1920 December: Young Buys the Land, Mickelson Begins the Survey; 1930 December: Hollywood Inc. Acquires Young’s Hollywood Assets, Young Develops Land in the Adirondacks, NY; 1940 December: Hollywood Entertains–Supper Clubs and Fiesta Tropicale; 1950 December: Baumgarten’s Bust of J. W. Young
News of the area in general is reported by The Miami Herald, headed by Frank Shutts, President, and F. S. Stoneman, Managing Editor, and by the Fort Lauderdale Sentinel.
In the Herald we learn that the population of the U.S. was then 105,708,771, while the population of all Florida was a mere 968,470.
On December 5 President-Elect Warren G. Harding visited Miami, and Burdine’s Sons Department Store was already 21 years old.
On December 17 the prediction was for a probable frost for south Florida.
The Sentinel was very much a local paper, and much of the news focused on farming. On December 4 a “Broward County Poultry Show” was presented by the Chamber of Commerce, including a “Big Milk and Chicken Parade” by all the school children in the county. The Woman’s Club held a luncheon, and the Lauderdale Band played.
Sugar was 12 cents a pound at John M. Gerren’s Cash and Carry, and Seybold’s bread was 10 to 15 cents a loaf. The Southern Utilities Company offered “Pure Distilled Water Ice Electricity for Light Heat and Power.” Men’s suits at Lehrman’s “next to Hotel Broward” were $27.50 to $32.50, while “lovely all wool bathing suits” could be had with or without the belt. My favorite clothing ad was for “Undermuslins,” a term I haven’t heard before, even from my grandmother who must have worn them. These included drawers, petticoats, chemises, and “knee Bloomers.” This is definitely not yet the Flapper era!
Praise was given to “our nearest neighbor, a wide-awake town,” Dania.
All was not bucolic, however, in agricultural Broward County in 1920. On December 4 it was announced that Sheriff W. A. Turner had caught “bootleggers” on the Dixie Highway, two young men in a gray Ford found with two quarts of Kentucky whiskey! December 24 announced a better haul, from bootleggers who had left behind 250 cases of liquor, “most likely from the Bahamas.” These were discovered in raids in Pompano and at the county line, west of Hallandale.
J. W. Young
In the summer and fall of 1920 Young had purchased the first square mile of land between Hallandale and Dania, returned to Indianapolis, and drafted up a plan for his future city.
Young and his family had moved to 3027 Washington Boulevard, pictured here.
Tony Mickelson, who had joined Young’s company in Indianapolis earlier in 1920 (see below) and would soon survey and lay out the city, described the initial boundaries of Hollywood: the future Washington Street on the south; the future 56th Avenue on the west; the future Stirling Road on the north; and the future 18th Avenue, later U.S. 1, on the east. Young was busy selling land in Indianapolis as well as stock in his company, then called Homeseekers Realty, and at the same time putting together the team that would go down to Florida and start the work, the civil engineers, the survey crew, and salesmen. The latter mostly worked out of Miami.
Young’s office was then on the 9th floor of the Merchants Bank Building in Indianapolis, overlooking that city’s Circle.
Mickelson left the Navy in March of 1920 and returned home to Marseilles, Illinois. In the 1976 interview with Don Cuddy (copy in the Hollywood Historical Society) Mickelson described his meeting with the man he would work for for the the next 14 years. In Mickelson’s words:
“I spent five years in the Navy, from 1915 to 1920, and was discharged in March, and I’d been out of the service about a month and I had to find something to do. I didn’t want to go back in the Navy so my buddy and I from home landed in Indianapolis, thinking we could get in the automobile business at that time, rather than in Detroit. We found out that they were all going out of business there, the Marmon, the Stutz, Studebaker. Nine of them altogether were going out of business. Well, that finished the automobile deal so we noticed this ad in the paper: five men wanted, no questions asked. Just about all it said. So my buddy and I decided that, let’s answer it. Well, we did and that’s when we had our first contact. . . We met the sales manager and they gave us a two-week course so we decided we’d try it, and halfway through the conversation Mr. Young came into the room, and he’s the one that actually sold us on joining the company.”
. . . . “It was all ringing doorbells. I spent the whole summer there. I was with him from April till November in Indianapolis, and we had a meeting every morning. He had about 80 salesmen. They had to be on the job at eight in the morning and give a short talk, and go out and get your job done. . . . I did fairly well. I got to be crew manager. . . . We stuck it out but getting kind of discouraged because we hadn’t made much money, and then all of a sudden I was selected, one of twelve of the 50 salesmen, to come down to help get Mr. Young’s dream city started that he had talked about in the summer. He disappeared for a couple of weeks to come back and tell us about his dream city. He didn’t tell us where, but we finally got started on the first day of November , about eight o’clock.”
