BIOGRAPHY JOSEPH W. YOUNG, JR. AND THE CITY BEAUTIFUL
TO RECEIVE AWARD
I am honored to announce that I am to be the recipient of the 2013 Dr. Cooper Kirk Award for my book, Joseph W. Young, Jr. and the City Beautiful. The award is given by the Broward County Historical Commission, to those individuals who write about our local history. It will be presented during the Broward County Heritage Celebration at the Historical Commission Building on May 16, 2013 from 5:30 to 7:30 ;m.
This is very exciting and a wonderful tribute. Unfortunately, I can’t be there to receive it as I will be in New York City where I’ll be attending the annual conference of Biographers International, which I greatly look forward to every year. This year the biographers meet at the Roosevelt Hotel, where my subject, J. W. Young and his wife Jessie lived in the late 1920s and early 1930s. I wonder if the hotel still has their registers for those years.
WALKING TOUR OF HISTORIC HOLLYWOOD
For those of you who live in and near Hollywood, May 14, 2013 is the inauguration date for a walking tour of historic Hollywood and the beach. A brochure with map and descriptions of the selected sites will be presented; the same guide will then be available on line. This brochure has been put together by members of the Leadership Hollywood Class XXXVII of the Chamber of Commerce. Fittingly, the May 14 ceremonies will be held in Joseph W. Young Circle, from 5:30 to 7:30 pm. I’ll be there.
This is Downtown, Hollywood Boulevard looking east to the Hollywood/Park View Hotel (now replaced by stores) in 1924. Except for the Park View Hotel, most of these buildings, including the Great Southern Hotel, still stand. Postcard from the William R. Schaaf collection.
Hollywood’s Downtown area, specifically Hollywood Boulevard, Harrison and Tyler Streets from the Dixie Highway to U.S. 1, is already on the National Register of Historic Places. I wrote up most of the historic sites in this area in my book, A Guide to Historic Hollywood: A Tour through Time and Place (available in book stores, on line, and at the Hollywood Historical Society). I also listed historic sites on the beach. More work on Hollywood’s wonderful collection of Streamline Moderne (1930-1945) and Mid-Century Modern (1945-1960) buildings is well overdue.
The wonderful Streamline Moderne apartments, called the Beach Crest apartments, built in the 1930s, qre at 330 Virginia Street.
MORE ABOUT THE BROAD WALK
In April, 1924 Oliver Behymer, J. W. Young’s spokesman in his Hollywood Reporter, pointed out that while other Florida cities allowed private ownership of ocean frontage, Hollywood’s beach front would be public. For five miles, he wrote, there will be a “Broad Walk” of concrete, 30 feet wide. Beyond this is the lovely sand beach, beautified with palm trees.
For lovers of 1920s swimwear, this is the Broadwalk on Easter day, 1924.
This view of the brand new Broadwalk (below) shows dunes and beach foliage on both sides of the walk. The caption indicated that street lighting was soon to be installed.
Young derived his ideas about a beach front walk from a similar cement walk he had observed along the Pacific Ocean while he was living in Long Beach, California from 1902 to 1915. That walk had shops and an indoor swimming pool along its east side, while the ocean side, to the west remained open to the sand and the sea. Young was ahead of many Florida towns with his vision that the beach and ocean would be a major attraction drawing people to his city.
MORE ABOUT ELECTRICITY
By the 1940s Hollywood had groups of people who were considered “Pioneers.” They arrived when the city began in the early 1920s. Now, nearly 100 years after the city was created, this concept of “pioneers” has come to suggest hardship, primitive housing, bare essentials. This wasn’t what pioneering in Hollywood was like at all. As soon as the streets were surveyed and marked out, by early 1922, Young had a power plant up and running. Electric lines were put underground downtown, while poles were relegated to the alleys in residential sections.
This is the interior of the second power plant, in April 1924, the first one having been outgrown in two years. From “Turning Night Into Day. A City that Outgrew Its Power Plant.”
No candlelight for Hollywood’s Pioneers–all over town lights twinkled in bungalow windows. Street lights were installed on the Boulevard, and the flagship Hollywood Hotel (later Park View) from its position on the ten-acre Circle, was lit up like the beacon it was intended to be, with lights in the windows and bulbs surrounding its dome. The Reporter beamed that “Everywhere one looks there are lights, and still more lights,” putting Hollywood in a blaze of glory.
