When it was completed, Hollywood’s train station was considered to be the most beautiful station on Florida’s coast. But 50 years later this notable structure was considered to be in the way, and was demolished to widen the road.

SEMINOLE VILLAGE. And according to Don Cuddy, in August of 1924 the Seminole Okalee Indian Village, 481 acres, was established on both sides of Stirling Road at US 441. Today Hollywood completely surrounds the Seminole land there.
PERSONAL NOTE FOR AUGUST, 1925. Lamora Gleason (later Mickelson) arrived that month from her home in Vermont. She came to visit her brother John Gleason, an RPI engineer working with a Tony Mickelson. Hollywood Light & Water float 7-4-25 Lamora center No, she didn’t come by truck–that’s the Hollywood Light & Water Company’s float for the 4th of July in 1926. She is sitting in the chair, facing forward. I can’t figure out what the theme of this float was supposed to be.

SAMMONS HOME REDISCOVERED! About that same time, Young had exhorted his top company officers and salesmen to build homes in the city they were promoting, putting their money where their mouths were. One of these, built by J. M. Kagey, Sales Manager, is now the Hollywood Art & Culture Center. Sammons mansion 902 Blvd.

Photo at left:

Another, built by C. Warren Sammons, Manager of the Miami Division of the Sales Department, has been thought to have been demolished. But a recent inquiry about a handsome home on Hollywood Boulevard led us to the discovery that it is in fact the Sammons home built in about 1925.

HOLLYWOOD TAKES PART IN WORLD WAR TWO. More on this in future posts, but by August, 1943 there were two Navy training schools in Hollywood. First to arrive were officers and trainees of the Naval Air Gunners School, commissioned August 4, 1942 and by August 10 the first Gunners class began training, 335 men, average age 19. The Naval Officer Indoctrination and Training School with classes of one thousand graduating every three months occupied the Hollywood Beach Hotel. Navy at Hollywood Beach Hotel, 1943

The photo at right shows one of the first classes of trainees in the Hollywood Beach Hotel gardens.

Oscar Johnson photo, Hollywood Historical Society.

According to the August 12, 1943 Sun-Tattler, no cameras were allowed on the beach, and civilian Air Wardens “had power over lights.” Blackouts were serious for all coastal Americans at this time. Also in August, 1943, the first WAVE arrived at the Gunners School to “assume her duties as Assistant Communications Officer.” Many of these Naval officers had been commissioned so quickly they arrived in Hollywood without complete uniforms. The August 23, 1943 Tattler headed one article: “Gunnery Girls [sic] Get Uniforms,” while an ad from The Toggery Shop said: “Attention Naval Men—Slate Grays [uniforms] Just Arrived $15.38.”

FAST FORWARD TO 1956. I decided next to go forward a decade, so we pulled at random a Sun-Tattler from August of 1956. Among many other familiar names I discovered that an SBHS classmate, Audrey Feagan was now a columnist. That week she wrote of four local women who traveled to Egypt, Israel, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and Trans-Jordan. Audrey noted that they reached Europe just as the Suez crisis began. Plus sa change… The women were Jean Moore, principal of Hollywood Hills School, Marguerite Hatchett, principal of Hallandale school, Mrs. Jack Burton, a teacher at Hollywood Hills School, and Clara Steele, office manager of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce.

BACK TO SCHOOL IN 1956. Speaking of schools, that same paper featured some Back-to-School outfits, chiefly dresses.Back to School Models 1956  The article shown at left was about a fashion show held that day at Young Circle Bandshell (now long gone). Show director JoAnn Browning at left shows the girls how to pose. They are, l. to r., Charlotte Poole, Joyce Ann Malsom and Carol-Lynn Malsom.

The girls had attended a six-week modeling class and among other classmates who were modeling was Penny Johns.

Melina's back to schoolThis was the era of the starched net petticoat, to hold the skirts out like a dancer’s tutu, as shown in the ad from Melina’s, here at right.

And some of us know that Penny Johns is the daughter of Elsie Johns, now the second-generation proprietor of Melina’s shop on Hollywood Boulevard.

scan0005And here is Melina’s, selling GIRLS WEAR, CORSETS, and LINGERIE, according to the neon lettering on the facade. That’s Elsie standing in the doorway.

college back to schoolThe Tattler didn’t leave out the college girls. Vickie Williams, at left, seems to be modeling a Lanz, noted for the rick-rack trim–and surely complete with full petticoats. The outfits on P. Patterson (sorry, her first name is cut off) and Lou Orsell were chosen to be suitable for northern schools. Southern Northern schools, I think. The northern college I went to wasn’t nearly so dressy.


Stock car racingSTOCK CAR RACING. Did you know that Hollywood once had a stock-car race track? It was on west Pembroke Road, “Just west of Highway No. 9.” I went there with girlfriends, to watch Cotton Hodges and the others bang up their cars, but he doesn’t seem to be among the drivers listed for this particular race.



LAWN ACRES. Real estate news of August 9, 1956 described the Lawn Acres development, fully landscaped with street sewers. Homes had electric kitchens with Thermidor built-in oven and range, Formica-topped kitchen cabinets, tile baths with glass shower enclosure, glass-jalousied window areas, and all houses “are built so there is a gentle cooling breeze through the day and night.” The White Development Corp. offered the house pictured here at $16,500.  This is a fairly roomy 3-bedroom 2-bath house, with a dining area. Also note in the plan the Utility Room off the carport (do they offer utility rooms any more?) and the Florida Room at the top in the plan

ELVIS INTERVIEWEDGirls interview ElvisAt the time of this interview, Elvis was performing at the Olympia Theater in downtown Miami, and staying at the Robert Clay hotel.  Betty Moffitt and Jean Henry, seniors at South Broward High School, managed to get a 2-hour interview with him (plus kisses). The August 6, 1956 Tattler gave them a 4-column spread to write their story.  (Perhaps you can tell I’m not an Elvis fan.)


You read that right. Avocados are ripe in August and we had 3 trees full. So one day my mother and I decided to try a recipe from a local paper, for avocado ice cream. Need I say that it was awful?

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By-the-sea photo

Hollywood’s Broadwalk looking north in 1923

Courtesy of the Hollywood Historical Society

Other cities may have appended “beach” to their names, but super-salesman J. W. Young went one better with his poetic description of Hollywood “By-the-Sea.”

Founder’s Day. Hollywood recognizes its founder annually in August, the month of his birth. This year  Founder’s Day is August 3, 2014.  Joseph W. Young, Jr. was born August 4, 1882 in Seattle, Washington.

Founder's Day invite formatted for email

Casino Site to Become Margaritaville. On July 8, 1925 the Miami Metropolis Herald wrote that Young and Hollywood announced the grand opening of the Beach Swimming Casino that 4th of July. It was on the Broadwalk just south of Johnson Street (which still had the barge bridge crossing to the mainland). Beach Casino pool from ocean, crowds, 1926

Right, Looking west across the Hollywood Casino pool, 1925-26. Note high diving tower, center. Postcard

boat in casino

Left, looking east from the diving tower, with a boating “battle” in progress.


