Greetings from Hollywood in Florida 1930s Schaaf

Greetings from Hollywood in Florida 1930s. Postcard

Beginning in 1935, August 4th has been a date celebrated in Hollywood as Founder’s Day to honor the birthday of Joseph Wesley Young, Jr., founder of the city. As I have written about Founder’s Day before, this time I’ll narrow down to some of the beginnings of both Young and his city.  But before that, let me also mention Young’s beloved wife Jessie Fay Cook, who was born in July, 1877 in Wisconsin.

Joseph Young was probably born in Seattle, in 1882. As I discuss in my biography of Young,* there is no written document of his birth. Probably it was noted in a family Bible, but as Joseph was one of seven children, any such family document may have gone with one of his sisters. There is no state record for the simple reason that in 1882, Washington was not yet a state. The Territory of Washington was an incorporated territory of the U.S. from 1853 to November, 1889, when the State of Washington was admitted to the union. Joseph Young, Jr.’s presence first appears on an official record in the 1892 census, at age ten.

Among major events in Washington Territory around the time of Young’s birth was the arrival of the Northern Pacific railroad at Puget Sound in May, 1888, linking the Seattle area to the eastern U.S. Later, as a developer, Young made certain that all his properties had easy access to good transportation.

And one more event during Young’s youth in the Pacific Northwest, was the Klondike Gold Rush. In 1898 apparently Joseph Sr. and 16-year-old Jr. did give gold prospecting a try. They didn’t strike gold, and by 1900 Jr. had moved on to California.


Young Comes to Florida. Moving forward now to the Florida portion of J. W. Young’s life. He first came to Florida in January, 1920, with his wife Jessie and business partner Ed Whitson. Young was following the lead of millionaire entrepreneur showman, Carl Fisher, and others who were bitten by the urge to create beautiful tropical paradises. Looking around the Miami area, Young’s first step toward acquiring his dream site was to buy five commercial lots in Allapattah solely to develop then sell them, raising the cash he would use to buy his perfect site. In the summer of 1920 he returned alone and found his site, between two little farm towns in Broward County, Dania and Hallandale.

In 1920 Joseph W. Young bought a square mile of undeveloped Florida land, high, dry ground that was chiefly covered with palmetto and jack pines. Snapshot from the Estate of Tony Mickelson

In 1920 Joseph W. Young bought a square mile of undeveloped Florida land, high, dry ground that was chiefly covered with palmetto and jack pines.
Snapshot from the Estate of Tony Mickelson

Young envisions a city. Now I will try to show how visionary Young was in creating his beautiful city.  After seeing the undeveloped bit of scrub land, Young hurried back to his Indianapolis office with sketches he had made for the city plan.

Map detail, 1923 showing Broad Walk

Map detail, 1923 showing Broad Walk

At right is the engineer’s drawing of the beginning of Hollywood’s city plan, made from Young’s sketches, according to several who were close to Young in 1920. Quoting them in her book, Virginia TenEick says Young described his ideas: a wide boulevard extending from the ocean to the edge of the Everglades. Centrally located will be the business section. On each side of the [eventual] boulevard and opening into the canal [then the Inland Waterway] we will create two lakes, each with a turning basin for yachts. Material dredged from the lakes will be the fill to elevate the lowland then occupied by mangrove. We must plan large park areas and locations for schools and churches. A golf course, a large clubhouse or community building. This will be a city for everyone, from the opulent at the top of the industrial and society ladders to the most humble of working people.

JWY 1920 3027 Washington Blvd. Indianap.

3027 Washington Blvd. Indianapolis

Young’s own background would put him in the “working people” category.

He and Jessie moved every year from 1919 to 1925. This was their home in Indianapolis in 1920, a nice middle-class home for a family with three school boys. J. W. Young would soon thereafter become a millionaire.

To grasp the genius of Young’s vision, go back to the 1923 plat, above. The horizontal dark line near the center represents the two north-south arteries through the property, the FEC railroad and the Dixie Highway. (U.S. 1 was not in Hollywood before 1930.)  Find the golf course, the open rectangle near center right. From its bottom edge (today’s 14th Avenue) up to the top of the plat was dry ground. From today’s 14th to 11th Avenues was tidal. The rest was simply watery marsh, to the Inland Waterway, and across to the totally empty beach barrier island.

Note that Young said he would “create the two lakes.” He meant just that. No lakes existed when he bought the land. Here are some photos to try to suggest the effort it took–and the vision–for Young to create his city from the property he had acquired.

First, here is where Young had his surveyors begin to lay out his city. This is my father, Tony Mickelson, head of Young’s surveying party, standing in the underbrush where Young planned that his wide boulevard would cross the Dixie Highway and the FEC railroad tracks. Mickelson looks west (where the tracks are), with his back to the east. This photo, taken in May, 1921, was published in the August, 1922 Hollywood Reporter.

Hollywood begins. Tony Mickelson at the site of the Boulevard overlooking the Dixie Highway. Published May, 1921. Collection Joan Mickelson

Hollywood begins. Tony Mickelson at the site of the Boulevard overlooking the Dixie Highway. Published May, 1921. Collection Joan Mickelson

Below is the same site just three years later, looking to the east from the railroad tracks down the Boulevard now lined with stores.

scan 101.tif

At left, downtown Hollywood in 1925.

Now, look again at the plat for early Hollywood (drawn by engineer Frank Dickey)

My father, who knew every inch of the land in early Hollywood, described it in a later interview:  The elevation of the present Federal Highway (18th Avenue) was 10 feet, he said, with a gradual eastward slope to 14th Avenue. It was tidal from there [to 11th] and the rest was pretty much under water. The survey had to be accurate to insure proper drainage.  The highest point was at the railroad tracks, 12 feet above sea level.

Disk 6 county 2 033This aerial from April 1924 by Clyde Elliott shows what Young’s engineers were working with. Hollywood Boulevard begins just about center left and goes diagonally to the top. The dark horizontal line is the railroad and Dixie Highway. At upper right, the glare is from the watery East Marsh where the engineers were creating North and South Lake. The last road along the upper left is Johnson Street.

When Young bought the property, the future Johnson Street was a dirt track used by Dania farmers in their tomato fields. Young needed to create a road on this track to the canal (Inland Waterway) and cross from there to the beach island.

Dredge building up Johnson Street. 1922. ACM estate

Dredge building up Johnson Street. 1922. ACM estate

So by digging a channel alongside the track, his men were able to float a dredge along it, digging up rock to build up the roadbed for Johnson Street. I don’t know who the man is, standing on the dredge.

Central section, 4 24  Here is another of Clyde Elliott’s aerial views from April, 1924. This looks east from directly over Hollywood Boulevard. Along the bottom run the Dixie Highway and FEC tracks. Circle Park (today’s Young Circle) is at the center, and the still-draining Lakes section is along the top. Harrison and Tyler Streets, nearly as wide as the Boulevard, have been rock-surfaced, as have some other streets, and buildings appear.

