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 farmer.circle & 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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Oct.-Nov. in the 20s and 30s: Architecture, Dixie Highway, more

BUILDINGS TO SAVE:  A timely reminder about saving our Florida history was in the November 17, 2013 Miami Herald, Home & Design Section. Called “Embracing Mid-Century Style,” by Larry Barszewski it was an illustrated piece about the wonderful examples of Mid-Century Modern architecture that can be found in Fort Lauderdale. Once again, Hollywood is the neglected child, but those of us who know Hollywood are aware that Mid-Century Modern architecture abounds in our city. A great example of the swooping curved roof currently stands on the northeast corner of U.S. 1 at Young Circle.NEBA Papa John's Mi-Mo

Right, This little structure began as a NEBA shop, I’m told, and was last a Papa John’s Pizza.

Warning! This wonderful building is endangered, scheduled to be demolished.  I hope someone will take up the challenge and begin to document Hollywood’s 1950s architecture.

Why can’t builders work around existing structures? Many of us in the city tried to save the very historic 1923 Kington mansion on the Dixie Highway at Van Buren Street, built by a millionaire friend of J. W. Young’s to Kington mansion NE exposure. Oct. 1923indicate to travelers along the main route (the Dixie) that Hollywood would become a substantial city. How much more interesting “Hollywood Station” would be with this handsome historic structure incorporated in it.      Right: north and east facades of the Kington mansion, from the October 1923 Hollywood Reporter.

Dixie Highway, soon to be 100. Now to return to the month-by-month format, still catching up with October and November. Speaking of the Dixie Highway, in October, 1915, Carl Fisher (builder of the Indianapolis Speedway and founder of Miami Beach) began a month-long “dedication tour” of the brand-new Dixie, leaving from Chicago and arriving in Miami on November 5, 1915. Others who made the drive with Fisher included Judge M. J. Allison of Chattanooga, President of the Dixie Highway and his wife (the only woman on that first drive). Fisher’s group’s progress was followed avidly by newspapers along the way as they opened up the first north-south auto road in the US. So take note: in 1915 the Dixie Highway will celebrate its 100th year!

Five years later, beginning on November 1, 1920, J. W. Young sent 12 of his hand-picked employees, chiefly salesmen, to drive down the Dixie in three Ford touring cars from Indianapolis to the newly-purchased property that would shortly become Young’s city, Hollywood By-the-Sea.  One of those twelve men was my father, A. C. Tony Mickelson, who as a surveyor would lay out the city for Young.  According to Mickelson, his group arrived in Miami on November 11, 1920, stayed one night in the Tamiami Hotel then moved to a rooming house next to the White Temple church.

Interesting incidentals for November, 1920: on November 19 the Miami Herald mentions a campaign to change the name of Miami Beach to Miami By-the-Sea. And on the same date the Ft. Lauderdale Sentinel went into detail about how Thomas N. Stilwell from Anderson, Indiana, had begun to bring in dredges to “salvage useless swampland” which would become the Idlewyld and Riviera sections of Fort Lauderdale. Fisher was also doing extensive dredge-and-fill work in Miami, land-creating activities that had not escaped the attention of J. W. Young.

Who owned the land? When I give my talks about Young and Hollywood people ask who owned the land before Young?  The answer: there were various owners. Young didn’t buy all the land at once. The first square mile was purchased from Dania farmer Stephen Alsobrook. Others who sold to Young included Martin Frost of Dania (owned today’s Orangebrook area), Harry T. Tubbs, Sr. (also Dania) who farmed much of the East Marsh all the way to Lake Mabel, also John Gregory and Richard Swanson from Dania. Young bought the beach island from Olof Zetterlund of Hallandale, and other land from other Hallandale farmers.

Hollywood’s day-by-day growth is chronicled in Young’s Hollywood Reporter from 1922 to 1926, too much to list here, I’ll pick and choose.