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By-the-sea photo


Hollywood’s Broadwalk looking north in 1923

Courtesy of the Hollywood Historical Society

Other cities may have appended “beach” to their names, but super-salesman J. W. Young went one better with his poetic description of Hollywood “By-the-Sea.”

Founder’s Day. Hollywood recognizes its founder annually in August, the month of his birth. This year  Founder’s Day is August 3, 2014.  Joseph W. Young, Jr. was born August 4, 1882 in Seattle, Washington.

Founder's Day invite formatted for email

Casino Site to Become Margaritaville. On July 8, 1925 the Miami Metropolis Herald wrote that Young and Hollywood announced the grand opening of the Beach Swimming Casino that 4th of July. It was on the Broadwalk just south of Johnson Street (which still had the barge bridge crossing to the mainland). Beach Casino pool from ocean, crowds, 1926

Right, Looking west across the Hollywood Casino pool, 1925-26. Note high diving tower, center. Postcard

boat in casino


Left, looking east from the diving tower, with a boating “battle” in progress.


Young built both the Broadwalk and the Casino as means to entertain visitors and draw them to the ocean front, and to stimulate interest in the house lots he was selling on the beach island.  The Olympic size saltwater pool with its 3-story diving tower was chiefly a place for water shows, swimming and diving by Olympic athletes, and even little boat races. Hence the viewing stands built on the north and south sides of the main pool. There were also wading pools for small children (see top photo), and surrounding the pools were changing rooms, which we later called cabanas. The Casino was where everyone in Hollywood learned to swim up through the Fifties. Casino July 1934

For example, in July of 1934 the Hollywood Herald ran an ad for the Hollywood Beach Casino offering swimming instruction on Saturdays for children ages 2 to 12. Summer tickets for this instruction were one dollar per month.

Eventually the pool was demolished and that half-block was basically left empty for decades.

Now that has changed, in a big way.  Margaritaville is currently under construction.

Poster for Margaritaville 2014Above, artist’s rendering of future Margaritaville, looking north along the Broadwalk. From a poster hung on the fence surrounding the construction at Johnson Street. July 2014.

So far, I like it. As you can see, the hotel is set quite far back from the Broadwalk, with several pools in the open area.

Beach theater seats & Margaritaville, Johnson St. 2014Right, Margaritaville under construction, July 2014. Benches in foreground face the open-air theater.

So it appears, countering rumors, that the complex will not take over the Broadwalk nor the theater.

Broadwalk and Casino, 1925-26



Broadwalk, Sheldon Hotel, Margaritaville, beach theater seats, 2014At left, the Broadwalk at Johnson Street, looking south past the Casino, 1926. Postcard.


At right, the same view, Broadwalk looking south, past the posters on the fence in front of the building under construction, at right.  July, 2014.


Visible in the artist’s rendering of future Margaritaville, above, is a small, freestanding structure at the upper right, which presumably is the current Hollywood Beach Theater. In the mid-1920s Young erected a wooden bandstand there, with wood benches, to provide entertainment.Bandshell on beach, 20s ps This fragile structure did not survive the 1926 hurricane and tidal wave.

Aerial photos on postcards from the 1960s show that the site still remained empty.

west on Johnson, beach, bill


In the postcard at right, Johnson Street is the wide vertical road in the center, with shops along its south side, then the remnant of the casino pool. There is no theater or bandstand on the beach.

Hollywood Beach Theater at Johnson St., next to Margaritaville, 2014Left, Hollywood Beach Theatre at the Broadwalk and Johnson Street today. July 2014.

If anyone understood publicity it was J. W. Young.  Right from the beginning he set his city apart with the evocative nickname “By-the-Sea.” In fact, he was among the first in Florida to see the value in the warm Atlantic shore. Miami, for example, is on the bay, and even Carl Fisher faced his Miami Beach chiefly toward the bay as well, while other towns in Dade and Broward counties that had ocean frontage in the 1920s didn’t develop them (Deerfield, Pompano, Dania, Hallandale). Fort Lauderdale had its river and sound. You would have to go up to Palm Beach County for a developed ocean front, where Henry Flagler with his usual sense of something special, built his Palm Beach resort on the ocean in the 19th century.  So I think it would be another way to set the city apart , to bring back the musical name “Hollywood By-the-Sea.”

More from past Julys.  “HOMES IN LAKES SECTION.” This is the title on a series of drawings by Young’s main architects, Rubush & Hunter. These drawings were made for the Meyer Kiser Corporation. There are about 20 designs, in tile, stucco, cast stone. Most are asymmetrical, often with a little tower at one side, moon gates, triple serliana windows, balconies, and urns. The drawings are dated July, 1925.  It seemed that home builders could put together their choice of these elements, so their homes would be distinctive while still in keeping with Young’s decree that architecture in this part of his city should conform to his preferred styles that included bungalow, adobe, Spanish Eclectic, Mission Revival, and Moorish.

Hollywood in the Hills, Old Forge, New York.  Young died in February of 1934, at only 51 years of age, but right up until his death he was continuing several projects he had begun in New York and the Adirondacks. I discuss Young’s Hollywood Hills in Old Forge, NY on First Lake in the Fulton Chain of Lakes, in my biography Joseph W. Young, Jr. and the City Beautiful. A Biography of the Founder of  Hollywood, Florida. MicklelsonPCardF2

Young selected this Adirondacks site no doubt as a summer resort for residents of his Hollywood By-the-Sea and of course, anyone else interested. He had the development up and running before his death, having put in a lake shore front road, several cottages, a bath house on First Lake, and the expansive Hollywood Casino built right over the lake for dining and dancing, complete with resident orchestra.

Hollywood Hills Hotel sign and First Lake, 1935


Left, Hollywood Hills Hotel on First Lake at Old Forge in the Adirondacks. About 1932. Postcard.

The Hollywood Hills Hotel was begun before Young died, and barely completed in time for the 4th of July celebration there in that same year.

Hollywood in the Hills, Old Forge, NY.

Hollywood in the Hills, Old Forge, NY.

Right, the Hollywood Hills Hotel was the largest construction made of peeled logs in the eastern U.S. Inside the central rotunda was an impressive octagonal lobby with a huge four-sided rock fireplace, and mezzanine supported by more logs, providing the rustic look of the hunting lodge, so popular then.

Hwd. in Old Forge 1934

Left, Cars pack the open spaces around the Hollywood Hills Casino on First Lake, peaked roof at upper left in photo, as hundreds of invitees arrive for the 4th of July, 1934. From “Tomorrow” Young Companies Newsletter.

Invited guests at the opening of the Hollywood Hills Hotel included Jessie Young, J. W.’s widow, son William and son J. W. Young called Tonce and his wife, also Oscar Johnson, hotel manager, who also managed the Hollywood Beach Hotel during its winter seasons.