West of the Dixie Highway. In August of 1922 my father, Tony Mickelson, who knew where the best ground was, purchased two lots in the newly-formed Little Ranches, at what would be 2301 Polk Street. I believe he said that land there is 14 feet above sea level. As each lot was a half-acre, that gave him a full acre, and that’s where I grew up,100_3452

running free over the sandspurs, also periwinkles, lantana, and other flowers that grew wild in the empty lots and sheltered little rabbits and mice, and the occasional gopher tortoise.

This image is a continuation of the above view, showing the west side of the Dixie Highway, the area Young called the Little Ranches. The Boulevard is the wide white strip at left, and the Australian pines run along the FEC tracks.  (They were apparently planted in 1915 by the Miami Woman’s Club.)

My father’s notes continue:   From the FEC tracks westward to 28th Avenue were the Little Ranches. Then from 28th Avenue to the

3rd circle, just laid out.

3rd circle, just laid out. April, 1924 Clyde Elliott

Seaboard tracks [now Tri-rail and Amtrak]  and beyond was all swamp, called the West Marsh. In the photo, left, note that the streets all end at the same place, 28th Avenue, where the marsh began. The Seaboard railroad wasn’t put in until 1926. Mickelson continued: the area was sometimes dry enough to grow tomatoes. From the present Orange Brook Golf Course north to the present Dania Cutoff Canal [C-10] was all swampy. So, to build a golf course [which later became Orange  Brook [the dark patch at center right] a canal was dug, at Young’s expense, from

C-10 Canal

C-10 Canal

there to the Cutoff Canal.Source of C-10 at OB Golf 2004

Here is the C-10 Canal today, taken from the Johnson Street bridge crossing.

Below is its source in the Orange Brook Golf Course, where a fresh-water spring rises above ground. It first created the West Marsh, and today it’s the source for the C-10 canal.

More about the Little Ranches area.

Riley Walter, another early pioneer who bought property in the Little Ranches, in a later interview described that part of Hollywood around 1922. He said that pineapples were grown in today’s City Hall Circle and surrounding area. Turpentine mangoes grew in the Polk-Taylor area, around 23rd Avenue.  The site of the Orange Brook Golf Course was an abandoned farm, with an old barn still there in the early 1920s. And at 24th Avenue and Johnson Street, south side,there was a frame house where Young Company black laborers lived in 1922-23.

Young Landscapes His City to the East. Hollywood west of the Dixie Highway was allowed to grow more or less as it pleased after some palmetto was cleared, but east of the Dixie Young had the land cleared right down to the dirt, so that he could landscape it. He hired a professional horticulturalist, Charles Olson, from Rochester, New York, to grow and design beautiful plantings.

greenhouseHere is the slat house, or greenhouse, where Olson planted seedlings and cuttings, of coconut and royal palms, pithecolobium and eucalyptus trees, hibiscus, pandanus, ixora, poinsettias, oleanders, bougainvillea, crotons, and numerous other plants, up to 100 varieties.

Young had Olson design plantings for the Circle, Golf Course, and along the sidewalks in the Central (Parkside) and Lakes Sections. Another reason for Hollywood’s lush garden look today.

More about August activities. On the beach, in the summer of 1923, Young began to extend his Broadwalk south from Johnson Street down to Washington Street. When the Broadwalk was begun, it ran north from Johnson to about today’s Sheridan Street, according to aerial views of the beach.

Tent City begins. Also in August, 1923, Young began planning Tent City, or Beach City, a “resort under canvas” to accommodate the huge throngs flocking to Hollywood, who wanted to stay on the beach before the Beach Hotel was built. IMG_0768

Young got the idea from similar tent colonies in Catalina, CA. They weren’t actually tents, but frame cabins with floors and canvas roofs, with electricity, running water, and maid service.  They varied from two to four rooms, over 100 cabins by 1925. In this view, taken from the east by Bobby Yale, South Lake can be seen in the distance (center right).

Disk 5 county one 035

The entire “city” was laid out in rows like streets. As the brochure, left, indicates, visitors were provided with a cafeteria (bottom right) and a lounge and library (bottom left).

Needless to say, Beach City did not survive the 1926 storm surge.

On August 3, 1923, President Warren Harding died during a visit to Seattle, and Calvin Coolidge became president.Reporter, Sept. 1923 p. 15

This was of special interest to Hollywood because only that previous March the president came for golf and lunch at the Hollywood/Park View Hotel, where he was apparently greeted by Young’s entire sales force. A tall man, here he is at the center of the photo. Upon his death, Young’s company changed the name of Circle Park to Harding Circle.           

FEC Station under construction, Dec. 1923

FEC Station under construction, Dec. 1923

On August 20, 1924 a train on the Florida East Coast line made its first passenger stop in Hollywood, after Young had a beautiful and expansive station built to receive passengers.

Once completed, this Mission Revival style building was considered the most beautiful railway station along Florida’s east coast.

A Visitor Describes One of Young’s Sales Methods, Excursions.

In August, 1925 a W. A. Smith of Fort Lauderdale was toured around Hollywood then wrote about it. Like many others Smith was impressed by “this mammoth development,” and the magnitude of one of Florida’s largest real estate projects. He noted that every day some 350 people were brought to Florida on Hollywood excursions, coming by boat from New York and by special trains from other sections of the country. In Hollywood, he said, they were selling not only property but Florida good will.

Feb. 1924, Reporter. Jacksonville & White bus. p. 18

Feb. 1924, Reporter. Jacksonville & White bus. p. 18

From Jacksonville, Smith went on, special buses brought people down via the Dixie Highway.  Photo at right, from Young’s Hollywood Reporter, shows passengers boarding one of Young’s 70 White buses in Jacksonville, under a sign that reads “Hollywood.”

Smith continued that once there passengers from the north were put up at the Great Southern Hotel, the Park View Hotel, and two hotels in Miami (Young couldn’t build hotels fast enough for all the visitors).Disk 5 county one 007

Here is the Park View Hotel with several tour buses lined up in front of it. It was just a short walk across Circle Park to the Great Southern Hotel.

Some were brought from Miami Beach by boat up the Inland Waterway, to be met by Canal, sightseers from Miami on Southland, May 24, 31 billsalesmen in plus-fours.

Incidentally, this is one of my favorite photos, showing well-dressed tourists arriving in what appears to be an area of near-desolation, where salesmen hope they will buy property. Of course the beach was to the left, and the growing city down the Boulevard to the left, and apparently many such visitors did make purchases.

houses under construction. Tony's picFor what they might have seen would be street scenes such as this, around Monroe Street and 16th Avenue, with rows of well-designed houses on rock-covered streets with sidewalks, and little palm trees planted in the verge.