The drive, which took eleven days in three Ford cars, went through Louisville, Chattanooga, Atlanta, Macon, Waycross, and Jacksonville. Among the eleven stalwarts on the trip were men named Shumaker, Allison, Schwartz, Ryan, Wilson, Katusky, Sammons–and Tony Mickelson.
He continues, that in Miami, “I didn’t stay on the sales force. I wasn’t out there too long and I’d decided I’d had enough and joined the engineering crew that was making the original survey of Hollywood. That sounded better to me. . . . I don’t recall the date when I went to work the next day in the bushes.”
“Now, Mr. Young had brought his own engineering crew down from Indianapolis who had laid out the various subdivisions up there–he had very nice ones and sold them out and I suppose he made a bundle of money on them.”
Cuddy asked Mickelson how he did the initial surveys. Mickelson replied: “Well, the usual procedure–of course, this had to be done in a hurry… To get a location and to find the corner points of all these various sections, to make sure that they were there, that he’d acquired. And being a preliminary survey we didn’t have time to cut the lines and make it accurate, but we found the corner of all the boundaries of these five or six, seven section of land, 640 acres. Quite a sizable piece. So that’s how we got started…. In the meantime, the maps were being prepared right there in an old building we called the House of Seven Gables, at [future] 21st Avenue and Sheridan Street. The maps were made up right there in that building, the big room there, and that’s where the original maps of Hollywood were drawn up, right in that old building, which is now a Gulf Station…”
This house, originally a log cabin, had belonged to Stephen Alsobrook and was included in Young’s purchase. Its address, if it existed today would be 2044 Sheridan Street. Mickelson described it further:
“It was really a wonderfully well-built building and it did have gables all the way around. It was the original homestead where this Mr. Alsobrook lived and raised his family. A beautiful place, and the inner part of that, especially in the hallways, were made of logs. Logs on the interior and with two hallways, one running east and west, and north and south. The whole bunch of rooms I don’t recall, but they were nice. It was a wonderful place to live.”
Mickelson also mentioned the others who were living there, more or less the first residents of Hollywood as it came into being. These included the carpenter, Ward Keller, the cook, Charles “Dad” June, some of the survey crew, and some of the sales and engineering crews. Dad June, who had a restaurant in Indianapolis, was in his early eighties then, but quite active. He managed the house.
Tony Mickelson spent his first Florida Christmas here, December, 1920.
A few notes on others who would have a connection to Hollywood, in December, 1920. According to Abraham Lavender in Miami Beach in 1920 – The Making of a Winter Resort, on December 28, 1920, Carl Fisher chartered the steamship City of Miami for a cruise to Havana that included 200 invitees, who were greeted by Cuban officials. Included in the party were H. S. Bastian (a builder who Young would hire), Frank Dickey, the talented engineer Young would hire to oversee the development of Hollywood, and Frank O. Van Deren, who would become one of Young’s top salesmen.
In 1930 Hollywood has its own newspaper, The Hollywood News and News-Record. O. C. Stiles is Editor, L. W. Stetson, Ad Manager, and Valentine Martin, News Editor.
Particularly noteworthy in the December 4, 1930 issue was the creation of Hollywood Inc., a new financial organization that took over the Hollywood assets of the Joseph W. Young companies. L. C. Herrick is president, with Albert M. Rosenthal the chairman of the board. Apparently these men spoke to Hollywood’s very tiny populace at that time, in Harding Circle (now Young Circle), to declare that theirs was a policy of careful development.
The small bandshell in Harding Circle was used on many occasions, from band concerts to holiday pageants (as a small child I performed there as a snowflake).
In the aerial photo, the bandstand and benches may be seen in the upper left quadrant. The Boulevard downtown runs to the upper left, with the Great Southern Hotel overlooking the park there. In the photo, bottom right, is the Park View Hotel, built in 1922 (now gone).
Albert Rosenthal owned the Hollywood Beach Hotel and Country Club at that time. For years the hotel was only open during the winter “season.” The paper announced in the December 4th issue that the reopening would be January 5, 1931, following $50,000 worth of improvements to the steam heat, and the tropical gardens.
Before the huge ramp off the bridge over the Intracoastal canal was shoved up to the west facade of the hotel, visitors to the hotel as well as passers-by on A1A were treated to the sight of the extensive gardens and fountains maintained by the hotel.
Ads in the December 5 issue included those for architect Bayard Lukens, “Tropical Houses a Specialty,” for the Tropical Cafe on the Boulevard, and for C. B. Smith: “We Buy Sell Move Houses.”
