TONY  by Baumgarten, '47  Collection of Joan MickelsonTHE ’47 FLOOD

The approximate ides of October (mid-month) are unfortunately hurricane-prone, just when we are thinking about better weather. I’d rather not mention too many past storms, but one that occurred within my time frame (before 1950) has been somewhat forgotten, though those of us who were here remember it well enough. This was the storm of October 11, 1947, best remembered for causing what the late, well-remembered Florida historian Stuart McIver called The Great South Florida Flood.

IMG_1941Above right, Tony Mickelson as City Manager cleaning up after the 1947 storm. Pastel by Baumgartner. Collection of Joan Mickelson.

Left: map of the Great 1947 Flood from an article by Bob Lamme. Dark area indicates land totally covered by water.


The 1947 flood was, in area covered, the greatest ever in the US at the time. Eleven Florida counties were more than 50% under water, and this lasted for up to three months. See the map, above. What happened was that starting in September, 1947 after a long drought there were two hurricanes in a row, the first a small one on September 28, the next, October 11-12, together bringing 100 inches of rain. Water poured into Lake Okeechobee from the Kissimmee River Valley until the lake was full. To help drain the lake, locks were opened at South Bay. With no place to go but south via already swollen canals, the water roared down the North New River Canal to Broward and Dade Counties, spilling over banks and dykes eventually covering five million acres from above Lake Okeechobee across the Everglades and down to Broward and Dade counties with water. 90% of eastern Florida from Orlando to the keys was under water. Furthermore, the flood lasted for three or four months in the south center of the state.

Davie and Hialeah were hardest hit, almost 100% under water. In Davie water was waist deep. In Fort Lauderdale waves washed across Las Olas Boulevard and boats floated out of the New River and onto the streets and sidewalks.

In 1947 Hollywood west of State Road 7 was dairyland. While the water caused hardship for the dairies, in central Hollywood it did not come east of the then Seaboard Air Line Rail Road tracks (now Tri-rail) as the raised track must have presented a barrier and water could also drain out the C-10 Canal. (The finger canals and docks in that area didn’t exist them.) The land from 28th Avenue east to the FEC Railroad tracks was the highest in Hollywood and didn’t flood (that’s where I lived). However, Stirling Road, which reached out to Davie, became a river. 1st C of C as Gun Club Stirling '47 Rossman

Left: Clubhouse of the Hollywood Rifle and Pistol Club at 2989 Stirling Road, during the Great Flood of 1947. The club remains at the same address today. Photo from the Rossman-Ellington Donation at the Hollywood Historical Society.

My thanks go to the Fort Lauderdale Historical Society for this piece. I relied on reports in Fort Lauderdale papers since unfortunately the key Hollywood source in the Hollywood Historical Society, the bound volume for October, 1947 of the Sun-Tattler, is missing, and the microfilm copy at the Broward County Historical Commission is now locked away. Also I am relying on memory. As I was a school child at the time, I remember this event quite well, including the typhoid shots given to all us school children. Furthermore, my father had the bad luck of being City Manager then, in time to have to deal with cleaning up after these storms.  See the drawing of Tony Mickelson above.

But there are surely many stories about this flood related to Hollywood, so if anyone has a copy of the Sun-Tattler for October, 1947, we would dearly like to copy it for the Hollywood Historical Society.


Returning to the beginning of Hollywood, Florida: J. W. Young had bought the first parcel of land at the very end of 1920. He sent several salesmen and engineers, including my father, Tony Mickelson, down to get the city he had dreamed of started. The first year, 1921 was largely devoted to clearing the land (and of course, selling it), while the civil engineers drafted out the streets, blocks, parks, and such.