Landmark Woman’s Club. Finally, one more August event, and a landmark today. In August, 1927 the Hollywood Woman’s Club opened its clubhouse, built on land donated by J. W. Young.

Woman's Club HHS using grey scale

Woman’s Club 1927

Club President at the time of dedication was Mrs. Oliver (Mae) Behymer. Designed by architect Frederic A. Eskridge, the clubhouse is now on the National Register of Historic Places.


Hollywood Is a “Paradise Planned.” My title this month comes from the grand thousand-page tome by Robert A. M. Stern, David Fishman, and Jacob Tilove, Paradise Planned. The Garden Suburb and the Modern City.  To my great pleasure, Hollywood is included among beautiful cities from around the world, with a reproduction of Young’s elegant city plan, several photos, and a half-page of text.


Unless otherwise identified, all images are courtesy of the Hollywood Historical Society. If you borrow these images for your own use, please credit the Hollywood Historical Society–and any other credits seen below the image.  Thank you.

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U.S. Navy WAVES in Hollywood in World War II



Waves at Beach Hotel:1943

 Who are these women?

Dear loyal blog followers,

Sorry to have abandoned you for so long. I’ve been traveling, and working on up to three books, leaving little time for research and writing this blog.

One of the topics I’ve been researching is about the WAVES in Hollywood in World War II. This was the Woman’s Navy Reserve, which existed from 1942 to 1946. During that time, not only did young women FROM Hollywood join the WAVES, there were also WAVES stationed in Hollywood, together with the much greater number of Navy men that many of us remembered.

Picture Navy women stationed in the Hollywood Beach Hotel in training as air navigation instructors (together with male ensigns), taking old school buses to Opa Locka air field for their flight training.

Picture Navy women stationed out west at the Riverside Military Academy campus (the third circle), already trained to use weapons from handguns to machine guns, in turn training the young sailors who would be Naval air gunners.

These are my topics.

If you live near Hollywood, come hear me speak about these Navy women on Saturday, December 3, 2016.  In this PowerPoint talk I’ll tell what I have learned so far about Hollywood’s connection to the Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service in the U.S. Navy.

It surprised even the admirals that women fit into the Navy so quickly. Quoting from the news of Aug. 6 1943, what was originally planned to be mostly an office force expanded into gunnery and blind flying instruction, aerology, aviation ground crew work, and navigation, as well as communications.

My talk is the 4th in the Hollywood Historical Society’s 2016 Lecture Series, held at the meeting room of the Broward County Library, 2600 Hollywood Boulevard, City Hall Circle, beginning at 1:00 p.m.  All the talks are free, and refreshments are served.

So remember:

Dec. 3, 2016, 1:00 p.m., Broward County Library, Hollywood, City Hall Circle

To hear Joan Mickelson speak on

U.S. Navy WAVES in Hollywood during World War II




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In the last post I wrote about all the various travel routes through the land that is now Hollywood, Florida. So now I’ll show you the various VEHICLES other than feet that traveled these routes.

THE HORSE.  In the 19th century the soldiers on the military trails between Fort Lauderdale and Fort Dallas in Miami, rode horses. And coaches on the Bay Biscayne Stage Coach Line were, of course, pulled by horses.  Another pair returning

But, please note: THIS IS THE LAST YOU WILL HEAR ABOUT HORSES USED IN HOLLYWOOD. In fact, they were NOT used in actual Hollywood, as you will see.

  THE TRAIN. The first motorized transport to pass through future Hollywood was the train. By the turn of the 20th century, Henry Flagler had run his Florida East Coast Rail Way tracks through Broward County and down to Miami. This almost immediately put the horse as transportation out of business.    Red Cross train Sep 1926

In fact, it seems that FEC trains actually stopped in Hollywood before J. W. Young bought the land, for those early trains were pulled by steam engines, which of course required water to produce the steam. So the Flagler company installed a water pump at about future McKinley Street and 21st Avenue, which was operated by Walter Altman. What I recall of this contraption from my childhood was a structure with an arm that swung out over the engine, presumably with a hose to fill a tank.

The news photo, above, is the Red Cross train heading to Miami following the 1926 hurricane. It’s the best example of a 1920s pufferbelly steam train that I could find.

Below, flyer from the FEC showing a 19th century train and a 30s Streamliner.             

Folder The Story of a Pioneer  HHS

Folder The Story of a Pioneer HHS

.  After Young built Hollywood’s beautiful station in 1924, passenger trains were the preferred long-distance vehicle in Hollywood.

THE TRUCK.   Young himself took the FEC to Miami at first, then drove to Hollywood on the new Dixie Highway. But before he could drive around his planned city, he had to build the streets, so he invested in a fleet of small, nimble trucks.truck, c. 1922 At first these carried workers who cleared the land, then came the surveyors to lay out the streets in the underbrush, then all the workers in general.

Hollywood Land & Water Company’s first building, just across the FEC tracks from the busy Dixie Highway, was a garage for servicing the truck fleet. Or as I. L. Sherron, who worked there, told it in an August 1976 oral history transcript in the Hollywood Historical Society], he was brought to the start-up city “to keep the trucks rolling.” When he came up from Miami, “the only place you could go was across the railroad crossing on the old Dixie Highway, and there was a building that had about forty Model-T Ford trucks hauling rock and at times dumping rock from a wooden handmade body.”   Garage with trucks

Trucks at Kington Building, Reporter May 1924, p. 18

Trucks at Kington Building, Reporter May 1924

(Above left, trucks “bought from Sawyer Motor Company,” lined up on Hollywood’s bare boulevard in front of the new Kington building, erected 1923 by W. Ward Kington (now the Broward Building). At right, above, trucks with dressed-up drivers pose in front of the garage at 21st and Hollywood Boulevard, the city’s first permanent building, built 1922. These sites are Nos. 30 and 34 in the 2015 HOLLYWOOD HISTORICAL SOCIETY’S HISTORICAL DOWNTOWN WALKING TOUR.)

According to William Osment, in an interview with Don Cuddy in August, 1976, the trucks were started by means of hand-cranking. To quote Osment:

“I was a mechanic in the garage. My first job in the morning was to see that all the trucks were out on the road. In those days you had to crank the Model T Ford by hand. We had more than a dozen men with broken arms hanging around there. We used to push one truck up against the other in the morning to get them all started. We would get them all gassed up. We started them by pushing them rather than using the crank. On cool mornings they are hard to start.” [from an oral history transcript in the Hollywood Historical Society]JWY 2nd garage, Yale at HHS

While Sherron was working in the first garage, he said there were some 40 trucks; two years later when Osment worked on the trucks, he said there were one hundred.   By then Young had moved the garage across the Dixie to an open-air shed.

By 1925 trucks were everywhere in Hollywood, particularly delivery trucks, for ice, milk, luggage from the train, etc.

Hollywood Transport Co.   Baggage Express

Above, sign on truck reads “Hollywood Transport Co. Baggage Express”

Beach City by Yale       At left, truck delivering supplies like ice, milk, food, to the cafe at Tent City. Yale Studio photo, about 1926.