Young’s city is incorporated. In November, 1925 Young had apparently decided that he no longer needed to be in sole charge of a fairly sizable city, population around 20,000, so he had the city incorporated.  So Hollywood is either 88 or 93 years old, depending on whether you count from incorporation in 1925 or founding in 1920. In any case, Hollywood is a city with substantial history now, more than many countries.

A city commission was created for the newly-incorporated Hollywood, and they immediately elected J. W. Young as mayor.  He in turn immediately resigned (he was beginning to focus on developing Port Everglades), and Paul R. John became Hollywood’s second mayor.

Hollywood-related factlets:  in 1926 the town of Hollywood, New Mexico was founded, named after the one in Florida. Many people assume there is only one Hollywood, and write to us for info about the movies, Rodeo Drive, movie star homes, etc. We tell them that there are some 17 Hollywoods in the US, some dating to the 19th century.

How the movie Hollywood got its name. If you want to read about how California’s Hollywood got its name, please see my biography of Joseph W. Young, Jr., page 51.  It’s an amusing story. All my own research!

Hollywood in the Hills.  On November 18, 1927 Young brought a special train down from upstate New York bringing visitors from that area to see his Florida city.

Less than a year later Young would buy 17,000 acres in the Adirondacks to create his Hollywood in the Hills in Old Forge, New York (also discussed in my biography of Young).Hollywood Hills Hotel sign and First Lake, 1935

Left:  sign for Hollywood Hills Hotel, part of Young’s Hollywood in the Hills resort in Old Forge, New York, on First Lake in the Fulton Chain.Postcard.

Moving on now to the 1930s:

One of the first items I located in the 1934 Hollywood Herald for October 5 was a listing of some local businesses including C. B. Smith, Fred Willis, Mark Tully, and B. C. Lukens, architect.Hwd Herald Oct 5, 1934, p. 4

Another is entitled “Millwork.” Just a week or so earlier I had a comment from Diane Wakelyn reminding me that her family had begun Wakelyn Millwork, originally in Dania but moved to Hollywood after 1926. Her father was William Edward (Ted) Wakelyn, Sr., and her grandfather was Walter Holford Wakelyn. So here is an early ad for you, Diane.

Next, I couldn’t resist this 1936 ad for the Norge Autobilt Washer, sold by Norfleet Plumbing Co. beginning at $59,50. Hwd. Herald Oct. 9, 1936 p. 4

This was a fairly substantial price in 1936, but Norfleet was throwing in a set of “rinse tubs” and 40 packages of Rinso (raise your hand if you remember Rinso). Note that you would really need the rinse tubs, since the washer was just that. Put in clothes, fill with water, add Rinso, wash, then run clothes through the attached wringer. THEN you will need to rinse out the Rinso, hence the extra tubs.

My grandmother had this very arrangement at her house at 2303 Polk Street, bought in the 1930s.

A long article in the Oct. 16, 1936 Hollywood Herald is a paean to the Beach Hotel, which would be opening a few weeks early, meaning that Hollywood’s employment rate would increase substantially for the next three months.

A photo of Floyd L. Wray is in the Oct. 30, 1936 Herald.  Wray was running as an independent for Port Commissioner Hwd. Herald Oct. 30, 1936 p. 7for Port District 1.

In 1927 Floyd and Jane Wray, with Frank Stirling and Clarence P. Hammerstein had begun Flamingo Groves in Davie (the Wrays and the Hammersteins, friends from Indiana, all lived in Hollywood).

By the 1930s the Wrays were pillars of the community in Hollywood, with an office on the Boulevard where they sold and shipped citrus fruits.

Hwd. Herald Nov. 13, 1936, p. 12A really exciting event must have been the arrival of the “Million-dollar Streamlined Rexall Train,” on Nov. 13, 1936. Breeding’s Drug Store had arranged to have this “wonderland of science” stop in Hollywood during its cross-country tour.

The 350-ton engine was pulling cars that measured two blocks long, carrying the exhibits, which were free and open to the public during the train’s Hollywood stop.