If you were excited about all the 1930s cars pictured above, see this ad in the July, 1934 Hollywood Herald for 1924 to 1928 models.  The most expensive, a 1928 Chevy Sport Coupe for $75. The cheapest: a 1926 Ford Touring at $20!  Eat your heart out, antique car buffs!


Looking to the future of Hollywood during the depths of the Great Depression were the founders of the very successful Flamingo Groves out in Davie (now maintained as Flamingo Gardens). The two Hollywood men were Floyd L. Wray and Clarence Philip Hammerstein, and the third was Davie grove specialist Frank Stirling. C. Philip Hammerstein, Nov. 30, 1934

Left, C. Philip Hammerstein in “Who’s Who in Hollywood” in the “Hollywood Herald” in 1934. In 1935 the Hammersteins built the house at 1520 Polk Street, now on the National Register of Historic Places, maintained by the Hollywood Historical Society.

In June-July of 1934 they ran an ad to announce their summer harvest period, and soon after, Floyd Wray wrote a column about the need for a citrus packing house in Broward County since Broward’s orangeFloyd L. Wray for Port Commiss. crop was extensive, but the fruit had to be trucked to an “adjoining county” to be shipped north. Wray wanted to see a packing house capable of handling at least one thousand boxes per day, and a pre-cooling plant with a minimum capacity of 5,000 boxes, preferably near Port Everglades. These plants, said Wray, would employ 80-100 people during the summer season when jobs were hard to find. Shortly thereafter Wray ran for one of the seats on the Port Commission, which he won.



In July, 1942, following Pearl Harbor, US Naval officers began to arrive in Hollywood to convert the large hotel on the 3rd, most western circle to a naval gunnery training school. (It was then the winter quarters of Riverside Military Academy.) The building had been erected by J. W. Young in 1925 as his original Hollywood Hills Inn.Naval Air Gunners at Riverside, Mar 21 44

The Gunners school left Hollywood two years later,in July, 1944, transferring to the Embry Riddle school in Miami.

Right, Rear Admiral Andrew C. McFall of the Seventh Naval District, addresses graduates of Hollywood’s Naval Air Gunnery School in 1944.


In July of 1944 the youth recreation center, called “The Rec” was dedicated. More on this later, but any memories–and photos!–of the Rec that you would like to share will be most welcome.


NEBA Papa John's Mi-MoA few years ago the Members Newsletter did a survey of historic buildings along US 1 from Young Circle north to Sheridan Street. This small fast-food restaurant, a delightful exemplar of the postwar exuberance of Fifties Mid-century Modern was included. And in recent weeks there have been beautifully-illustrated articles on Mi-Mo buildings in both Fort Lauderdale and Miami Beach, where there is interest in saving examples of this inventive Florida architecture from mid-20th century. Not so in Hollywood, apparently. This little gem, most recently Papa John’s, could have been re-imagined as an entrance lobby for the high-rise condos planned for the site. But sad to say. it’s gone.


Readers might also wish to know that J. W. Young’s second-built hotel, the Great Southern Hotel on the corner of Hollywood Boulevard and the west side of Young Circle, is now mostly surrounded by a construction fence. On a positive note, this gives the interested architecture historian the opportunity to view this 1924 hotel designed by Martin L. Hampton of Miami from all sides. Of particular interest is the east facade, where the two arms of the U-shaped structure are clearly visible.

Grt Soth east July 2014Top, East facade of Great Southern Hotel, by Martin L. Hampton in 1924

July, 2014

Casa Blanca


 Bottom, Casa Blanca Hotel designed by Rubush & Hunter for J. W. Young in 1925.



Curiously, the later Casa Blanca Hotel, designed by different architects, has an almost identical footprint. As a Hollywood native, I can guess that this design opened the largest number of rooms to the prevailing Trade Winds, which were the airconditioning of the day, up through the 1950s.

Early photos of the Great Southern Hotel show that the main entrance was originally on the northwest corner, at the Boulevard and 19th Avenue. Perhaps this entrance led into the ballroom, whose location I haven’t identified.

Great Southern Hotel, designed by Martin L. Hampton for J. W. Young, 1924, with 100 rooms and a ballroom. Postcard, Hollywood Historical Society

Great Southern Hotel, designed by Martin L. Hampton for J. W. Young, 1924, with 100 rooms and a ballroom. Postcard, Hollywood Historical Society


Right, early tinted postcard of Young’s Great Southern Hotel showing original entrance on NW corner.




Bottom, same angle today. In the Fifties there was an upscale ladies’ dress shop at that NW corner of the hotel.




So, come if you can this next Sunday, August 3, to the Hollywood Historical Society, where I’ll be giving a PowerPoint presentation starting at 2:00 pm.

PLEASE NOTE:  Hollywood, Florida is NOT in California. The Florida city, named in 1920, was NOT named for the Los Angeles development that later became the movie capital.  J. W. Young was not thinking of movies, but if he had, he might have chosen “Long Beach” where he lived from 1902-16 when Long Beach WAS the silent movie capital. The map that appears was attached by WordPress. Please ignore it. 

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Hollywood is a Paradise Planned

Hello.  I’m back, after a month of travels. More on that later. Now, before returning to my month-by-month-in-Hollywood format, I’m eager to tell you about an exciting honor that Joseph W. Young’s city has received.


In 2013 after many years of research, architect Robert A. M. Stern, Dean of the School of architecture at Yale University, with David Fishman and Jacob Tilove, published a grand tome called Paradise Planned. The Garden Suburb and the Modern City. IMG_1517

This hefty tome of 1,072 pages weighs twelve and one half pounds (I weighed it)IMG_1532.






The authors selected hundreds of cities in both America and Europe, covering the history of the garden city from the 19th century to 1940 with photos, maps, and plans, and detailed scholarly text.

And I’m delighted to say that in a section entitled FLORIDA. A NATIONAL WINTER SUBURB, our Hollywood is given a page and five illustrations.

(courtesy of the Hollywood Historical Society). Hollywood in Paradises Planned 2013








Stern, et al, p. 343. 1. Young’s plan for Hollywood. 2. Hollywood Hotel, later the Park View Hotel, 1923, Rubush & Hunter. 3. Jackson Street in Hollywood, 1924. 4. Aerial view of Hollywood looking east from the 3rd circle. 5. Aerial view of Hollywood looking west from Young Circle downtown.

This is a grand tribute to Hollywood as a city planned in 1920 by one man, J. W. Young, Jr.  The other Florida cities included in that section are Palm Beach as designed by Paris Singer and Addison Mizner starting c. 1921, Coral Gables, begun by George Merrick in 1921, Addison Mizner’s Boca Raton, begun in 1925, Opa Locka (1925), Hialeah (1921), and Miami Springs (1924).