70 buses and 100 trucks

Panoramic photos posed to advertise Young’s Hollywood Land & Water Company. The building in both is the Hollywood/Park View Hotel, built 1922 just to the east of the Circle. Top row is “A part of the Hollywood White bus fleet,” said to number over 70 in all. Bottom row is “A portion of the Hollywood street construction fleet.”

BUSESIn those early years of Hollywood’s development, buses were key as they could carry the most people, and unlike trains, could move over the most basic of roads.  Some buses commuted to Miami and back. These were used in particular by workers in the new city before there was enough housing. 28Mickelson-001

  (At left, tour buses on Hollywood Blvd., c. 1923)

Kelly bus and White bus at Park View Hotel. Reporter April 1924 p. 14

Kelly bus and White bus at Park View Hotel. Reporter April 1924 p. 14

But perhaps of greater impact were the tour buses owned by the Hollywood Land & Water Company. Young began with Green company buses, the dark ones in the photos, which brought visitors (read: sales prospects) up from Miami. By 1924 Young had invested in top of the line White company buses, with leather seats (on the right in photo above.). With these he brought tourists from all over the eastern US.  Young’s approach to selling his city was to take passengers around the developments in Miami and Miami Beach (and Miami Springs, Miami Shores, Opa-Locka, and so on), then bring them to Hollywood.

AUTOMOBILES.  Young built his city with the automobile in mind. Hollywood Boulevard was created to provide a pleasant drive through the city, around ornamental circles, reaching a beautiful sight at either end, an expansive, well-designed and well-lit hotel. Homes could be provided with garages and porte cocheres (or car ports). Young, of course, could not foresee that personal autos would grow to be almost the size of his buses. car in porte cochere, Dixie and Van Buren

at right, the Ward and Minnie Kington house was situated right on the Dixie Highway at Van Buren Street. (Street, lower left, runs into the Highway along the bottom of the photo.)  The house has a handsome porte cochere, shown here with auto inside, and behind the house a detached garage, with living quarters above for perhaps the chauffeur. Home built in 1923; demolished to make way for “Hollywood Station.” Photo courtesy Hollywood Historical Society.

Some of the brands of autos that rolled through Hollywood in the mid-1920s were: Cadillac, Chevrolet, Dodge, Ford, Hupmobile, Jordan, Lincoln, Pierce Arrow, Rolls-Royce, Stearns-Knight touring car, and Stanley Steamer. By 1925 Hollywood was jammed with autos. Below are samples:

At left, Hollywood Boulevard, 1924. At right, Harrison Street, 1922.kington apts1st sales pavilion Harrison St.

And by 1924 there was at least one thriving car dealership, Sawyer Motor Company, which sold Fords and Lincolns from an expansive lot and garage at the northeast corner of 18th Avenue and the Circle.

New Fords and Kriekhaus building. Reporter July 1924 p. 20Lincoln at Sawyer Motors. Reporter April 1925 p. 1

Above, Sawyer Motor Company receives new shipment of Fords, July 1924. In background, Kriekhaus Building.

At right, ad in the April 1925 Hollywood Reporter for the new Lincoln

DREDGES AND BARGES. Since a good part of the development of Hollywood involved water, dredges were to the lakes—and later to the port—as trucks were to the land. Young owned maybe a dozen of these expensive machines and even devoted a page in his sales books to dredges. dredges in Hollywood sales book.jpg

Barges made it easier to move heavy materials such as rock, particularly rock dug out of the lake bottoms and later used by enterprising builders to create coral-rock houses. Once the shape of a lake had been created, then rock was laid in to create seawalls.

barge carrying rock for Port ACM  Barge #1at 1025 Tyler St., Skogland's, VET 284


The barge that served as the bridge crossing at Johnson Street from the mainland to the beach island, was torn from its moorings by the 10-foot deep tidal surge of the 1926 hurricane and carried as far inland as 16th Avenue between the Boulevard and Tyler Street.

BOATS. Boats naturally played a good part in Hollywood transportation. Naturally because Hollywood fronted both the Inland Waterway and the Atlantic Ocean, and also because Joseph W. Young loved boats. In the beginning, when there were no residential structures in his city, Young solved this problem by means of an enormous houseboat.

Young's houseboat, May 24.jpgWith this he could move back and forth from Miami (where sales were made) along the Inland Waterway to oversee the work in Hollywood. Crew on this floating apartment included a cook as Young entertained sales prospects on board—there are at least 10 people visible in the photo, and all those portholes surely indicate some cabins.

This photo of Young’s boatyard in the Miami River shows both barges (built there) and a fancy tour boat. boat works

Here is that boat, the “Southland,” at the beginning of its trip, at a dock Young owned in Miami beach, Canal tour boat Southlandand here is the “Southland” arriving in Hollywood By-the-Sea, the City Beautiful, greeted by salesmen in their plus-fours.May 1924  Young eventually built his yacht, the “Jessie Faye,” but that was more recreation than transportation.

Others sailed by on the Atlantic, or raced state-of-the-art speedboats on the Inland Waterway,  EJ 1 Beach.tifGar Wood-type boats on canal Yale HHSor simply got to work by rowboat.

Taking the ferry to work, Port Everglades. HHS

Taking the ferry to work, Port Everglades. HHS


OTHER VEHICLES.  One of these was the Tally-ho bus, part of Young’s advertising, serving a useful purpose and at the same time entertaining his visitors. William Osment, quoted earlier, was one of the drivers. He said he wore “red britches” and had a long horn Talley-hothat would go “da dee da dee.” This was an English hunting horn, hence the name “Tally-ho.” The bus (for that’s what it was) would go down and bring the people from the Beach Hotel down the Boulevard and “turn them loose,” then go to the golf course and leave the rest of them over there.

Finally I’ll mention motorcycles and bicycles.

And of course, Hollywood’s own FIRE TRUCKS. Young invested in fire-fighting equipment and built a fire station early on, before the city was incorporated. Clarence Moody organized the fire department for Young, about 1923. Then to his chagrin, the first fire they had to deal with was a grass fire set by his own (very young) son. One of Hollywood’s original fire trucks still belongs to the city Fire Department, and is carefully preserved in one of the fire stations.

Hollywood’s first fire station, below, built by J. W. Young in 1923, was at the corner of Polk Street and 19th Avenue. Photo by Higby, from the collection of the Hollywood Historical Society.HwoodFireStation1925-BCHC-JosephMackayCollection


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The land before 1920. Today I will go backwards. I’ve been describing Hollywood’s development from 1920 forward. Now I realize people don’t know much about the land before J. W. Young acquired it, or about our Florida in general. Born and raised here, I learned the basics in school, but of course half my readers went to school somewhere else. So here is some basic Florida history, with a bias toward Hollywood.