Hwd. Herald Nov. 8 1936 p. 10

I’m a fan of all things streamlined, but haven’t heard of this train before. It’s a beauty. If you remember it, and went on board, please let me know.

Local Florida Architecture.  Not to be outdone when considering the “modern” future, two young Hollywood architects, Bayard Lukens and Cedric Start were interviewed in a long article in the Nov. 8 1936 Herald, entitled “Florida May Evolve Native Architecture.” According to the article, the “modernistic designs are characterized by simplified lines and flat masses of surface, well-proportioned,” moving away from over-decoration, “so popular during the last generation.” Describing some of the homes the two architects were working on, one was of “Spanish design, built of stucco,” and another was “reinforced concrete block construction in the modern style.”

The Hollywood Historical Society is the fortunate recipient of a large collection of information and photos of buildings by Bayard Lukens, donated by his daughter Lillian Yancy.  We are not so well-endowed with info about Cedric Start’s buildings, or other Hollywood architects. It would be wonderful for future generations if other architects of Hollywood’s handsome homes and commercial buildings would provide at least the addresses of the buildings they designed.

Lukens called his style “Tropical Modern.”

Vera and Clarence Hammerstein House, 1520 Polk St., 1935Fulkerson house on Tyler 9 2010

Left, Lukens, Hammerstein house


Below, Lukens, Fulkerson house (rear), 1935

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Dear Readers, I’m back, after extended travels and time-off in general.  In the following post instead of working in one month I’ll be covering some of the entire experience of Hollywood, Florida during World War II.

Before I begin, NEWS UPDATE! I will be signing my book Joseph WMickelsonPCardBackFinal. Young, Jr. and the City Beautiful: A Biography of the Founder of Hollywood, Florida, at the Miami Book Fair on Saturday, November 23, 2013, from 11 to 12 noon.  Please stop by, browse the book, and say Hello!


NOVEMBER 11:  Today is Armistice Day, established to commemorate the end of World War One, the “war to end all wars.”  Clearly that didn’t happen, and we now commemorate all our veterans of all our wars.

My father, Tony Mickelson, served in the US Navy throughout the First World War. Hollywood, Florida, of course did not exist at that time. But by the late 1930s it was well-established, a quiet seaside town that was nearly empty in summers when residents went north, then springing to life and hope in the winter season when tourists and winter residents came, bringing a rush of activity, and money.

December 7, 1941 was just the beginning of the winter season. Picture the town of barely four thousand residents, with small shops lining Hollywood Boulevard from the first Circle (then Harding Circle) to City Hall Circle, and homes scattered among numerous empty lots. Joseph W. Young’s beautiful city plan was very much in evidence, with the wide Boulevard anchored at each end by a very large, handsome hotel. The Beach Hotel, on the east end, was very beautiful, with extensive gardens (see my book cover, illustrated above), the former Hollywood Hills Inn on the west end had become more pared-down as it had been the winter home of Riverside Military Academy since the early 1930s. Neither hotel was occupied for much of the year, but in that December of 1941 each would have been polished and readied for reopening in late December/early January. With the bombing of Pearl Harbor, plans began to change.

From January through May, 1942, local residents on Hollywood beach could actually observe tankers in the nearby Gulf Stream being torpedoed by enemy submarines. As I mentioned in my Guide to Historic Hollywood, my childhood recollection of seeing a small black boat washed ashore on Hollywood beach, a U-boat, was corroborated by others. We weren’t allowed near the fascinating object, which seemed empty, and it quickly disappeared, no doubt spirited away by the Coast Guard. War had reached Hollywood.

The two big hotels closed after their respective winter seasons in spring of 1942 and the town went back to dormant mode, but briefly. That June, Oscar Johnson, manager of the Hollywood Beach Hotel, and by extension the Hollywood Golf & Country Club (the two were under the same ownership), arranged through the Chamber of Commerce and the USO to make the Country Club available to servicemen.