As I have documented in my biography of Young Young cover Joseph W. Young, Jr. and the City Beautiful (McFarland, 2013)  he drew the first plan for Hollywood in 1920, expanding on his earlier plan for Rainbow Ridge in Speedway, Indiana, and influenced by Carl Fisher’s choice of Miami Beach in 1915 for his development. Incidentally, my Young biography was published in 1913, the same year as Paradise Planned, so neither of us had the opportunity to read or cite each other’s texts before publication.


Left, Young’s early plan for Hollywood with Hollywood Boulevard intersected by 2 of the 3 circles, North and South Lake, and the beach island. Heavy line near the center indicates the Dixie Highway paralleling the FEC Rail Road

Hwd plan 1920                IMG_1536





Right, Young’s plan for his Speedway, Indiana development called Rainbow Ridge, with a central circle, 1919. The circle was never implemented. (Photo Courtesy of Marion County Property Assessors Office.)

The authors of Paradise Planned described Young’s plan for Hollywood, and quote his “precisely worked out” strategy: wide boulevard, lakes created from mangrove lowland, a business section, parks, schools, churches, golf course, a “city for everyone, from the ocean to the Everglades.”

They recognize Young’s knowledge of good zoning. They describe the buildings that Young proposed to have built in his central city as “Spanish style,” recognizing that for Young this chiefly meant California Spanish Mission Revival style.

They also note Young’s development of Liberia, “a new town for African-Americans, consisting of forty square blocks around a circular park.”

Liberia planThe circle is named here Dunbar Park, honoring a black poet, Paul Laurence Dunbar (1872-1906).  The arrangement of the ovoid island site for a hotel is the reverse of a similar arrangement in downtown Hollywood, with the hotel island on the east side of the Circle. For more on Liberia see my Young biography pp. 94-95.

If Liberia had had the opportunity to take root, it might well have been only the second all African-American city in then-segregated Florida, after Eatonville.

Oddly enough, there is no mention of Daniel Burnham’s City Beautiful concept, which spread across the US after 1909 and influenced some city planners. For example, the city of Miami had given some thought to becoming a “City Beautiful” around 1915. Young, as I have indicated, considered his Hollywood to be in line with Burnham’s City Beautiful precepts.

Some small bloopers in Paradise (pardon the pun) include the description of the city being bisected by “the Federal Highway,” which did not appear in South Florida until the 1930s at which time it ran through Hollywood on 18th Avenue. Later attempts to have US 1 bisect Young Circle were thwarted when city residents resisted. The main–and only–North-South route through future Hollywood when Young bought the land in 1920 was the Dixie Highway, built by Carl Fisher to bring automobile travelers down from Chicago and Indiana to his Miami Beach. The Dixie passed through future Hollywood in 1915.

Another misinterpretation of original Hollywood is the statement that Young intended the third circle as the site of a military academy “before terminating [the boulevard] in the west at Riverside, a radial plan neighborhood where Young intended to maximize the value of his property with a hotel.”

As we know, the second, or middle circle, was planned as City Hall Circle, and so it remains, while the third circle was planned as the site of a grand hotel to match the grand hotel at the opposite end of Hollywood Boulevard, the Beach Hotel. The hotel at the west end was called the Hollywood Hills Inn, built in 1925, and Young called the “radial plan neighborhood” Hollywood Hills, as it remains today.

Hills Inn 1925 as Riverside 1930s  IMG_1542

Left, Young’s Hollywood Hills Inn, constructed in 1925 at the west terminus of Hollywood Boulevard, became the winter quarters of the Riverside Military Academy in 1931. Postcard.




Right, Young’s magnum opus, the Hollywood Beach Hotel, 1925, at the east terminus of Hollywood Boulevard at the Atlantic Ocean. Rubush & Hunter, architects. Postcard.


When the national Depression ended the Boom in Hollywood, the Hills Inn stood empty until 1931 when General Sandy Beaver bought it as the winter home of his boys school, the Riverside Military Academy from Gainsville, Georgia.

But these are minor quibbles compared to reading about our Hollywood together with so many other beautiful cities on two continents. Given the scope of this major work, which will be a classic reference on the subject of cities and city planning, it is a great honor for J. W. Young’s Hollywood to be included.  When visitors to the Hollywood Historical Society tell me, as they often do, that they love Hollywood because it is so beautiful and so friendly, I tell them that it was planned that way, back at the beginning in 1920.


Now for a specific June reference. My calendar indicates that on June 4, 1942, the Battle of Midway Island began. This refers to a major naval battle of World War Two, where the US Navy ships and planes overcame the Japanese, and the tide of the war turned in our favor.

It always seems strange to me that for so many people World War Two seems to come to a close with Normandy and the eventual capitulation of the Nazis in 1944, when in fact the US remained at war another year. In some ways the war in the Pacific is more relevant to Hollywood since we were a Navy town for a short time between 1943 and 1944,when the Navy set up training schools in our two major hotels (pictured above) and our streets were filled with young men in white.

Naval Air Gunners mag. 1943


Left, “MUZZLE-BLAST,” a newsletter put out by the Naval Air Gunners School while in residence at the Hollywood Hills Inn/Riverside Military Academy. Dated August 6, 1943. Collection of the Hollywood Historical Society.


In fact the Navy trained in in towns and cities all up and down Florida’s long–and exposed–coast.  As a child I remember following the Pacific battles island to island, and when Japan surrendered in August of 1945, everyone went out in the streets, banging on kitchen pots and pans, and celebrating throughout the night.



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1845, March  Florida becomes a state

1897, March  Flyers go out to Sweden to advertise Halland, a new Swedish colony in southeast Florida, where the climate is conducive to year-round farming. Those interested, it said, should apply to Halland Land Company, 5 Water Street NY for land prices.  The settlement was named for Luther Halland, brother-in-law of James Edmundson Ingraham, a Flagler associate.  This of course is Hallandale.

[Someone please tell the Miami TV announcers that it is pronounced like HAL not HOLL, and the settlers were Swedish, not Dutch.]  Hallandale briefly became part of Hollywood, then on March 6, 1927 it secedes again.  More links between Hallandale and Hollywood are mentioned further along.

1915, March 26  Miami Beach is incorporated, population 150. Carl Fisher’s Alton Beach Realty Company is developing land on the beach.  If you have been following this blog, you know that it was Fisher and his developing Miami Beach that brought J. W. Young here, seeking a site for his city.Roadside Rest, M Bch.  JM coll.

Left, the Roadside Rest on Miami Beach. Probably 1920s photo. 

Just for fun, and unlikely to be connected to either Fisher or Young.

Postcard, J.M. collection

In the last week of March, 1920, Selznick Pictures Corporation is filming scenes for a movie “The Flapper” with Olive Thompson.

Please note: although it’s rumored that J. W. Young built a sound stage in Hollywood (Florida) in order to make movies, there is absolutely no record of this in Young’s numerous publications. Nor is there any indication of a “movie sound stage” in the many plans, plats, and descriptions of buildings erected by Young or his Hollywood Land & Water Company.  If there were, you may be sure that I’d write about it.