Florida is a comparatively old state, having entered the union in 1845. But it was only settled about halfway down, to the top of Lake Okeechobee, until the railroad men, Henry Flagler, Henry Plant, and others began to open up the wilderness along both coasts. That didn’t happen until the end of the 19th century. Before the railroads there were other trailbreakers. I’ll list these trails chronologically, again as a very general overview.

This might also answer another question I’m often asked: who owned the land that became Hollywood before J. W. Young? Quick answer: local farmers. How did they get here? That is also in my highly selective chronology.

Please note: much of this info is found in my Guide to Historic Hollywood, pp. 139-59

Mickelson.Guide cover  My book is available at the Hollywood Historical Society at the newly reduced price of $15.  Also in bookstores.


Let it be noted that there were no east-west passages through Florida below Lake Okeechobee in the 19th century—with an important exception. The Seminoles, who generally inhabited high ground, islands and hammocks, to the west of future Hollywood, would have made their way from the Pine Island area east to the ocean, hunting and fishing.

Tony Mickelson, surveyor of Hollywood.

Tony Mickelson, age 26, began surveying Hollywood in 1921

At right, Tony Mickelson and his surveyor’s transit are working in the East Marsh, which became part of the Lakes Section.

Photo collection of Joan Mickelson

My father, Tony Mickelson, recalled seeing one poling his dugout through the coastal marshes in about 1921.

I have no maps to show you where these earliest north-south passages were, in the then empty land between Fort Lauderdale on the New River, and Miami and the small settlements just to the north of it.

So just think of the land between today’s Florida’s Turnpike and U. S. 1 as bare and empty (in future Hollywood), but nevertheless transversed by intrepid pioneers.

Here are the north-south routes through future Hollywood currently identified:

MILITARY TRAIL, 1838     route of Major William Lauderdale and his Tennessee Volunteers, and Company D, 3rd US Artillery, in 1838, a pine ridge route down to New River from the north, according to historian Susan Gillis

DOUBLEDAY’S ROAD, 1850s        Surely the soldiers in Fort Lauderdale and Fort Dallas in Miami in the 1830s occasionally rode between these encampments.  In the 1850s Captain Abner Doubleday oversaw construction of a road from Arch Creek in North Miami to the Fort Lauderdale area (Gillis).

BEACH SHORELINE      1885-1892        route of the “Barefoot Mailman.” In the 1890s it was possible to walk from Palm Beach to Miami along the beach barrier islands in the company of the Barefoot Mailman.

beach for Barefoot Mailman    Next time you are on the beach, picture a solitary man with a mail sack striding along toward Miami. Or perhaps he has a companion who pays a small fee to walk to Miami with the mailman as guide.

BAY BISCAYNE STAGE LINE route       Beginning 1892 this stage coach line (also Bay Stage Line) operated over a shell-rock road between Hypoluxo at the south end of Lake Worth and Lemon City, now part of Miami. Passengers on the two-day trip stopped overnight at New River. (Gillis and Bill McGoun)

OLD SIGNPOST.  Proof that at least one of these trails–Doubleday’s road or the stage coach line–went through the future Hollywood was an old signpost for a north-south route that still existed at 26th Avenue and Johnson Street in the 1920s, according to Virginia TenEick in her History of Hollywood, Florida.


Johnson Street looking west, crossed by 26th Avenue, where the signpost was      At left, Johnson Street heading west, crossed by 26th Avenue, site of a 19th century north-south route signpost.

26th Avenue looking north, from Johnson Street. 2016

At right, 26th Avenue looking north from

Johnson Street.   Picture if you can, a stagecoach

and four to six horses rumbling along here, headed to Miami.

26th Avenue at Johnson St., looking south   Now look south on 26th Avenue, toward today’s City Hall Circle, and see the dust kicked up by the retreating coach!

The stage coach was soon replaced by:

FEC RAIL ROAD     1896-1912       Henry M. Flagler had brought his Florida East Coast Rail Road south along the Atlantic coast to Palm Beach, then on to Fort Lauderdale by February, 1896, then on to reach Miami by 1912 (thus passing through future Hollywood).IMG_2550

This photo, above,  jumps the gun by about a decade, but gives a good idea of how the land looked when J. W. Young chose it for his new city. Looking straight ahead we are on the Dixie Highway looking north. The FEC railroad tracks run along to the right of the road and were laid there around 1900, followed in 1915 by the Dixie. The Australian pine trees were planted by the Miami Woman’s Club before Young arrived.

(Further quoting Bill McGoun) “Besides making it possible for more settlers to reach Broward, the railroad also made it necessary. If Flagler were to reap any return on the state and private lands which he had been given in return for laying the rails, it was absolutely necessary that he find prospective buyers. His land companies sought immigrants both in the North and in the South.”  These prospective farmers were given land that became Dania, Pompano, Deerfield, and Hallandale, joining Fort Lauderdale which existed on the banks of the New River.

That should explain how there came to be towns on either side of future Hollywood. Incidentally, as a Norwegian, I’ve always been interested to know that Hollywood’s first neighbors were Scandinavians, Dania settled by Danes from the Midwest, while Hallandale pioneers were Swedes brought from Sweden by Luther Halland, a connection of Flagler’s.

Note to TV announcers:  It’s not “Hollandale.” Nothing to do with the Dutch Netherlands.


DIXIE HIGHWAY      1915. This important road was created by Carl Fisher of Indianapolis, to bring people from Chicago and Indiana down to his new resort city, Miami Beach. Fisher and his entourage were the first to drive down the route, passing through Dania in 1915 on the way to huge celebrations in Miami.  08Mickelson

 At left, Fisher’s entourage heading south through Dania toward future Hollywood on the brand-new Dixie Highway

As there was no Hollywood at the time, hence no roads, Fisher’s engineers cut west at the then Dania border to cross the FEC tracks and continue this highway south along the west side of Flagler’s railroad, where the Dixie is in Hollywood today.IMG_3712                                                                                                  At left, the Dixie looking north from Hollywood Boulevard. The FEC tracks at at right behind the shrubs.

At right, the FEC tracks looking north from Hollywood Boulevard, with the Dixie beyond the embankment to the left.


INLAND WATERWAY           In 1920 when Young first set foot in his city, this waterway was privately owned, by the Florida East Coast Canal Company. Also called the Intracoastal Waterway, it was generally navigable, with toll-takers at various sites including Dania. Young made much use of it in the 1920s.


Map detail, 1923 showing Broad Walk

This is the initial city plan, before Young bought more land to the west, north and south. He had already purchased the beach island, seen at the bottom of the plan. The heavy line between the 2 circles represents the FEC railroad tracks and just above them, the Dixie Highway. The Inland Waterway would be between the beach island and the land. And that was all Young had to start with.