Hollywood Golf & Country Club, built 1924, 17th and PolkLeft, Hollywood Golf & Country Club, 1924-26. Designed by Martin L. Hampton for J. W. Young. Postcard

Servicemen's Club 1943-4

Below, Hollywood Golf & Country Club as Service Men’s Club of Hollywood, 1942.

The beautiful Club built by J. W. Young in 1924 and considered a glamorous showpiece with its open air, lighted glass brick dance floor became perhaps the most elegant USO at that time.

Meanwhile the Navy had its eye on all the beachfront towns in south Florida (I can’t speak for elsewhere).

By July, 1942 Navy officers were in Hollywood arranging to take over the western hotel that was then Riverside Military Academy.  And on August 4, 1942 it was commissioned as the Naval Air Gunners School. A week later, August 10, 1942, Navy recruits began training there, followed later by Marines and WAVES.Riverside Military Academy band, 1930s. Photo by G. Romer

Left, Riverside Military Academy, designed by Rubush & Hunter, and its band, led by Rene Zaza, 1930s. Photo by G. Romer. Courtesy Hollywood Historical Society.

Naval Air Gunners at Riverside, Mar 21 44

Below, Riverside Military Academy as the Naval Air Gunners School, March 21, 1944. Here, Rear Admiral Andrew C. McFall, chief of Naval Air operational training of 7th Naval District addresses current graduates. Photo from the collection of Virginia E. TenEick. Courtesy Hollywood Historical Society.

The third circle and its hotel were well inland, so what was the attraction for the Navy? For one thing, as a military academy, it was no doubt quickly transformed for use by adult military. But also, these sailors were being trained as gunners. Immediately west of the third circle, the terminus of J. W. Young’s Hollywood, was basically empty in the 1940s. Chiefly the land was occupied only by herds of milk cows as there were numerous dairies lining today’s US 441 from Fort Lauderdale down into Miami. So the Navy pilots could fly over the area west of 441 towing targets for the gunners to shoot at, without danger to civilians. As far as I know, no cows were harmed, either, by falling shrapnel.

I grew up in the Little Ranches on Polk Street, one block north of Hollywood Boulevard. Suddenly my walk to downtown was busily populated by dozens–hundreds–of young men in white. Probably they hitched rides from Riverside, and headed for the Servicemen’s Club, giving me a “Hi, kiddo,” if they noticed a small blonde child at all. I still recall the great burst of energy that filled Hollywood when the Navy moved in.

And the Navy had only begun with Hollywood. On December 16, 1942 Young’s other landmark anchoring his Boulevard, the Beach Hotel, was commissioned as the US Naval Indoctrination and Training School. There were one thousand in the first class of officer-trainees. Two months later when that class graduated, it became a navigation school with subsequent classes of 1,500 and more.Beach Hotel entrance, 40s cars, flagpole

Hollywood Beach Hotel, west facade from the original Boulevard Bridge looking east, in the 1940s.  Courtesy Hollywood Historical Society

Access to the Naval school on Hollywood beach was much more restricted than the Gunners school, with the beach open chiefly to permanent residents (and remember, there was only the one bridge to Hollywood beach at that time).

27. Beach Hotel dining room 1926 bill

Hollywood Beach Hotel dining room, designed by Rubush & Hunter for J. W. Young 1925-26. Postcard

US Navy at Beach Hotel  Dining Rm.(O. Johnson from M.Herald 6 43Hollywood Beach Hotel dining room, June 6, 1943.  The decor was the same but the clientele was decidedly different. The caption reads: SWANK HOTEL SERVES AS MESS HALL FOR NAVAL AIR NAVIGATION CADETS.  Photo from the Miami Herald, June 6, 1943. Courtesy Hollywood Historical Society.