Young captured every facet of the building of his city in photos, and circulated these widely around the U.S. This photo appeared in his "Hollywood Reporter" dated May 1, 1921. Chief surveyor Tony Mickelson stands where the city would begin, where the Boulevard would cross the Dixie Highway and FEC tracks. Joan Mickelson Collection

Young captured every facet of the building of his city in photos, and circulated these widely around the U.S. This photo appeared in his “Hollywood Reporter” dated May 1, 1921. Chief surveyor Tony Mickelson stands where the city would begin, where the Boulevard would cross the Dixie Highway and FEC tracks.
Joan Mickelson Collection

In May of 1921 this photo of my father was taken when Young told him, “Tony, stand here. This is where we’ll begin my city.” He stands at the future intersection of the Dixie Highway (which existed) and Hollywood Boulevard. This photo appeared in Young’s sales materials. In October, 1921 a foldout postcard published by the Hollywood Land & Water Company in the collection of the Hollywood Historical Society, said that “development had begun after land had been cleared.” BloomAnnie'sBoardingHouse-BCHC-PatSmithColl

At first Mickelson lived in Annie Bloom’s Webb Hotel in Dania, a large, comfortable inn with home-cooked meals. In this January, 1921 photo, Mickelson sits at left while the other man isn’t identified.

As soon as he had surveyed the area, Mickelson bought two lots in the Little Ranches, giving him a full acre of land in the highest part of Young’s city, 14 feet above sea level. In the fall of 1922 he built a cottage there, which became the “engineering cottage,” with a group of young bachelors bunking dorm style and sharing a housekeeper/cook.Tommy McCarrell, 1926

These friends included A. Louis Platt, Arthur Johnson, Tommy McCarrell, Eastie Eastburn, Arthur Scott, and John Gleason. Gleason would later become Tony’s brother-in-law (and my uncle).

Right, Tommy McCarrell, 1926.  I don’t seem to have a photo of my uncle John Gleason or the others.

On October 3, 1921, the Miami Metropolitan Herald mentioned that “Joseph Young had started running buses from Miami to Hollywood via Miami Beach to Sunny Isles.” 28Mickelson

Left: buses line Hollywood Boulevard in 1921 bringing prospective buyers from Miami. Courtesy Hollywood Historical Society.

White bus Oct. '23

Right: the caption reads: Five new 21-passenger White DeLuxe busses Added to Hollywood Equipment. October, 1923. From Young’s “Hollywood Reporter.”

Also in October, 1921 Young acquired the first mile on the beach island providing him with ocean front. The beach area was purchased from Olof Zetterlund of Hallandale for about $600 an acre.

Hollywood flourishes, 1923. This was a big year for Young. Hollywood, like most of south Florida, was teeming with people eager to be part of both the land boom, and the fun. The Hollywood Land & Water Company was thriving. In October alone, the company began the beautiful FEC train station.

FEC Station under construction, Dec. 1923Here, pictured at right is the FEC station under construction, with the tracks and the Dixie Highway in the foreground.

From Young’s “Hollywood Reporter.”

The same “Reporter” noted that the public golf course had been expanded from nine to 18 holes. A drawing of the entire course (see below), which doesn’t reproduce well, appeared in Young’s news magazine. golf course 1923

In this month also, Liberia was opened. The unwritten story behind Liberia must go like this: from Hollywood’s beginning, Young had a good number of trained workers close at hand, including the mostly-Bahamian blacks who lived in the unincorporated areas to the west of Hallandale and Dania.

Garage with trucks

Here, at right, is Hollywood’s first building, originally a garage for repairing the company’s fleets of buses and trucks, and still standing at the N.E. corner of Hollywood Boulevard and 21st Avenue. Young had all his workers photographed, and the photos were included in the salesmen’s books carried around the eastern U. S. Posing with their trucks, neatly dressed and hatted, are some of the black men who built Hollywood.

Do bear in mind that Florida back then was strictly segregated by law, and blacks were not allowed to live with whites. J.W. Young was not a southerner. “Equal” meant something to J.W. Young. He was from the Pacific Northwest by way of California. Apparently he saw this law as both a wrong and an opportunity, for he decided to create a separate, actual all-black city, and he publicized it that way. Though smaller in area (at least to begin), Liberia was designed exactly like Hollywood, with a wide boulevard leading off the main highway (still the Dixie as U.S. 1 would not be put through until 1930), a handsome circle park named for the black poet Paul Dunbar, city water and electricity, and land donated by Young’s company for churches and schools. But Liberia was never incorporated, and eventually became part of Hollywood, as it is today.