Also in March, 1920, chief Boatswain’s Mate Anton Christopher Mickelson receives an Honorable Discharge from the U. S. Navy, which he had joined before World War One.  He returns home to Marseilles, Illinois, then with a friend goes over to Indianapolis, where he begins to work for J. W. Young.

March 1, 1923, the first full-page ad for HOLLYWOOD BY-THE-SEA appears in the Miami Times Union.


March 13, 1923 marks the first presidential visit to Hollywood, a city barely two years old.Harding full page Reporter

President Warren G. Harding is invited for a round of golf at the nine-hole Hollywood Golf & Country Club and lunch at the Hollywood Hotel (later Park View Hotel), pictured here. No doubt the invitation was issued by Oliver Behymer, one of Young’s key employees.  Harding and Behymer had been fellow lecturers on the Chautauqua circuit out of Chicago at the beginning of the 20th century.  In this photo Harding is the tall, white-haired man with a bow tie, in the photo center.

Reporter, Sept. 1923 p. 15

In the photo at left, Harding, center, still wears his golfing plus-four pants, as he greets Young’s sales force.  As it happened, J. W. Young himself was out of town at the time of the President’s visit.

Both photos were published in Young’s Hollywood Reporter, edited by Behymer.

Thirteen years later, on March 27, 1936, President Franklin D. Roosevelt passed through the area.Roosevelt at Port 3 27 36  In this photo in the Hollywood Herald, Roosevelt is the first man in a dark suit stepping off the gangplank, and waving.

We can’t say he actually set foot here since he arrived by “special train,” then walked via a gangplank from the train to the destroyer Monaghan, which took him to the Bahamas. There he transferred to the presidential yacht Potomac for a fishing vacation.


Club Greenacres Feb. 28, 1936This ad appeared in the Hollywood Herald on February 28, 1936.  In case it’s hard to read, it says the Club Greenacres is “located 1 1/2 miles west of the Federal Highway on Hallandale Road (Follow the White Arrows), open all night.”

The ad doesn’t explain why one might want to be there all night, but the reason was well-known in Hallandale, Hollywood, Miami, and so forth.

Read on.

Clergy vs. gamblers 3 1 1937

On March 3, 1937, the Broward Times and the Hollywood Herald announces that local clergy were rising up against gambling, urging the “closing of gambling places in Broward county.” No specific “gambling places” are mentioned.

In the next paper, on March 12, 1937 the headline states that Hollywood merchants did not want a lid on gambling in Broward.merchants for gambling 1937 The chief spokesman is Oscar Johnson, manager of the influential Hollywood Beach Hotel, who says that 60 to 70 guests had already checked out, heading to areas where gambling was available, notably Havana. This was going to create a loss of revenue for the hotel, he points out, and very likely other local merchants.  Johnson wasn’t against gambling per se, but he hopes that the “racketeers in gambling” would be “suppressed.”

The Society section of the same paper, March 12, 1937 announces that the “Club Boheme Is Scene of Pleasant Affair,” a “beautifully appointed luncheon” given to Hollywood matrons by Mrs. Harry Hutchinson and Mrs. Wm. H. Rheinfrank. The Club Boheme was on Hallandale beach, literally on the beach, just south of Hallandale Beach Boulevard. I’ve heard that it was originally a private home (it’s long gone now).

Deauville Yacht ClubAnother March, 1937 ad was for entertainers at the “Deauville Yacht Club,” which was in Hollywood “2 blocks North of Hollywood Beach Hotel.”  It’s surprising to think that the small unpretentious building on the pier in North Lake was once some sort of night club.

If anyone has more info on the “Deauville Yacht Club” I would love to hear about it.

And (going out of chronology) on July 30, 1937 the Hollywood police raided the Plantation in Hallandale. There was a question about jurisdiction, but by 1937 Hollywood wasn’t allowing gambling in the city.

So what’s the connection?  Starting with the Plantation, according to various sources, by 1936 the former tomato packing barn, called the Plantation, was operated by Julian “Potatoes” Kaufman with bookmaking, roulette, crap tables, etc. Kaufman was connected to New York mobster Vincent “Jimmy Blue-eyes” Alo.  According to an interesting website called AmericanMafia and other sources, Alo was a longtime friend of Meyer Lansky. After Kaufman took on the Plantation, Alo and Lansky came down here and opened several more gambling establishments including the Barn and the Colonial Inn in Hallandale. They also opened the “It Club” on US 1 between the port and the airport (a strip joint, now gone), and had a bookie operation in the Hollywood Yacht Club (is this the more elegantly-named Deauville?).  And they also ran the Club Boheme and the Club Greenacres.

Now, although most of the Alo-Lansky establishments were in Hallandale, what’s interesting to this blog is that the proprietors actually made their homes in Hollywood.  Alo lived on South Lake at 1248 Monroe Street. Kaufman lived at 1321 Tyler Street. Meyer Lansky lived in Miami Beach, but his brother Jake lived in Hollywood at 1146 Harrison Street. These addresses are all public knowledge, by the way.


Another topic causing some uproar had to do with the site of J. W. Young’s Tent City, or Beach City, as it was also called.Tent city, K. LaBelle coll.

Left, Tent/Beach City, 125-26. Hollywood Historical Society, gift of Katharine LaBelle. As you can see, these aren’t pup tents or camping tents. They were simple frame structures with canvas roofs. Young got the idea from a similar arrangement in California, and had them erected as he was building the Beach Hotel, since there were so many people clamoring for housing in Hollywood in 1925-1926.Tent City by Moonlight  JM coll

Right, Beach City by Moonlight, Atlantic Ocean at left. Postcard.

There was also a cafeteria, at the right in photo at right, and library. In all there were over 100 camps, each with electricity, running water, and maid service. So if you hear that somebody’s grandmother “lived in a tent on the beach,” she no doubt was not exactly roughing it here in Tent City.  The rest of Hollywood beach before 1926 also belonged to J. W. Young who was developing house lots for sale. There’s no record of individuals pitching tents on the beach. And why would they when they could have electricity and maid service in Beach/Tent City!

Although these fragile structures weren’t intended to be permanent, it wasn’t expected either that an enormous tidal wave would wash over them in September, 1926, leaving the site pretty much empty for another decade.

Beach Trailer ParkOn March 18, 1937  the Hollywood Herald said that “beach area landlords” were up in arms against the establishment of a trailer park on the site of Beach/Tent City. This 1940s postcard indicates that their complaints fell on deaf ears. In fact, in 1937 Oscar Johnson, the same manager of the Beach Hotel that was a major source of revenue in Hollywood in the 1930s, and whose hotel would overlook the trailers, said that such mobile housing was the thing of the future and didn’t object.  The site, a city block at Washington Street between the Atlantic Ocean and A1A, is now a city park and rec building.