Indeed Smith did move houses, literally raising the foreclosed and abandoned 1920s homes to put several on Hollywood beach and elsewhere. A house at 317 Arizona Street was moved by Smith from 2606 Washington Street, and put next to the 1925 Cavanaugh Apartments (at right in photo). The Cavanaugh still stands, one of the oldest buildings on the beach, but the house has been demolished.
On December 11 in the same newspaper we read that the Morris Brothers Dog and Pony Show will winter in Hollywood at Lincoln Street and 20th Avenue in the former warehouse belonging to the Florida Power & Light Company. Morris Brothers were organizing a circus.
On December 11 we read that Hollywood Inc. had installed their own offices in J. W. Young’s former Administration Building, 1949 Hollywood Boulevard. The original architect was Martin L. Hampton, in 1924. The news on December 11, 1930 was that architect Fred A. Eskridge was remodeling the facade for Hollywood Inc. in a “Modernistic Motif.” International Modern was the up-to-the-minute style of architecture in Hollywood in the 1930s. Eskridge’s facade was described as of stucco, wrought iron and tile.
J. W. Young’s office was on the second floor in the 1920s, behind the center windows there.
This building has now been replaced by Anniversary Park.
Tony and Lamora Mickelson and J. W. Young
Lamora Gleason and Tony Mickelson were married in 1927, at her family home in Bennington, Vermont. By 1930 Tony was again employed by J. W. Young, but not in Hollywood. Following the loss of his property in Hollywood due to the 1926 hurricane, Young moved to New York, determined to carry on. About 1929 he owned land in Old Forge, New York, on First Lake in the Adirondack Mountains, where he thought to create a summer resort which he called “Hollywood in the Hills.” Once again he asked Tony Mickelson, together with another engineer, Pete Wells, to start the surveys. Mickelson describes this in his oral history, speaking to interviewer Don Cuddy:
“Well, Don, of course the storm stopped practically all activity in Hollywood. People weren’t making their payments. To heck with Florida, in other words. So Mr. Young decided we’d go up to the Adirondacks and put up a development there. He had some friends up there who had a lot of property, and acquired several thousand acres, so that’s where we headed. In April, 1929, I can remember the day, we left for Old Forge, New York. I was to do survey work for him, and we got started on the surveys on the first day of May… For me, having been down here several years without being away, to get up there into that chilly country… It snowed that day, in fact… May the first, 1929… We put up quite a development at Old Forge, on First Lake. There was a series of lakes there, seven lakes, and Old Forge was on. . . First Lake.
We spent all summer getting the development ready, and of course they were making sales. The main office was in Utica, and got along pretty well. Everything was fine. In fact, in the winter of 1929 and 1930 we kept going, making surveys all winter long.
Believe me, it was rough going. Don, one Sunday morning, bright and clear . . . I looked out and the thermometer on the open porch read 42 below zero that particular morning. Well, I decided to take a walk in the afternoon around
three o’clock to get some fresh air. . . We didn’t stay out very long. Probably had a mile or so walk around town, around Old Forge. We came back and Lamora’s legs were burnt as though she’d been out in the sun all summer long, just from that particular walk! She had a good coat that reached down just above her knees, but it didn’t protect her legs much.” [My mother was a Flapper and wore short dresses.] “It probably warmed up to 15 below when we took that walk.”
Family photos from Old Forge suggest that Lamora enjoyed the snow and cold. Also in this photo is one of her Boston Bull terriers.
Below zero weather did not keep the Mickelsons indoors. Tony, of course, was out in the woods surveying. Lamora, now in warm pants, shows off her snowshoes.
Another winter activity that both enjoyed was ice skating. When they returned to Hollywood, Florida a few years later they brought their skates, which hung on a rafter in our attic unused, for many years.
Mickelson continued his description of Young’s development in the Adirondacks which was more or less completed after Young’s death in 1934:
“Also, during our stay in Old Forge–Mr. Young built a hotel on First Lake, a beautiful hotel. It’s all built of logs eighty feet long, pine logs, I imagine, and he had people scouting around to get logs the proper length. . . It’s still there, a beautiful place on First Lake.”
The hotel was
begun in 1933 and completed in 1935, after J. W. Young’s death. More about this in future installments.
Mickelson continued: “In the center, in the big living room facing the lake–the center part was octagon shape with wings spreading out in different directions, and in the center was a huge fireplace. You could walk in. It had four sides and you could walk into the darn thing. Of course there was plenty of wood up there, . . . piled up sky-high by the lumberjacks there. It was quite a pleasant winter in spite of the cold.”