May, 1923 plan drawing by company engineer Frank Dickey, showing Hollywood and Liberia. Note that Hollywood Boulevard does not yet extend west to the 3rd circle. North and South Lakes, although carefully planned, were still in the dredge-and-fill process. The Dixie Highway was a major north-south thoroughfare; the “east Dixie” shown here was Young’s 18th Avenue. It didn’t become U.S. 1 until 1930.


Hollywood, Florida’s Offspring.

As we tell visitors to our website who assume they have reached the movie capital, there are about 18 Hollywoods in the U.S., some created in the 19th Century. Hollywood, Maryland was named for a holly tree. In my biography of J. W. Young I tell how Hollywood, California, a development in west Los Angeles, got its name (all my own research). As for our Hollywood, founder Young didn’t name his city for “the movie capital” in 1920. For one thing, it wasn’t yet the movie capital and wasn’t famous, nor was Young notably interested in story-telling movies.  He chose the name “Hollywood” because he liked it.

Interesting, to us, is that the city built by J. W. Young so impressed others at the time that according to an October 18, 1925 Times-Union, “Hollywood-on-the-Dixie,” below Jacksonville, “rides on J. W. Young’s reputation.”  Hollywood, New Mexico, claims to have been named for Hollywood, Florida. More about these namesakes would be welcome.


Hollywood in Wartime. The second World War helped lift tiny Hollywood from its years of struggle during the 1930s Depression. The pages of Hollywood’s newspaper, the Sun-Tattler are filled with the patriotic energy that the war effort brought out in this small town’s citizens. One article that caught my eye, in October 22, 1943 was headlined: “Mrs. TenEick Joins Florida Unit of W.A.C. Wife of Postmaster Is Sixth Member of Family In Armed Services; Second Member of State WAC Unit From Hollywood.”

Stt. Mary Nunez TenEick 1943 She was Mary Nunez TenEick, and the WAC was of course the Women’s Army Corps.

Pictured at right, 2nd Lt. Mary Nunez TenEick 1943 (1895-1989). From the Collection of the Hollywood Historical Society.

Mary was Charles W. TenEick’s first wife; Hollywood historian Virginia was his second. Mary TenEick had been a nurse at Fort Dix in World War I. She was sworn in as a WAC just the previous week in 1943 in Miami Beach, and hoped to be assigned to the air corps. Her husband, also a World War I veteran, wanted to re-enlist but as postmaster his services were considered too valuable at home. Their two sons, Charles Watson Jr. and Robert William, were at Georgia Military Academy. My thanks to Watson TenEick, for information about his mother.

The October 8, 1943 Sun-Tattler had announced her predecessor, Mrs. Robert H. Callahan. Oct. 15 '43 p. 1 S-T

Left, Mrs. Robert Callahan before joining the WACs in October, 1943. I believe her first name was Mabel. If so, her home had been a “homey” speakeasy back during Prohibition, according to Virginia TenEick!

Mrs. Callahan joined the WACs October first, leaving her position as office manager and bookkeeper at the Sun-Tattler. She too hoped to be assigned to the air corps where her son Robert Jr. already served.

At the same time, several local women signed up for the U.S. Navy WAVES. The first was Gwendolyne Trine, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. George H. Trine, 331 Hayes Street, who left her position at Breeding’s Drug Store to enlist. She was a graduate of South Broward High School. Before she left, Seaman Trine was given a luncheon in her honor.

Next local woman to join the WAVES was Ernestine Ingram, a teacher at South Broward High School, given a short mention on August 6, 1943. Her parents Mr. and Mrs. E.D. Ingram had lived in Dania, but moved to Palatka.

The September 3,1943 Tattler announced that two more young Hollywood women had joined the WAVES, Lucille Littell (or Lyttell) and Helen Swann. Miss Swann had been working for the Southern Bell Telephone Company and lived with her mother and stepfather, Mr. and Mrs. Ernest Barker. Other WAVES from Hollywood whose names I have located include: Ivy Holland and Frances Sproul.