Postcards and other correspondence from men stationed at the Beach Hotel during WW II show that they could hardly believe how luxurious their surroundings were.  The officer candidates stationed here were less likely to wander around town, although they did have what amounted to their own elegant service club, for the Golf & Country Club had also been acquired by the Navy, closing it to all but the trainees at the Beach Hotel. There was a reason for this standoffishness, which was learned only years later. The Navy at that time had a secret weapon, called RADAR. Navigation officer trainees apparently were learning about this in several seaside hotels from Miami Beach to Palm Beach, including Hollywood’s Beach Hotel. Keeping them apart from civilians as much as possible no doubt helped maintain the secret until the war was won.

There is a great deal more to the role that little Hollywood played during World War II.

Reporters, Mayors, 26 storm 035Soon after war was declared, Hollywood’s sitting Mayor, Theodore R. Raper resigned to enter the armed forces.

Photo, right, Theodore Raper, courtesy Hollywood Historical Society

Non-combatant citizens staged highly successful war bond drives. Owners of Hollywood’s 1935 historic house, Vera and Clarence Hammerstein, were among the leaders in the war effort.

Bond drive, Hammersteins, Johnnie's joint US Navy & TenEick pht

Vera and Clarence Hammerstein, far left, at a steak dinner given to buyers of $100 bonds by Mr. and Mrs. John Poulos at their restaurant, Johnny’s Hi-Class Joint. Joining them are, l. to r.: Mrs. Maxwell Leslie, Lt. Lamuel Campbell, Jr., Mrs. Campbell, Comdr. Leslie (drive chairman), Lt. Garfield King and Paul Robinson (back to camera). At far right, Mrs. O. A. Bingham.  From the collection of Virginal E. TenEick. Courtesy Hollywood HistoricalSociety.     

Members of the armed forces staged numerous parades along Hollywood Boulevard.WW II troops march on Blvd. Navy TenEick photo                        

Here are naval officers on the Boulevard at 19th Avenue.   From the collection of Virginia E. TenEick. Courtesy Hollywood Historical Society.

Highly recommended reading is Virginia TenEick’s History of Hollywood and her chapters on Hollywood during WW II. This book is available at the Hollywood Historical Society for $10. Call 954-923-5590 and leave a message asking for particulars.

If you or a relative were actually stationed in Hollywood during WW II at either the Gunners School or the Naval Indoctrination and Training School, PLEASE send me an email and I will help collect this information for the Historical Society. Contact  joanmickelsonphd@yahoo.com

And I hope you will think about buying my book, perhaps as a holiday gift this season. It’s available at the Hollywood Historical Society and also through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or your local independent bookstore could order it for you.  Details:

Joan Mickelson Joseph W. Young and the City Beautiful. A Biography of the Founder of Hollywood, Florida.  ISBN 978-0-7864-6880-5. McFarland & Company, Inc. Publishers, 2013.

Thank you.

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September in the 30s: Golf and Schools

Young cover


in my 2013 biography that covers his entire life from birth in the Seattle area in 1882, to his land developments in Long Beach, CA, Globe Arizona, Indianapolis, Hollywood Florida, Queens NY, Old Forge in the Adirondacks, and Vineland NJ, and including the creation of Port Everglades from Lake Mabel, to his death in Hollywood in 1934 at the age of 51.

In bookstores, Amazon, and the Hollywood Historical Society.

To start September with golf, actually golf courses, a brief background.  When J. W. Young founded Hollywood he put in a golf course almost immediately so that prospective property buyers would have something to do in his new, empty city. This was the Hollywood Golf & Country Club, a short walk from his Parkview Hotel that overlooked the Circle (now Young Circle), with a glorious country club at the corner of Polk Street & 17th Avenue (now demolished).  Incidentally, after several years of diligentresearch, I have found no record that the course was designed by Donald Ross. Instead, it is stated in several places that the first nine holes were the work of J. W.’s friend from Indianapolis, Ralph Young (no relation), who had overseen the design of the golf course in Indianapolis where he and J. W. played, when Willie Park, Jr. drew up the plans. J. W. brought Ralph down to improve his course because “the bunkers had been installed backwards,” according to Lena Young, Ralph’s wife.