“Old Dixie” or “West Dixie”   and “East Dixie” 1923

Once J. W. Young had put in his roads, his 4th Avenue (changed to 18th Avenue) went north to Dania on the east side of the FEC railroad. This was a straight shot south from Dania to the Circle.(See city plan, above. The line going right from the Circle out of the plan is 18th Avenue.)  Locals began to refer to that stretch of road as the “East Dixie,” while the original Dixie highway that continued on to Miami became somewhat confusingly the “West Dixie.”

BROADWALK            Begun March 1923 at Johnson Street, by J. W. Young, who called it the Broad Walk from the beginning. At the same time, Young’s engineers were laying in the north-west avenues in the city; the Broad Walk was the first N-W passageway on the beach. Or at least the first PAVED passageway, since it very likely was along the same route walked by the Barefoot Mailman.

Broad Walk. Reporter July 1924. p. 17

Broad Walk. Reporter July 1924. p. 17

Broadwalk looking north  Same scene some 92 years later.Hollywood Broadwalk.

Incidentally, why isn’t Hollywood’s unique Broadwalk on the National Register of Historic Places?

1924     FEC Passenger Station, and first passenger stop in Hollywood.  J. W. Young convinced the FEC company to include a passenger stop in Hollywood, by building a station, so handsome it was considered the most beautiful on Florida’s east coast.dragimage





OCEAN DRIVE, A1A      begun in 1925 at Johnson Street on the beach as Ocean Drive.Note that Young put the road for autos along the canal side of the beach rather than spoil the ocean side.  I’ve read that Young and Carl Fisher had hopes of connecting their two properties, Hollywood and Miami Beach, with this scenic beach drive. Eventually this happened under the State jurisdiction, who numbered this easternmost major north-south road as A1A in 1946.

A1A north

At right is Ocean Drive, route A1A today, looking north toward the Boulevard bridge. It is considerably wider than it was several decades ago.


When the Railway was brought through Young’s Hollywood the rail company constructed the station house, and the first passenger stop occurred in January, 1927.100_1892

Today these rails are used by Amtrak and Tri-Rail.


STATE ROAD 7, US 441        opened 1927. At that time the area was not part of incorporated Hollywood. For a long time it was chiefly a truck route between Miami and the Lake Okeechobee area

Port Hollywood, Port Bay Mabel, PORT EVERGLADES    opened February, 1928.      Creation of the port was begun by J. W. Young’s Tropical Dredging & Construction Company in May, 1925 (Young owned the land around the then Lake Mabel).   Ft. Lauderdale Daily News, Feb. 21, 1928 HHS

US 1, FEDERAL HIGHWAY     1930-31. This was J. W. Young’s 18th Avenue, which as his Hollywood Reporter noted in 1923, had “inevitably” become the “East Dixie.”  In 1930 the U.S. government decided to extend U. S. 1 south along 18th Avenue and around then-Harding Circle.

At right, US 1, “the Federal” in the 1930s, looking north. Traffic was not much of an issue.

US 1 in 1930s

While this made road sense, it entirely changed Young’s original plan for his city. He anticipated that travelers would arrive on the original Dixie Highway, or the train, both of which ran between Harding (Young) and City Hall circles, then turn east or west on wide, inviting Hollywood Boulevard. Putting the major north-south route around the Circle, creating traffic snarls, was not Young’s original intention.

US 1 south facing Circle    At left, U.S. 1 looking south to Young Circle.


FLORIDA’S TURNPIKE      passed through Hollywood c. 1960-64. 

Florida's Turnpike at Johnson Street

Above, Johnson Street at 62nd Avenue passes under the Turnpike.    

I-95         1976. This interstate highway was put through Hollywood paralleling the Seaboard railway (now Amtrak and Tri-rail), rather than slicing it through the heart of Downtown, as happened in so many other communities in the 70s.

I-95, Stratford's bill

I-95 under construction runs along the top of the postcard. From left to right Hollywood Boulevard, near top, passes under the highway. Besides the Howard Johnson’s, another landmark is the 2 story white building in the upper left, south side of Boulevard. This is Stratford’s bar & grill. Orange Brook Golf course is at the very top left.


I hope you enjoyed this. I am soon off to Malice Domestic, a mystery writers conference, to show off my art museum mystery, Done For at the Danford, by Michal Sherring.

If you read and enjoy my book, it would be great if you would comment under the book title on Amazon!








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Those of you who live near Hollywood, Florida might like to attend this series of talks about that city in history.  Here is the schedule:



2600 Hollywood Boulevard, City Hall Circle (Meeting room)

FREE – PUBLIC WELCOME          1:00 – 3:00 p.m.

 Sat. September 10th , 2016      “Horticulture of Hollywood By-the-Sea”

Speaker – SUSAN BERRY – President of the Hollywood  Garden Club

 Sat. October 1st , 2016           “Hidden Gems of Royal Poinciana Neighborhood”

Speakers – MARY BETH BUSUTIL & JEAN MORFORD – Hollywood Historical Society members and volunteer researchers

Sat. November 19th, 2016         “Broward County. The Photography of Gene Hyde”

Speaker – SUSAN GILLIS, author and Curator of the Boca Raton Historical Society & Museum

Sat. December 3rd, 2016           “U.S. Navy WAVES in Hollywood during World War II”

Speaker –Dr. JOAN MICKELSON, biographer, blogger, Hollywood historian, mystery writer

Sat. January 28th, 2017               “From Hard Times to Hard Rock”

Speaker – PATSY WEST. Director of the Seminole/Miccosukee Photo Archives and author of three books on the subject of Seminole/Miccosukee Indians


Refreshments – The authors will sign copies of their books

For more information  email: Hollywoodflhistory@att.net

Phone: 954-923-5590

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New Book. I haven’t kept up with the blog for a few months because I’ve just brought out another book. This one isn’t about Hollywood and it isn’t non-fiction. It’s a murder mystery, written under my pen name MICHAL SHERRING. The book is called Done for at the Danford. An Art Museum Mystery. The amateur sleuth is the Curator, Robin Grinling.


Here’s the back cover blurb:

“As Robin Grinling, curator at the Danford Museum in Edgell, Mass., prepares to exhibit long-hidden still life paintings inherited by young deb Slinky Chase, something about these innocent-seeming paintings causes people to die, first Slinky, then the self-proclaimed expert on the paintings. To solve the cruel and unusual cause of these murders Robin uses her tradecraft, her skill at iconography and connoisseurship, to interpret the paintings. But if she tells what she learns from the paintings about the killer, will she be next? Stakes are high, the pressure is on, and there is malice aplenty.”


This is the book mark.  (I’m not happy with WordPress’s new setup, which does not allow me to decide where I want to put the images, or to put text next to an image. Please forgive this scroll-like format! Not my choice.)

For more about my mystery, please go to the websitehttp://doneforatthedanford.com

[The link is acting hinky here–I’ll put it at the end.]

You can also find the book on Amazon under Michal Sherring, or under the book’s title, and read the reviews. And if you read my museum mystery and like it,please write a review on my Amazon page!