Very possibly their interest in joining the WAVES had been stimulated by the appearance of dozens, then hundreds, of young women in uniform at both the Naval training schools in Hollywood during the war. The first five WAVES, already ensigns, arrived in July of 1943 to train (with the men) as air navigators. By August of 1943 there were WAVES at the Air Gunners School training the young men as gunners. Aug. 20 '43 S-T p 1

The article at right, from the August 20, 1943 Sun-Tattler, pictures Ens. Madeline Burks from Troy, Alabama and Ens. Virginia Withington of New Haven, CT. They are the first of a group of WAVES to arrive at the Naval Air Navigation School in the Hollywood Beach Hotel, where they would train in naval aerial navigation. Six weeks later they would be pictured again under the caption: “Girl Navigators Make Aviation History In Test Flight From Opa-locka Air Base.” With ten other women and 90 men, these WAVES passed their first test flight. October 15, 1943.

For a book I am planning, a group biography about the WAVES in Hollywood, I would like to hear from or about any woman connected with Hollywood, Florida who served in the WAVES. Please email me at

Thank you!



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In the September 24, 1923 Miami Herald Joseph W. Young, “President of the Hollywood Land & Water Company,” was recognized as “one of the makers of the new Florida.” A handsome photo mural in the lobby of the Hollywood Wells Fargo bank, recently installed, IMG_1927 refers to Young as “Hollywood’s first Mayor.” Perhaps they were not aware that before there was a Hollywood city government, J. W. Young had in fact created the city itself, and therefore is better known as Hollywood’s founder.

He was indeed the first mayor as well, for less than a week.  Here’s the story: From 1921 forward, Hollywood was managed by Young and the officers of his Company.  When Young decided to have his city incorporated,     above, portion of Wells Fargo mural

this was finalized in November, 1925. A city commission was needed, so these first seats were filled by men from the Land & Water Company, appointed by the City Charter Committee. They in turn elected Young as mayor. J. W. Young, 1923

right, Joseph Young at his desk in the Hollywood Land & Water Company office he had built on Hollywood Boulevard, 1924. From Young’s Hollywood Reporter.

But Young wasn’t interested in that position and immediately resigned. He was replaced by Paul R. John, who Young had known back in Indianapolis.Paul R. John Mayor 1926-27


John had come early to Hollywood, and had built the Olive Apartments at 1800 Fillmore Street, designed by Young’s architects, Rubush & Hunter.

left, Paul R. John, 2nd mayor of Hollywood but in reality first acting mayor, December 1926 to December 1927.  Collection of the Hollywood Historical Society.


Also included in the Wells Fargo mural (top left in snapshot above) is a building with a row of vehicles in front of it. The caption says they are “automobiles in front of a garage.”  Talk about missing the point! This photo says much about J. W. Young and his ideals. The building, of course, is a garage, and it is THE FIRST BUILDING IN HOLLYWOOD, erected in 1922 and still standing at the corner of Hollywood Boulevard and 21st Avenue. Garage with trucks

To build his city Young needed fleets of work vehicles, trucks in particular, and he then needed a shop to maintain them, hence the garage. Young had all aspects of his new city under construction photographed, and the photos sent around the eastern US with his salesmen, to boost the future new city. Even a structure as workaday as a garage was designed with Mission Revival details, the curved roof parapet. Young soon sold the building which became a series of shops as it is today. But also notice that the workers sitting tall on their trucks are neatly dressed, posing for posterity. Young took similar posed photos of all the various workers. These are some of the black men who helped build Hollywood, in this case, driving the Model-T trucks. Photo from the collection of the Hollywood Historical Society.


It took hundreds of workers to create a city from the ground up, and I’ve been asked where all these workers lived. According to oral histories, many commuted from Miami, driving the Dixie Highway.  Young even had bus service for men without autos. Others no doubt came from the various nearby farm towns, and Fort Lauderdale. But many others did come by train from upper Florida and Georgia and in fact, the Hollywood Land & Water Company was constantly building workers’ housing. The September 1924 Hollywood Reporter said that a dormitory for the hotel help had been begun on

The Whitehall 1920s billVan Buren Street. It would be three stories, with 50 rooms. Eventually it became the Whitehall Hotel. Here it is, at left, actually two stories, still standing at 2036 Van Buren.