Finally, a notice in the Miami News of March 5, 1931, that I find truly exciting. It states that architect Addison Mizner had opened an office on Lincoln Road in Miami Beach with Robert L. Weed.  Mizner’s most productive years were behind him, but Robert L. Weed would design the Florida Tropical House for the 1933 World’s Fair in Chicago.100_1294

Don’t laugh–this is a photo I took 5 years ago–you can find many other photos of this famous house. In 1935, after the Fair, it and other World’s Fair houses were carried by barge to the Indiana Dunes, where they are being restored, as National Landmarks.

Weed shows his awareness of International Modern architecture, choosing this Modern style as best suited to the Florida tropical climate. In keeping with the “Streamline” concept of the Modern style is the flat roof with metal railing, suggesting the deck of an ocean liner.Weed house, land side

This is the land-facing side of the 1933 Florida Tropical House, designed by Robert L. Weed. Note the stairs to the deck, the straight horizontal and vertical lines, and the use of pink stucco. The interiors were in similar pastel shades of yellow, coral and blue.

This house was one of the Homes of Tomorrow in the 1933 Fair, and its architectural style had a broad influence, particularly in Hollywood.17th Court

At left is a simple single-story home in Hollywood  in this geometrical “Modern” style.

17th Ct. and Johnson St.And below is one of my favorites, with raised vertical trim, and complete with “portholes.”

Houses in this Modern style can be found all over Hollywood, both single-story and two or more stories.  It would be wonderful if someone would catalogue them, locate the architects, and provide accurate dates, before they are all torn down, as another of my favorites was (it was on the south side of City Hall Circle).


My thanks to all of you who write me to share with me your knowledge of early Hollywood history. I hope I have replied to everyone. And thank you to all my readers!

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The month of February marks a number of beginnings and endings for J. W. Young and early Hollywood. Most serious was the death of Joseph W. Young, Jr. himself on February 27, 1934 J. W. Young's favorite photoat his home on Hollywood Boulevard.

With him were a business associate and his beloved wife of thirty years, Jessie. He was 51 years old.

Right:  Young’s favorite photo of himself, taken in New York ten years earlier, 1923.

Young had been quite ill for some months, living then in New York. He was thought to have a flu, and finally he and Jessie decided the Florida sun might help cure him, so they came down by train to their home in Hollywood. At first Young did seem better. But it wasn’t a flu, it was his heart, and it suddenly attacked him, leaving him just time to call Jessie to his side before he died.

Recently I have heard that rumors today, 80 years later, suggest that Joseph Young died by suicide.  This is a terrible rumor to spread, about a man famous for his positive outlook on life, for himself and for everyone around him. In fact, just moments before his death Young was discussing possibilities for the future of Hollywood.

To get an idea of how much Young accomplished in Hollywood alone, note that it was on February 19, 1921, just thirteen earlier, that the Hollywood Land & Water Company (Young’s initial Hollywood business) was incorporated with $1,000,000 capital, according to the Miami Metropolitan Herald. Signing the papers with Young were Lillian Allen and DeWeese C. Nevin.

Interestingly, it was in February of 1887 that Harvey Wilcox filed a map of his Cahuenga Valley, California ranch with the county recorder for subdivision purposes. The name of the subdivision was Hollywood.  For more about the naming of Hollywood, California, see my previous post, of January, 2014.

Even before Young got his company incorporated he had sent 12 men down from Indianapolis in December of 1920 to get work started.  On February 5, 1921, according to my father Tony Mickelson, he and his survey crew began laying out the streets and blocks for the future city.1921 hollywood blvd 4

Left: Hollywood Boulevard in 1921, from 21st Avenue looking east. From the estate of Tony Mickelson.

Allen and Nevin each built homes in early Hollywood. Miss Allen’s home in mentioned in Virginia TenEick’s history with no address, while D. C. and Florence Nevin had a handsome bungalow at 1929 Van Buren Street. Nevin was one of the Land & Water Company’s most persuasive and genial “lecturers.” 1st sales pavilion Harrison St.

At right is Hollywood’s first sales office, just east of 21st Avenue on what would be Harrison Street. Note the crowds of people, cars and buses who came to hear Nevin and others talk about the future of Florida. They were given a sandwich, fruit, pie and coffee, and then urged to buy, which many did. As the population grew, there were children to educated. This became the school while Young was building Central School. Courtesy Hollywood Historical Society

2nd sales Pavilion, BoulevardAbove, Hollywood’s second sales pavilion, also known as Hollywood Lecture Hall, which stood on Hollywood Boulevard, south side at 16th Avenue.  The staff of the Hollywood company held Saturday night dances here in the early 1920s.Casino under construction, 1924

At right, in the far distance, center, is the Beach sales pavilion, a large 2-story frame structure. The site today is Charnow Park. In the center of the photo cars line Johnson Street, and in left foreground the Beach Casino is being laid out. 1924. Photo courtesy Hollywood Historical Society.

On February 12, 1923 Lillian Allen together with J. W. Young and Frank Dickey signed the plat for Hollywood Beach First Extension when Young bought the portion of the beach island to the north of today’s Johnson Street. On July 3, 1922 Allen signed the plat for the Little Ranches. She signed as Secretary of the corporation.

In February, 1922 Young began publishing his Hollywood Reporter, the first of his numerous publications and a mine of facts about Hollywood from 1922-24.  No one has located issue No. 1, 1922, so if you have a copy would you share it?

In February, 1923 J. Rogers Gore began the weekly Hollywood News.

In February, 1924 the Hollywood Reporter announced the first home to be built on the beach, by J. L. Frank of Buffalo, NY.Frank house beach Buchanan

As you see, it was a two-story, cement block and stucco building. It was on today’s Buchanan Street, near the Broadwalk, but was demolished several years ago, leaving the Coral House on Indiana Street as the oldest building on the beach today.

Business-related news of February, 1924:

J. W. Young was to head Hollywood’s first large bank, with backing from Miami banker Ed Romfh. Hollywood State Bank, Blvd. & 20th

Right: Hollywood’s first bank, Hollywood State Bank, was at the corner of Hollywood Boulevard and 20th Avenue. Courtesy Hollywood Historical Society.

At the same time another banker (and likely investor in Young properties), Sol Meyer, president of the Meyer-Kiser financial institution of Indianapolis was staying at the Hollywood Hotel (renamed the Park View Hotel). A friend of Carl Fisher, Meyer had been coming to Miami since 1915, and “was now taking an interest in Hollywood.”

bank drawing

Above: Drawing of future First National Bank of Hollywood, by Rubush & Hunter, 1925 This building replaced the original bank, which had been demolished.

bank jl

The top floor, planned as a hotel, was never built.

Left: 20th Avenue facade of Young’s bank, now SunTrust, with original windows and columns covered over. 2005

As the First National Bank, it represented hope since this bank never closed throughout the national Depression.