[Please note that I am heir to the Estate of A. C.Tony Mickelson. If you wish to quote from his oral history, please contact me. Thank you, Joan Mickelson]
While Mickelson was
surveying for house lots that would surround the hotel, others began putting a plank walk along the lake front so that prospective buyers could be brought in by boat. Next they built a bath house, and a “casino,” which was a dance hall for several decades. Young always thought of entertaining his prospective buyers. The photo at right was taken by my family c. 1930, of an excursion boat on First Lake.
The Mickelsons remained in Old Forge until the national Depression caused Young to put the Hollywood in the Hills development on hold.
J. W. Young
According to Tony Mickelson’s address book for the early 1930s, J. W. Young’s residence was the Hotel Roosevelt, phone 3-2900. This hotel opened in 1924, named for President Teddy, a huge block at 45 East 45th Street at Madison Avenue in New York City. Guy Lombardo and his orchestra started their tradition of playing for New Year’s Eve there in 1929-30, and they continued to play there for thirty years.
Young’s office, according to Mickelson, was 535 Fifth Avenue, Room 705, phone Murray Hill 2-6628. This building is one block from the Roosevelt Hotel.
Young also rented a lodge in Old Forge on First Lake opposite the site of his development. More about this in the summer months.
In 1940 Hollywood has a different newspaper, The Hollywood Herald. Leo Stetson is now Publisher, with Vivian McGahee editor.
December 6, 1940 activities included a Christmas Circus in the Bandshell, in the circle, while the Tourist Club resumed its meetings, held in the auditorium at Hollywood Central School.
The increased sophistication of entertainment in Hollywood is suggested by the number of supper clubs, with orchestras and entertainers for the diners. At the beach, the Beach Hotel presented a “famed artists series” that included Metropolitan Opera stars Lawrence Tibbett and Helen Jepson, and pianist Jose Iturbi.
In town, the Rainbo Grill
and Cocktail Lounge had “special rooms for clubs and parties” [and gambling, as it was later recognized]. On December 5, 1940, there was dinner, dancing, and a floor show.
Out to the west, on State Road 7, readers were invited to “Dine Dance–The Swing is to the New Rex, King of Pleasure,” one-half mile north of the Boulevard. It was also announced that on December 30, 1940, Singapore Sadie’s would open, with three orchestras, continuous music, especially Dixieland Jazz.
In city news the Hollywood Boulevard bridge would be closed for repairs December 17-19. There would be a “Hollywood Float” sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce in the Orange Bowl Parade. (My family loved this Miami event, the parade of beautiful floats along Biscayne Boulevard.)
Calisthenics were held on Hollywood beach Sundays at 3 p.m.
The second new Streamliner would pass through Hollywood on December 20, 1940.
The Broward County Negro Schools combined to give a musicale on December 13.
Frank Burton, Pioneer citizen, died at home December 27, 1940. He came to Hollywood in 1923, buying the home at 1841 Monroe Street. His wife Blanche was a
teacher at Hollywood Central School. Their home, still beautifully maintained, is adorned with the California-mission-style roofline that Young preferred for buildings in his Hollywood.
In the last issue of 1930, December 27th, the editors of the Herald listed names of those they “Appreciated for 1940s favors to Hollywood.” One of these was attorney Ella Jo Stollberg, for “organizing the Hollywood Fiesta.” This was the Fiesta Tropicale, begun
in 1935 by the Chamber of Commerce; Stollberg was Chairwoman. For the parade the Boulevard was closed from 19th to 21st Avenues so that bands, floats, and just about anyone who wanted to participate could march along, to entertain the winter visitors.
In 1940 your author and her cousin (who would probably prefer to remain anonymous) were dressed up as two of the Seven Dwarfs. I don’t recall who we marched with. I hope we entertained the winter visitors.
By this time Hollywood has its long-running local paper, The Hollywood Sun-Tattler, published from 1940 to 1995. Bound copies of the paper may be found in the Hollywood Historical Society, while microfilm is available at the Broward County Historical Commission.
J. W. Young
Joseph W. Young, Jr. had died in 1934, but his role in creating Hollywood was not forgotten. In the December 1, 1950 issue of the Tattler there is a photo of Young’s widow Jessie, their youngest son Billy, and sculptor Joseph Baumgarten, with a bust of J. W. that Baumgarten created from photographs.
The sculptor had the bust cast in bronze, which he then donated to the city. It was placed on the west edge of the circle, renamed Young Circle, facing downtown.
The base has since been changed.
On December 20, 1950 the price of a loaf of bread at Margaret Ann’s grocery was 14 cents, about the same as the price of bread in 1920.
The car of the moment, at Hollywood Kaiser-Frazer [that’s an automobile dealership] was the Henry J, selling for $1,450.