Postcard, Hollywood Historical Society.


Oral histories mention temporary frame structures that were put up near an uncleared area, then demolished when that area was laid out and ready to be sold. The September 1924 Hollywood Reporter mentions that a dormitory for “colored” workmen was being put up. It would house 96 men, and was designed and built under the direction of Young’s eldest son, Jack.


Jumping back in time for a bit, September celebrates the birth of Jessie and Joseph’s second child, on September 4, 1906 in Long Beach, California. He was named Joseph Wesley Young III and called “Tonce.” Brother John, “Jack,” was just a year older.64Mickelson

Tonce Young is pictured here at the right, with Jack Leonard, one of the company’s top salesmen. In the photo Tonce would be about twenty years old. He generally worked in the business end of his father’s companies.

photo at right by Yale Studio, courtesy of the Hollywood Historical Society.


In current papers I often read about “Fort Lauderdale’s Port Everglades,” so once again I’ll remind everyone that the port was initially developed by J. W. Young, and Hollywood still owns a large share of it. There is no question that people from Fort Lauderdale had considered the possibility of creating a port from Lake Mabel, well before Young came along. On September 4, 1913, the Miami Herald noted that Fort Lauderdale was going to try to raise $200,000 to create a deep water port. However, they didn’t.  Hollywood didn’t exist then, and around that same time J. W. Young was observing the creation of a deep water port in the Pacific Ocean, on the shores of his then-home town, Long Beach CA, under the direction of another visionary, Charles Windham, beginning as early as 1904.  Two decades later it took that bundle of enormous energy and money-raiser extraordinary, J. W. Young to get the Florida port started. IMG_0626above, from Young’s “Hollywood Reporter,” the Proposed Plan for Lake Mabel Harbor, drawn by engineer Frank Dickey, in 1926.

The drawing above shows the planned division of the port between Fort Lauderdale at the top, and Hollywood at the bottom. Hollywood seems to have the greater part of the existing Lake Mabel. Instead of $200,000 projected in 1913, the budget has grown to $6 million. This was to be divided in thirds, between the two cities, with the third put up by Young’s company. Dickey remained the chief engineer, but to oversee the project Young brought in that successful port developer, Charles Windham. Always thinking big, Young  envisioned this as “Florida’s Great World Port.”


Another interesting article from September of 1924 mentioned that Young was planning the home he would build in Hollywood. At that time he had three dwellings. In Indianapolis his family lived at 3668 Central Avenue (probably Jessie stayed there much of the time while she had three boys in school). In Miami, Young apparently owned the Granada ApartmentsIMG_0605 which he put up for sale in 1925.

from the inside cover of the Hollywood Reporter, April, 1925.

The blurb under this photo says that the apartments are “located in the historic and exclusive Fort Dallas Park and adjoining the famous Tropical Gardens of the Royal Palm Hotel,” and overlooking picturesque Biscayne Bay. But a stationary apartment wasn’t sufficient for the restless Young. By 1924 he also owned a large, odd-looking craft that was part yacht and part sea-going houseboat. Houseboat Sonora, Reporter May 1924, p. 12

This was the Sonora.  It had a crew of six, and if you can make them out, there must be a dozen people standing at the stern, so it would hold quite a party. On it Young could mosey up the Inland Waterway, today’s Intracoastal, entertaining his big investors and stockholders in grand style.


Now, back to the home Young was planning to build in Hollywood, according to his September, 1924 Reporter. This was not the one on Hollywood Boulevard (which was also being planned). This one would be situated one mile north of Johnson Street on an entire block on the Atlantic Ocean. In the center of this block was a large, fresh-water lake, which may be seen in an aerial photo in the Hollywood Historical Society. In this, the Broadwalk continues as far north as the area around today’s Sheridan Street, and just visible there is a little round, shiny eye. This must be that lake. My parents told me it was called Duck Lake.  Did Young ever build there? No, and a good thing, too. When I was a child it never ceased to enchant me to drive north on Ocean Drive, asking my parents to show me again where Duck Lake was. Because there was no lake by then. The monster hurricane storm surge of 1926 completely filled it in.