That same month, February, 1924, Young had his boatyard on the Miami River begin building his yacht, to be christened the “Jessie Faye” in 1925.Hwd boat & transport.

Right, this image shows Young’s Hollywood Boat & Transportation building with the bow of the yacht visible within.

The yacht was 102 feet long with a 40 foot deck house for the dining room, library and pilot house, and six staterooms below, each with private bath. There were quarters for a crew of eight, as well.

In February, 1925 the Miami Metropolis Herald announced that work had started on Young’s major construction, the Hollywood Beach Hotel.

February 22, 1928 brought yet another major accomplishment for J. W. Young to conclusion when President Calvin Coolidge pressed a button in Washington and Port Everglades, then Port Bay Mabel was opened. The name “Port Hollywood” had also been considered, but must have been set aside when Fort Lauderdale raised one-third of the original costs, together with Hollywood and Young himself.IMG_0630

This page at right from Young’s magazine South is part of a long article about the port.  Pictured here is Lake Mabel before port development began. At that time Young’s companies owned all the beach island up to Lake Mabel, and all the land surrounding the lake as well.

IMG_0626Left, from the same article, this drawing by engineer Frank Dickey, shows the proposed division of the port between Hollywood and Fort Lauderdale.

February continued to be a month of endings for Young, as well as beginnings.

In February, 1933, a year before Young’s death, architect Addison Mizner died in Boca Raton. In the mid-1920s Young and Mizner were mentioned together, with Carl Fisher and David Merrick, as the “most prominent city builders” of Boomtime Florida. There’s no question that they knew each other, since Young had included a five-page feature on Mizner in his Hollywood Magazine of September 1925.Addison Mizner in Hollywood Magazine Sept 1925 p. 33

And it’s well to note that although Mizner was a famous and gifted architect, recognized since before 1920, he did not begin to create his city, Boca Raton, until well after Young, Merrick and Fisher had theirs up, built and populated.

Addison’s brother Wilson Mizner had died in February, 1924.

Young’s vice president of Hollywood Land & Water Company, Frank O. Van Deren died just days before Young, on February 23, 1934.

Van Deren home 1925Left, home of Frank O. Van Deren, 1925, at 1455 Harrison Street. Young had insisted that his top-earning salesmen build homes in Hollywood to substantiate their belief in the burgeoning city. Courtesy Hollywood Historical Society.


With the nation deep into the Depression in the 1930s the city floundered for a time.  But while this post will end on a sad note, Young’s city of Hollywood of course has grown and thrived.


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Greetings for 2014!


Let me begin with an observation, or perhaps it’s a pet peeve.  Has anyone else noticed that more and more buildings in south Florida are being described as “Art Deco”?  This catchy term which was used to save the mostly International Modern or Streamline Moderne buildings on Miami Beach has now spread like measles, so that buildings that are clearly Mission Revival or Mid-century Modern, or even plain Center-entrance Colonial are now touted as “Art Deco,” chiefly by real estate folks.  Well, once something becomes generic, it loses its glamor, or so let’s hope.

A wonderful reference for anyone interested in American architecture is Virginia & Lee McAlester’s A Field Guide to American Houses. A new expanded edition has just come out which brings the study up to the present date.


J. W. Young did not build any Art Deco structures in Hollywood. He did set standards for architecture in his city, and the styles he preferred were California Spanish Mission Revival, the far-southwest adobe, and the bungalow as interpreted by the Greene brothers of Pasadena. HollywoodCentral-BrCoHistCommColl

Hollywood Central School, designed by Rubush & Hunter, 1925, in the Mission Revival style with its long swooping parapet, bell niche, and emphasized triple-arch entrance with balcony reference above.  Hollywood Historical Society photo.                                                                            bungalows

No photo of the rare adobe style homes in Hollywood has been located.

At right, 3 homes in the California bungalow style on Monroe Street, 1600 block, built in 1924 and still standing. Note the steep pitched roof over a deep porch supported by pillars, with a central dormer above. Hollywood Historical Society photo.

Now to January events:


When Young chose the Hollywood site in 1920, one of the transportation routes through the property was the Inland Waterway, or Intracoastal Waterway. Creating this inland water route took many years, finally reaching Biscayne Bay in January, 1896, according to William Crawford, Jr. in articles and his book Florida’s Big Dig: The Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway from Jacksonville to Miami, 1881 to 1935.  Young would later make use of this convenient passageway to bring prospective land buyers to his city. tour boat landing Miami Beach

Young had his own dock on the Waterway in Miami Beach. Here, well-dressed visitors ride on the roof of his tour boat “Hollywood by the Sea,” with others at the stern or inside the curtained windows. Upon leaving Miami, their trip northward will take them through vast expanses of empty land.

Canal, sightseers from Miami on Southland, May 24, 31 billImagine the reaction of the passengers when they arrived at the “dock” in Hollywood, a few boards, pipes, and a hungry group of salesmen in plus-fours waiting to pounce. No doubt there were several of Young’s handsome White buses ready to take the prospective buyers to the built-up parts of the city. This spot might be where Young would build the future Boulevard bridge across the Intracoastal.


Probably the key figure who induced Young to consider south Florida as the setting for his planned city was Carl Fisher of Indianapolis (where Young lived from 1918-24).

Fisher was born January 12, 1874 in Greensburg, Indiana (making him only eight years older than Young). In February, 1910 Fisher and his young wife Jane traveled to Miami by train for the first time, where they bought the Alonso Bliss house, calling it “Shadows.”

On January 23, 1913, according to the Miami Herald, Fisher bought 200 acres of [Miami] beach from John Collins. In 1915 Fisher created the Dixie Highway, to bring motorists from Chicago and all along the route down to his Miami Beach resort.

In January, 1919, another name came into prominence as a creator of south Florida style. This was Addison Mizner, architect of the Palm Beach Everglades Club, which opened at that time.


On or about January 2,1920, J. W. Young with his sales associate Ed Whitson traveled by train from Indianapolis to Miami. On that day Henry Flagler’s southernmost hotel, the Royal Palm, opened for its 23rd season. Perhaps Young and Whitson stayed there.

Royal Palm Hotel Yacht Basin & Miami RiverAt right, postcard caption reads : Royal Palm Yacht Basin and Miami River, Miami, Florida.  Probably from the mid-1920s. The number of yachts suggests that Miami was already a center of wealth when Young was building Hollywood.

For more about what was happening in our area when Young first arrived, see my book Joseph W. Young, Jr. and the City Beautiful: A Biography of the Founder of Hollywood, Florida.

January, 1924.  Just three years after Young first envisioned his dream city and began buying the land, his Hollywood Land & Water Company issued a promotional brochure describing their progress.  The brochure said: “A million dollars worth of buildings and public improvements have been completed. A big hotel and golf course are open; there are many miles of paved streets, sidewalks, curbing and parkways completed. 60 families live permanently in Hollywood, which has 15 stores and business places open; electric light and water systems are in full operation. A Chamber of Commerce with 40 members, and a Woman’s Club with 25 members are organized. 20 children are in school.”