Meet Me at the Book Fair. This is the Broward College Literary Festival 2016, to be held at University College Library, 3501 S. W. Davie Road, Davie, Florida, March 12 & 14

I will be there, wearing two hatsOn March 12, Tuesday, I’ll be there from about 1:00 to 4:00. With me will be members of the Hollywood Historical Society who will sell copies of my biography of Hollywood’s Founder, Joseph W. Young, Jr. for the Historical Society.


At the same time, I will be selling and signing copies of Done For at the Danford

On March 14, Thursday, I will be taking part in a Writer’s Forum from 12:00 to 3:00 p.m., and will briefly discuss both books.

Signing at book launch, 1920s style. June 2013 Photo by Isa

Signing at book launch, 1920s style. June 2013 Photo by Isa


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Joseph W. Young, Jr. found the land where he would create his city late in 1920.   On January 14, 1921 the purchase was announced in the Fort Lauderdale Sentinel:

S. M. Alsobrook, who owned most of the land between Dania and Hollywood
sold to a northern syndicate the last of last week, 1,700 acres of land along both
sides of the Dixie Highway. This subdivision joins Dania on the south side and
extends to within half a mile of Hallandale. According to reports to the Sentinel
two groups of surveyors will be on the ground this week to survey and plat
the land. The plan calls for a 40’ Boulevard to the beach directly east of the center of
the property. This new town site is not to be part of Dania, but is to add one more
to the list of East Coast towns that are fast revolving themselves into the city
extending from Palm Beach to Miami with Fort Lauderdale the hub. The price paid,
according to reports, was $71.00 per acre.

February 19, 1921 the name “Hollywood” appears, in the Miami Metropolis Herald, announcing that Joe Young had incorporated the Hollywood Land & Water Company with $1 million capital.

So I am going to discuss the naming of Hollywood, Florida today.

Why “Hollywood”? Why did Joseph Young name his planned city “Hollywood.” The direct answer, as best as my research has found, is that he just liked the name. According to Edythe Whitson, who was working for Young in Indianapolis before he even began looking for his city site, when he told his staff that he had bought land and was planning a city called “Hollywood, Florida,” they wondered why that name. Well, for one thing, he didn’t want anything named for himself, no Youngstown, or Youngville. As far as Mrs.Whitson and the others could figure, Young just liked the sound of the name Hollywood.
It isn’t an unusual name for a place. There are some 18 Hollywoods in the USA, some dating from the 19th century. For example, Hollywood, Maryland was named in 1867 for a holly tree, according to their website. The point here is that Hollywood, California, wasn’t unique when Young named his city.

Maybe there were holly bushes here? No, holly doesn’t grow in our part of Florida. Young’s land would have been covered with palmetto, sandspurs, 1921 scenery 6reeds in the marshy places, some planted fields of tomatoes and pineapples, and in the dry areas, the jackpines.

11Mickelsonleft, Hollywood in 1920

right, Tony Mickelson standing where Hollywood Boulevard would be built as a turning off the Dixie Highway, dated May 1, 1921. Collection of the Estate of Tony Mickelson.

The Miami Woman’s Club had planted casuarina trees along the Florida East Coast Railway tracks when the area was still Dade County.

IMG_2550left, from Young’s Hollywood Reporter,  1922. The sign reads “Hollywood By-the-Sea.” Caption says looking north up the Dixie Highway, with the Florida East Coast railroad just to the right.

Well before 1920 someone had started groves of avocados and mangos along today’s 24th Avenue. We had some of the avocado trees on our acre of land on Polk Street (24th doesn’t go through there).  I can still spot some of these 100-year-old trees beside older homes in the Little Ranches. And there was also the orange grove planted on today’s Orange Brook Golf Course, which was still there in the 1930s. But no holly. scan0001

right, Orange Brook Golf Course in the 1930s. Postcard.

About Hollywood, California. The most common assumption is that J. W. Young was movie-crazy, and therefore named his city for the movie capital.
There are many incorrect elements in that assumption. For starters, I’ll just point out that Young named his city in 1920. At that time, Hollywood CA was still a 120-acre community, part of the city of Los Angeles (which it still is), in the flat land beneath a range of mountains. It had been purchased in 1883 by Horace and Daeida Wilcox, from Topeka, Kansas, to create a “utopian-like community containing citizens who reflected the Wilcoxes’ own Christian values,” allowing no bars or saloons in their land. (If you want the source of all my info, please refer to my biography of J. W. Young which is thoroughly referenced and annotated.) Interestingly, Young did have similar values to the Wilcoxes, not in so many words, but his city was planned to be a beautiful place for everyone. As for bars, this was a moot issue since Prohibition was in force in 1920.

And how did Hollywood, CA get its name? I am so pleased with my research on this that I’m going to repeat what I’ve already published. The historian in Hollywood CA when I was there about 10 years ago said they weren’t really sure about that, except that Daeida Wilcox had met a “wealthy Chicago woman” on the train back east to Topeka, who told Daeida that she had an estate she called “Hollywood” because of the “verdant holly bushes adorning the grounds.” Like J. W. Young, Daeida apparently liked the name, and on her return told her husband they should call their utopia Hollywood. Horace Wilcox suggested that perhaps “Figwood” was more appropriate since they could grow figs but no holly. Daeida’s preference won. (It’s kind of fun to think of movies being made for the silver screen in Figwood.)
Ah, but where in Chicago was this wealthy woman’s holly-bearing property? In a sense it’s hidden in plain sight. Poking around on the Internet for an Illinois Hollywood, I found it, right in Cook County. When Edith Rockefeller married Harold McCormick in 1893, her father John D. Rockefeller gave her a tract of land that she named Hollywood for its lush holly bushes. In 1919 Mrs. McCormick sold some of her property to the Hollywood Citizens Association, then donated much of the rest of it to the Forest Preserve of Cook County for a zoo.
So the genealogy of Hollywood, Florida’s name goes like this: Edith Rockefeller McCormick names her Illinois estate “Hollywood.” Daeida Wilcox meets Edith on a train, likes the story and takes the name back to her property in California, even though there are no hollies on her land. Her development is well-advertised in the Los Angeles area, as “Beautiful Hollywood,” by 1903, and was one of the destination names on the trolleys that ran all over Los Angeles and Orange counties. J.W. Young, having heard the name from the papers, perhaps, like Daeida Wilcox, simply liked the sound of it.
I have wonderful images of the Wilcoxes land in the 1890s, of ads for Beautiful Hollywood, of the trolley bearing a destination sign for “Hollywood” out in what was then a wilderness, and even of the Illinois Hollywood, but I do not have the rights to use these images in my publications. Most image owners charge for such use—it’s one way to support historical archives.)