J. W. Young went on to complete that course, and to plan another that was adjacent to his Hollywood Hills Hotel, built in 1925 on the third circle (now Presidential Circle).  Moving on to this month’s blog, when the Hollywood Beach Hotel was sold to Albert and Edwin Rosenthal and E. I. Kaufman in the early Thirties, the Golf & Country Club was included in the package, so that golf course became private.  At that time Hollywood really needed to attract visitors, so a group of local businessmen got together with the city to create a municipal golf course.  In the September 21, 1934 Hollywood Herald this is front page news. Under Mayor William Adams and Vice Mayor B. L. David, city attorney C. H. Landefeld was authorized to prepare the necessary papers incorporating the new golf commission as “a corporation operating not for profit.”

Under the banner “Reclaiming old course in Hollywood Hills,” the article describes the work begun on what would become Orangebrook Golf Course. 

3rd circle, just laid out.In this 1924 aerial photo of the third circle, we are looking to the east. The circle and one of the rainbow roads have just been put in, as well as Hollywood Boulevard that runs east (bottom to top) to City Hall Circle, which is simply a white dot. The dark area to the right, south, of the Boulevard is where the golf course would be laid out.

The September, 1934 article indicates that during the clearing of that land those involved with the new course were elated to find that $12,000 worth of grading done in 1926 could be recovered. A. J. Ewing, veteran golf course architect, who was in charge of the project, said that the jungle of wild growth had been feeding on the luxurious soil so carefully graded in 1926. Ewing crawled through the tangled growth on his hands and knees and found the greens locations as built by the Young companies. Fully 80% of them would be salvaged, he said, adding that holes 1, 2, 3, 4, 7, and 9 were ready for final sodding and greens and fairways were cleared. He expected that holes 8, 5, and 6 would be completed in the next three weeks.

Riverside Circle annotatedThis undated aerial over the third circle has us looking south. Hollywood Boulevard crosses the photo horizontally. The notation at the top left reads: Orange Brook Golf Course (top right reads Meekins Rock Pit). The course appears to be cleared and usable.

Work on Orange Brook or Orangebrook must have taken longer than expected, for it was two years later, September 18, 1936 when the Herald announced that the second nine holes of the golf course would be completed by November 1, 1936. They were quoting Floyd L. Wray who chaired the golf commission. Wray of course was founder of Flamingo Groves, together with Clarence Hammerstein. Today it’s Flamingo Gardens.

The city of Hollywood had a very small population and no money in the 1930s, during the Depression. They hoped that a municipal golf course at Orangebrook would attract more visitors. Interestingly, they had assistance from the New Deal, which provided 30 men working through FERA, “on the government payroll at no expense to the city.”  FERA was the Federal Emergency Relief Administration, created by President Herbert Hoover in 1932. It was replaced by the better-known WPA (Works Project Administration) in 1935, and Hollywood’s municipal golf course was completed by WPA workers. In 1936 WPA workers also built a “comfort station” on Harding Circle (Young Circle), one in Block 5 on Hollywood beach, and a comfort station and dressing room at Dowdy Field (which is on the Dixie Highway at Johnson Street).  According to the same article, the WPA would soon begin improving the field now know as Jefferson Park, between Madison and Jefferson Streets, and 15th and 16th Avenue. Children from Hollywood Central School would use that field for team sports.


That was a nice segue to Schools.  In 1924 Joseph Young donated the land and built the beautiful Central School (Hollywood Central) between Madison and Monroe Streets on 18th Avenue, now U.S. 1.

Central, west side US 1 Central from NE HHSThis is the west side, facing U.S. 1

Elementary classes were on the first floor, and junior high on the second.

Students in the 7th to 9th grade changed classes, while the younger kids stayed in one room.

And this is the east side. The extension to the left was an open pavilion with a nice terrazzo floor. Good place to play Puss in the Corner when it rained.

All Hollywood’s children, that is, all the white children, went here from first to 9th grades (some went to private or parochial schools, as well).