Yes, it is. I won’t discuss the ’26 blow as I’ve already done that. The next big storm to annoy Hollywood was in 1947. Actually there were two that year. The first came on September 17. It was not particularly destructive. People in Hollywood knew how to build and protect themselves from hurricanes by then. If you’re thinking of the flood of ’47 that  came in October, so I’ll discuss it next post.


The September, 1943 Hollywood Sun-Tattler is filled with news about the local war effort, from bond drives, to patriotic parades, to the Service Men’s Club, to local citizens who were in the service. The latter included former mayor Theodore Raper,Reporters, Mayors, 26 storm 035 who resigned from office on September 4, 1942 to enter the armed forces.

right, Theodore R. Raper. From the collection of the Hollywood Historical Society.

By September 1943 the townspeople were fully organized for the war effort. They headed rationing boards, Selective Service boards, bond drives. The tangible results of one bond drive took the form of a $75,000 pursuit plane, which was bought with money raised for bonds by pupils at Hollywood Central School.Aug. 20 '43 S-T p. 1

The plane was pictured in the August 20, 1943 Tattler, with a caption saying that it was named “The Hollywood Central School, Florida.”

A major bond drive was underway in September, 1943, headed by Hollywoodian S. S. Holland (not the governor), general chair of Hollywood’s Third War Loan drive, who planned a dinner at $1,000 a plate. This dinner was held at the Hollywood Cafe. John Doliana, proprietor of the restaurant, donated 50 dinners. At the time the paper came out, $14,000 had already been raised.  Other local restaurants also held dinners. According to Virginia TenEick, at war’s end the final total raised for war bonds in tiny Hollywood was an astonishing $15,000,000.

From the early days of Hollywood under J. W. Young, Hollywood regularly turned out to put on parades, and wartime was no exception.  The lineup of units in the September, 1943 bond paradeSep 10 '43 p. S-T included Hollywood police, city officials from Hollywood, Dania, Hallandale and Davie, the Army Air Force Band from Boca Raton and the Seventh Naval District Band, members of the Army, Navy, WAVEs, and civic organizations. All marching in full uniform under the scorching September sun.

Named in the paper were various local individuals who were taking part in the war effort. One was R. E. Barthelemy of 1329 Polk Street, a naturalized American who had served in the French army. Finding himself too old now to join the American armed forces, he went to London and was currently serving with General DeGaulle and the Free French there.

Etta Cappleman, president of the Hollywood American Legion Auxiliary was appointed local chair of a campaign to encourage women between the ages of 20 and 36 to join the US Marine Corps Woman’s Reserve. Also on September 3, 1943 the paper announced that Miss Helen Swann of 2300 North Ocean Drive, had entered the WAVEs and was awaiting assignment. She lived with her mother and stepfather, Mr. and Mrs. Ernest Barker. Miss Patricia Butler, daughter of Dr. and Mrs. B. F. Butler, had joined the US Army Nurses Reserve Corps, while WAC Sgt. Jeannette Amerson, “now with the anti-aircraft corps,” was home on furlough. She was the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Henry E. Dagley.


As perhaps you can tell, I am particularly interested in learning more about all the Hollywood-connected women who served in the WACs, WAVES, Marines, SPARS and WASPS, including the nursing corps in World War II. PLEASE EMAIL ME WITH ANY INFORMATION YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHARE. PHOTOS WOULD BE WONDERFUL AS WELL.  Send info to


If you are interested in reading more about any of my topics about Hollywood in the 1920s, may I remind my readers that I’ve covered most of them in greater detail, with references, in my book Joseph W.Young, Jr., and the City Beautiful. A Biography of the Founder of Hollywood, Florida. It’s available at the Hollywood Historical Society, or all the major book outlets. Recently the book received a three-page review by William G. Crawford, Jr. in The Florida Historical Quarterly, summer 2014. He describes the book as well-indexed, well-researched, richly illustrated, and “should appeal to those interested in Florida biography, early south Florida city planning, and the evolution of south Florida architecture.”




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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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