Reporter Sept. 1923 back coverAt right: The “big hotel” in 1922-23 was the first hotel built by Young, the Hollywood Hotel, overlooking the downtown circle. It was later called the Parkview Hotel. The handsome, Mission-inspired structure had 100 rooms, including a dining room. From Young’s Hollywood Reporter magazine.

circle park 1922 or 23At left: This view of  Young Circle, then called Central Park or The Circle, is from the tower of the Hollywood Hotel, seen above, looking west to the Downtown area. When Young had my father, Tony Mickelson, first lay out the circle, in 1922, it was a muddy field of green beans grown by a Dania & hotel as gardens

At left is a drawing of Young’s vision for his “Central Park” and the island surrounding the Hollywood Hotel, as a botanical garden, hence the claim of a “park of rare beauty.” None of the plantings actually existed when the drawing was made in 1923.

downtown Jan 1923

At right, downtown Hollywood 91 years ago, in January, 1923. In the foreground, the FEC railroad tracks, in the center distance, the Hollywood (Park View) Hotel. The Boulevard is rock-covered; circle park doesn’t yet have plantings to be seen. At left, Young’s company garage with work trucks (Young’s first building, which soon became shops, and is still standing at 21st Avenue.)

Roden homeThe first 10 homes in Hollywood were built in 1922 by contractor Harry Bastian. Emma and George Roden, Canadians, pictured at left, were the first to purchase a house here. It was at 1901 Madison Street, now gone. But most of the other nine first houses remain in the Parkside area.

The January, 1923 Young company brochure bragged about the city’s utilities, particularly water and electric.  1920s Hollywood was always up to the minute, state-of-the-art.  As in his other developments, Young put in rock-surfaced streets, cement curbs and sidewalks, underground electric lines, city water, and alleys for trash or delivery services. Many homes had covered porte cocheres for automobiles, with garages on the alleys.

J. W. Young's utilities for Hollywood, 1923-25At right, a page from the Young company’s salesmen’s books of photos of the expanding city. Young’s Hollywood Electric Light & Power plant was begun at Buchanan Street and 21st Avenue in 1922. It was sold to Florida Power & Light, which still has facilities there.

Hollywood was fortunate to be sited over at least two underground water sources. The first water plant, completed in February, 1922 was on 18th Avenue between Polk and Taylor Streets (shown here). The plant at the Boulevard and 35th Avenue today was begun in the 1930s.Photo courtesy of the Hollywood Historical Society.

Continuing with January events:

In January, 1926 the Hollywood Beach Hotel, Young’s magnum opus and the eastern culmination of his Boulevard had its opulent grand opening.Beach hotel  lounge

Hollywood Beach Hotel lounge with elaborately painted ceiling beams and pillars, Turkey carpets and upholstered furniture. Note also the large stone fireplace, center left. The area also had a bandstand and a small pipe organ.  No expense was spared as Young sought to rival Flagler’s hotels.


DANIA BECOMES PART OF HOLLYWOOD, BRIEFLY. On January 4th, 1926 the City of Dania, incorporated in 1904, voted to become part of its now larger and seemingly more prosperous neighbor, Hollywood. As Young by that time owned all the land along the waterfront up to and including Lake Mabel (soon to become a port), this in effect put Hollywood on Fort Lauderdale’s border. After the September, 1926 hurricane decimated Hollywood’s fortunes Dania reincorporated itself. But the borders of Hollywood, Dania and Fort Lauderdale have fluctuated a bit since.

YOUNG’S FINAL RETURN. January, 1934.

J. W. and Jessie Young had been living for some time, since about 1927, in the Roosevelt Hotel in New York City, and summered near Young’ property in the Adirondacks where Young was building a resort he called Hollywood in the Hills, in Old Forge NY on First Lake. Roosevelt Hotel lobby, NYC, May 2013

Right, lobby of the Roosevelt Hotel in 2013. Built in 1925, the glamorous hotel with its ballroom where Guy Lombardo was band leader, was named for Teddy Roosevelt, of course. The same year my biography of J. W. Young was published, in 2013, the annual meeting of Biographers International was held here.

Hollywood Hills Hotel, Old Forge NY 1940

At left, Hollywood in the Hills, planned as a resort hotel by J. W. Young on First Lake in the Adirondacks. In January 1934 the peeled log walls and the roof were up, but Young did not live to see the building finished. Postcard.

Young had been ill for some time in 1933, so in January of 1934 he and his wife took the train back to Hollywood, where they hoped that the warm sun would cure him. Sadly it did not, and he died the next month, in his home at 1055 Hollywood Boulevard.

For more on Young in New York, see my biography of Young, Chapters 15-17.

Now for some fun:


The name Hollywood for a city is not very original. There are about 18 Hollywoods in the USA, some dating to the 19th century. In the case of Hollywood, Florida, it is generally said that Young named it for the one that is part of Los Angeles, California. Leaving that aside, how did Hollywood, California get its name? I did a good bit of research on that, so I will quote from my book J. W. Young and the City Beautiful: A Biography of the Founder of Hollywood, Florida, page 51. The California site began as a 120-acre piece of land purchased by Horace and Daeida Wilcox in 1883, to develop as “a utopian-like community containing citizens who reflected the Wilcoxes’ own Christian values. They allowed no bars or saloons in their new development. At first it had no name, until Daeida Wilcox took a train back home to the midwest, and met a “well-to-do Illinois woman” who had called her estate “Hollywood” for the verdant holly bushes growing there.  I learned this much from Elizabeth Ellis, author of Hollywood [CA] in Vintage Postcards, when I was in Los Angeles some years ago.  Daeida returned to California to tell Horace that she’d like to name their development Hollywood, even though Horace pointed out that no holly grew there.

Over the next few years I kept poking around, trying to find this Illinois estate and its owner, and one day it came up on the Internet, on a website for the Illinois Hollywood Citizens Association. This property is just north of Chicago and is now part of Brookfield.  And who owned it?  In 1893 it was a gift to Edith Rockefeller from her father John D. Rockefeller upon her marriage to Harold McCormick!  “Well-to-do” doesn’t begin to describe her.

So, to sum up, Hollywood, California was a development named in 1893 by its original developer Daeida Wilcox, who borrowed the name “Hollywood” from an Illinois estate that had been named by its owner, Edith Rockefeller McCormick for the holly bushes that grew there. 

Why did J. W. Young use it?  Because he, like Daeida Wilcox, liked the name.


On January 28, 2014 I will be speaking to members of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce at the Hollywood Historical Society’s Research Center.

On February 20, 2014 I will give a PowerPoint-illustrated talk to members of the Broward County AIA, at 6:00 pm at the Plantation Building Services Department, 401 N. W. 70th Terrace.  Public is welcome, for a small fee.

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