The September 15, 1934 Herald announced that classes for the junior high had begun, while the primary grades would begin October first. (Considering that August into September is our least comfortable weather, hot, humid, rainy, with chance of hurricanes, this later school opening seems eminently sensible.)  Apparently the school charged tuition, $5/month, or $25 for the year if paid in advance for junior high, and $4/month or $20 all year for elementary. The school had music classes, organized games at recess as well as team sports for junior high, a nurse on the premises, a cafeteria, and an auditorium.

Central School, Mrs. Warner's 7th Grade, 1947

This is my 7th or 8th grade class in the auditorium. At the far right is Susie Sloan, and I am in front of her with my head down. Next to me is my friend from up north, Joan Bronson. Anne Hickox is at the piano.

Tuition may have been for the visitors, for in a September 18, 1936 article it said that tuition was required for children whose parents weren’t “legal citizens of Florida”–and an auto tag wasn’t enough evidence of legal citizenship. When I was at Central our classes increased in the middle of each year by about a third, children whose parents apparently had the leisure to spend the winter in Florida.  I always wondered what their parents did. Some children came several years in a row and became friends whose return we looked forward to.

scan0003Mrs. Warner’s 7th or 8th grade class. The two girls in white blouses with backs to the camera are the two Joans, Bronson and Mickelson, and on my right is Anne Hickox. We never held classes outside like this. The Sun-Tattler must have been doing a story about the school.

Riverside Military Academy. Hollywood had another school that was seasonal like our tuition-paying classmates. This was Riverside Military Academy based in Gainesville, Georgia. In 1931 Riverside bought J. W. Young’s Hollywood Hills Hotel, built in 1925, and spent the winters in Hollywood, there on the third circle (now Presidential Circle).  The Herald announced on September 29, 1934 that it was a “banner year at Riverside,” as classes began. With 450 cadets from ten states and foreign countries, it was then the nation’s largest military prep school. Col. Sandy Beaver was president.

Riverside parade, cars bill

Here is the former Hollywood Hills Hotel now Riverside Military Academy with cadets and their band performing drills for the 1930s audience.

The city in general eagerly awaited the return of Riverside with its large faculty and student body coming into town to shop and support local merchants.

Possibly of even more financial importance to Hollywood in the 1930s was the Beach Hotel, which hired hundreds of locals during its brief open months. Long-time manager of the hotel was Oscar Johnson, who also managed the Golf & Country Club. On September 23, 1936 Johnson announced celebrities for the upcoming season, Meyer Davis orchestra, Arthur Murray who would conduct a dancing school (ballroom dancing), and as resident golf pro, Johnny Farrell, former amateur golf champion. Johnson was further quoted in a long piece in the Herald as he described how the Beach Hotel would be cooperating with the city to publicize the city, the beach, and the hotel. This must have been a great boon to the city.

That same month September, 1936, the Herald announced that both the chief of police and chief of the fire department would have their salaries raised to $135/month. The city clerk received the same salary.  According to Virginia TenEick’s History of Hollywood, James R. Capehart was police chief then, and A. J. Wilkie was fire chief.

In other interesting notes for September, 1936, the local A&P grocery was picketed for a few days for not closing on Thursdays like the other local merchants. Shortly after, the A&P agreed to close on Thursdays (in Hollywood) as well.

That month, Janet Howard, daughter of Mr. & Mrs. Vincent Howard, went off to school at the Ruston Academy in Havana.

Finally, under the “Department of Utter Silliness,” a syndicated fashion column in the Herald announced that “Furred Suits were a ‘Must’ for College,” and went to great lengths describing said suits.  All you women out there who wore suits around your college, never mind “furred” suits, raise your hand!  And this during the Depression!

college furs

Really, now, do these look like college girls?

What were they thinking?


Sorry that September’s piece is so late. I’ve been giving illustrated talks related to my biography of J. W. Young. I’d be happy to speak to your group, too!


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