Other events of that busy April, 1924 included Clyde Elliott’s aerial photos of the city, probably taken from the passenger seat of Bobby Yale’s airplane (more about that another time).
Here is one of these first aerial documentations of early Hollywood, looking NE over the Circle with the Park View Hotel in the upper right, and the elegant Country Club center left, which incidentally was graced with a glass dance floor lit from below by colored lights.
Hollywood’s Golf & Country Club’s remarkable glass dance floor, in 1924.
On April 6, 1924 Flagler’s Florida East Coast Rail Way made its first passenger stop at the Beautiful California-Mission-inspired station erected by Young in order to convince the railroad to include a passenger stop in Hollywood. For nearly four decades after that, the train was our visible link to the north.
Transportation was a major key to Young’s success. All of the properties he bought to develop were convenient to up-to-date transportation, as I have illustrated in my biography of Young.
Another key to his success was the promotional tour. These began in a small way with local buses coming from Miami or Palm Beach. Then, with greater reach, tours to Hollywood came by train from Chicago and Washington, D.C. By November, 1923 the Reporter had an article on the “next” excursion from Indianapolis to Hollywood, which would be on January 11, 1924. These train trips by Pullman ran regularly fall and winter and included hotel accommodations, with a 6-month stopover privilege. Apparently there was a cost for the trip, but if you bought Hollywood property, the cost was assumed by Young’s company.
Then Young bought long-distance buses (he had as many as 70 by 1927) which allowed his sales agents to provide tours to Hollywood from all over the eastern U.S. I could probably write a long article on the various promotional tours Young and his sales force thought up.
Young’s buses were supplied with sales reps, some pictured here. They are, l. to r., H. B. Long, F. L. Blackwell, Bessie L. St. Peters, Charlies W. Habig, Mabel Ingalls, Leland Fishback, and R. C. Habig.
Young also made use of the Inland Waterway, now the Intracoastal, to bring day-trippers up from prosperous Miami and Miami Beach. Below is one of my favorite photos, so you’ll probably see it again.
Here, well-dressed, hatted, and shoed visitors arrive on an elegant yacht-like boat, the The Southland, and are being greeted by the salesmen in their plus-4s who have had to clamber over pipes and dirt to teeter on a narrow plank seawall to meet the boat. There is absolutely nothing to be seen for miles on the opposite shore but mangrove. Presumably these visitors were immediately helped into waiting buses, but what must they have thought of their initial vision of this touted “City Beautiful”! The beach at that time, April, 1924, was fairly empty except for the Broadwalk, Tangerine Tea Room, and the swimming Casino under construction.
But Downtown boasted numerous shops and two hotels, and the Central and Little Ranches sections were filling with well-designed homes in the California Mission Revival or Bungalow styles. So people who arrived on one of Young’s bus tours would have had reason to be impressed and believe that this Miracle City indeed had a future. The bus tours were scheduled to the minute, those from West Palm Beach or Miami arriving for lunch, while the buses from out of state had precisely scheduled overnight stops, with the Hollywood offices kept up to the minute on the progress of each bus.
Young used two types of buses (he also used smaller limousines at times). The Kelly-Springfield buses, at left here, held 23 passengers, while the more luxurious White buses held 42 people in leather seats, with each row of seats having its own door.This April, 1924 photo shows both bus types in front of the Hollywood/Park View Hotel.
Today travel has ceased to be glamorous by train or even by plane. One area where travel is still considered a pleasure is by ship, cruise ships, and J. W. Young thought of that, too. His April 23, 1926 magazine, now called South, has a map of the “Proposed Port at Lake Mabel,” drawn for F. C. Dickey, City Engineer, and H. E. Hicks, Assistant Engineer, drawn by M.E. Berry and A. W. Longacre. The port was then called both Port Florida and Port Hollywood. At that time Young’s “Hollywood Companies” owned all the area from the ocean to the railroad and including all of Lake Mabel. The Proposal shows the intention to share the port with Fort Lauderdale (thereby also sharing the expenses). It was anticipated that by 1928 the “largest ships that sail the seas” would come in to Port Florida.
Finally, in that same April, 1925 issue Young devoted a page to yachts seen in Biscayne Bay, the centerpiece of which was his own Jessie Faye seen from the stern.