What, no movies? It is regularly suggested that J.W. Young loved movies, films, motion pictures, therefore named his city for the movie capitol. Well, if that first part were true, then it would be odd that he would think of Hollywood. True, in 1914 C. B. DeMille filmed “The Squaw Man” in a barn he rented in the Wilcoxes suburb (which had attracted farmers as settlers), and the area began to attract more members of the movie industry. But Young didn’t have to ride the trolley from Long Beach on the shore out to the northeast LA area to find film-making. He lived in Long Beach from 1902 to 1916, and during those years, beginning in 1910, Young was right in the center of film-making as Long Beach was the home of several major silent motion picture companies. There were size-able sound stages on eight acres right downtown in Long Beach, and auto and fire engine chases were filmed around the streets. Actors (Buster Keaton, Fatty Arbuckle, even Pearl White and Theda Bara), directors, stage hands lived there in Long Beach. The Horkheimer brothers who had one of the largest film production companies there, called Balboa films, belonged to Young’s Elks lodge. So had Young been fascinated enough by movies to name his city for their source, he more likely would have chosen “Long Beach” or “Balboa.”
You can read about Long Beach as a center of silent film-making in Jura & Bardin, Balboa Films: A History and Filmography of the Silent Film Studio.

No movie theaters in Young’s Hollywood. And another thing. If Young had been so enamoured of movies, silent or otherwise, then wouldn’t he have built one of those 1920s movie palaces that are so admired today? He had the resources. But in fact, Young never built any kind of theaters at all. He gave land for congregations to build churches, and he built a school. But no theaters.

Ritz Theatre

Ritz Theatre

Yes, there was a theater in downtown Hollywood, built in 1923 but it was built by someone else,Thomas McCarrell, Sr., for stage performances. It was called the Hollywood Theatre. Arthur Enos was first stage manager. Movie films were added years later and the name was changed to Ritz Theatre.

Reporters, Mayors, 26 storm 019And up along 18th Avenue (now U.S. 1) on land not owned by J. W. Young, was Brandon’s Hippodrome Theatre, while nearby was the Garfield Theatre, again, not built by Young.

At right is Brandon’s Hippodrome after the 1926 hurricane which demolished many buildings along north 18th Avenue (US 1). Perhaps they were not built according to the building code enforced by Young on his land. Brandon’s establishment was chiefly for vaudeville, possibly not the kind of entertainment Young envisioned for his family-oriented city. We haven’t located any information about the Garfield Theatre.

How Young entertained visitors. J. W. Young was by no means opposed to public entertainment. As soon as his first hotel was built, in otherwise empty Hollywood, he put a marimba band on the payroll of the Hollywood Land & Water Company, and had them playing in the lobby of the Hollywood Hotel.IMG_0052

As soon as he was able to bring roads over to the beach island, he built the Tangerine Tea Room for dancing on the Broadwalk.

Below, the Broadwalk looking north, the Tangerine Tea Room on the corner of Johnson Street, 1925.

Tangerine Tea Room on Broadwalk, 1925

Tangerine Tea Room on Broadwalk, 1925

Also on the Broadwalk at Johnson Street, south side, Young put in the Olympic size salt-water pool, called a casino  before that term became connected with gambling, and brought noted swimmers, divers, and other water entertainment for viewers to watch from covered grandstands.boat in casino

Top, Hollywood Beach Casino Pool with viewing stands filled to capacity watching some sort of small boat activity.

Beach Casino pool from ocean, crowds, 1926


Bottom, Young’s Hollywood Casino, 1925. Hand-colored postcard.








Country Club dance floor 1925 billYoung’s Country Club, seen at right, was designed with an elegant glass dance floor that was open to the stars above, with colored lights in the glass floor beneath, and a full orchestra playing during dinner and dancing. 41Mickelson

At right, dance floor with canvas roof open.  Hand-colored postcard.

At left, the dance floor, looking in the opposite direction, filled with elegantly-dressed dancing couples.




As for movie production, Young was well-acquainted with sound stages, having seen several in operation in Long Beach, and surely would have found room for them in Hollywood if he’d been interested in film-making. There were sound stages in Miami, as well. But there is no record of any regular movie production activity in Hollywood in the 1920s, not in the city or county directories, not in Young’s news Reporter or in plans by his architects, and not on the Sanborn map of 1926 which indicates every structure in the city including garages and sheds.

How Young Used Movies. Joseph Young was highly knowledgeable about the use of publicity. So although he does not seem to have been greatly interested in story-telling films, he could see the value of movies in advertising his city. His Hollywood Reporter of May, 1924 has a full page article on the making of a publicity film about Hollywood in order to “take Hollywood into the North…to exhibit its charms to those who have hitherto shown no disposition to come and see it for themselves.”

advertising movie, Miami company, Reporter May 1924, p. 12

advertising movie, Miami company, Reporter May 1924, p. 12

The article, headed “Movies. Graphic Local Scenes Taken for Advertising Purposes,” stated that two reels of films about the making of the city had been commissioned from the Kniffin-Coutant Photo Film Company of Hialeah Studios, Miami, to show Hollywood “in all its phases.” By this means Young was certain that “everyone who sees these entertaining and instructive pictures will have a strong curiosity aroused to see the original scenes…” and surely, buy the properties.

So, to sum up, Joseph Young, founder of Hollywood, Florida in 1920-21, had spent his own 20s and 30s in the center of silent film-making in California, that is, Long Beach, where the main studio was called Balboa. The small suburb of Hollywood, part of Los Angeles, was miles away, chiefly accessible by trolley from where Young lived. Nothing suggests that Young traveled to see the Wilcoxes development, but he could have read about Beautiful Hollywood in the Los Angeles papers. Mrs. Wilcox, founder of that Hollywood with her husband, chose the name because she liked it, even though there weren’t any hollies on her land. There were no hollies on Young’s Florida land, either, but he too, seems to have liked the name, but wasn’t particularly interested in film entertainment. He did not build a movie palace in Hollywood, nor did he build sound stages. His main connection to film-making was in 1924 when he hired a Hialeah film company to make a documentary of the building of his city, in order to attract more visitors–and buyers–to his Hollywood.Beach theater 25-26 Boca gift HHS


scan 128.tif




Three photos of the movie photographer documenting early Hollywood. Left, on the Broadwalk covering a baby parade. Building at center is a sales pavilion. The pink cement Broadwalk is lined north from Johnson Street with handsome street lights. At right, probably the first of several bandstands at the ocean end of Johnson Street. Photog at center while the band leader in his white suit may well be Caesar LaMonaca. All are courtesy of the Hollywood Historical Society.

At right, the cameraman is aiming at the Hollywood/Park View Hotel across Circle Park (now Young Circle), with the Great Southern Hotel at right, while several marching bands proceed toward the viewer.

So now you know about J. W. Young, movies, and naming Hollywood. Pass the word along!

Park View & Great Southern, 4th July parade 1925

Park View & Great Southern, 4th July parade 1924

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