This month’s topics will all be from the 1930s. Catching up on June, the three main topics are: the creation of Founder’s Day to recognize J. W. Young; the status of hotels Young built in Hollywood; and Hollywood’s early movie theaters.

FOUNDER’S DAY. Early in 1934 J. W. and Jessie Young returned to Hollywood after an absence of six years. But Young was in poor health, and died there on February 27, 1934 (not April as sometimes given). Most of those living in the small city then struggling through the national Depression had known Young, and they were quick to pay tribute to the city’s founder. On June 15, 1934 Mayor William Adams and his city commissioners put forth a proclamation to the effect that each January the commission would select a date to celebrate Young’s life.


William “Bill” Adams,

Mayor of Hollywood, Fla. in 1934

Collection of the Hollywood Historical Society.

The Mayor’s statement recognized Young’s “loyalty and devotion to the citizenry of Hollywood, the influence of his high qualities, his sterling character and many accomplishments” to be forever cherished by the citizens of Hollywood and the city’s many visitors.

Founder’s Day was to be declared a public holiday.

On June 22, 1934 the Hollywood Herald published a 3-column article titled “Dream Realized in City by the Sea.” This is perhaps the first summary of the founding of Hollywood by J. W. Young. The article noted that Young had come to south Florida from Indiana, but “having completed outstanding real estate projects in Southern California [he] conceived the idea of building somewhere the Perfect City.” After describing the initial building of the city in 1921, the unsigned piece ended:

“Today we are a thriving little city of over four thousand people. Gathered together from every state and province of North America, our little city is thus imbued with a cosmopolitan spirit and ambition……..”

“Today we have seven miles of ocean bathing beach, dedicated perpetually to the people of Hollywood. We have more than one hundred miles of paved streets, six spacious parks comprising over two hundred acres, seven churches, three schools and a large nationally known military academy, twenty-three live [social] clubs and fraternal organizations, a $250,000 municipal bathing Casino, fourteen hotels and seventy apartment houses, a sound bank–never in financial danger in its ten years of operation. Truly, Hollywood is a Wonder City! The Dream City come true!”

Hwd. Herald, June 22, 1934, p. 3

LEFT:  Ad in the Hollywood Herald of June 22, 1934. 

Note that the cost of $1.00 to $1.50 was per month.

BELOW: same paper. Photos help date those in Historical Society archives.

ad for Beach w 2 pics June 34

The following year, 1935, Founder’s Day was held on Young’s birthday, August 4th. By mid-century this event had ceased to be celebrated, until members of the Hollywood Historical Society decided to reinstate the tribute to Hollywood’s founder.

This year’s party will be held on August 4, 2013. Call the Historical Society at 954-923-5590 for more information.

YOUNG’S HOTELS. In the 1930s all of the hotels built by J. W. Young were intact and thriving. The HOLLYWOOD HILLS INN on the third circle (now Presidential Circle), after being empty for a few years, was bought by Riverside Military Academy of Gainesville, Georgia for their winter quarters.

On June 2, 1934 the Herald reported that the PARK VIEW HOTEL, on its own island overlooking Harding Circle (now J. W. Young Circle) had been sold by Isaac and Fred Wolkowsky and Sylvia Wilensky, all of Miami, to Harry Prince of Chicago, for $31,500.

It would be difficult to buy a handsome, hundred-room hotel in a prime downtown location for that price today.Hollywood Hotel, later Park View. Reporter, Dec. 1923 p. 11

LEFT: Young’s Park View Hotel was designed for him by the firm of Rubush & Hunter and built in 1923.

This 1923 photo shows the west facade and entrance, with awnings on every window.

By 1934 the hotel was surrounded by handsome landscaping. On this site today is a Publix and others shops.

In June, 1936 the Hollywood Herald reported that the GREAT SOUTHERN HOTEL was being altered by converting “the present lobby into a combination dining room and coffee shop.” A “new and spacious lobby will be constructed on the east side of the hotel.” It would be “sumptuously furnished and steam heated.” “Hotel shops will be installed for the coming [winter] season and all rooms will be redecorated and a number of private baths being added.”

The manager, Mrs. L. S. Cleveland, noted that for the first time, the hotel had remained open all summer, “enjoying a good summer business.

In June, 1937 some unspecified alterations were made to the “giant hostelry on the beach,” HOLLYWOOD BEACH HOTEL, to the tune of $30,000.

MOVIE THEATERS. There was a theater on the north side of Hollywood Boulevard as early as 1923. This was called the Hollywood Theatre, built by Arthur Enos at 1921 the Boulevard.

Ritz watermarked

LEFT: Hollywood Theatre in 1923.

Office signs on upstairs windows, left to right read YALE STUDIO, J. W. KILYE, LAWER, C.C. FREEMAN, REAL ESTATE, and the last two are illegible.

Collection of Hollywood Historical Society

At first it was not specifically for movies but provided a stage and auditorium for theatrical performances, as well as a site for religious services until local Catholics and Presbyterians could build their own churches. By 1934 the Hollywood Theatre was a movie theater, showing double features with added cartoons such as Betty Boop, and Pathe News reels.Hollywood Theatre, 1934

RIGHT: the program for May 27 to June 2, 1934. Cast of “Bolero” included George Raft, Carol Lombard and Sally Rand [the fan-dancer]. The next program included A Loony Tune Cartoon. Cast of “Catherine the Great” included Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. and Elizabeth Bergner, and added Mickey Mouse’s Whoopee Party.

By June 19, 1936 it had become Spark’s Ritz Theatre, showing even more elaborate programs such as “Fury” with Spencer Tracy plus “Gus Van’s Music Shop, a comedy, Going Places No. 11, and Paramount News.”

Sunday June 21, 1936 was Father’s Day, with Ronald Coleman and Claudette Colbert in “Under Two Flags,” Brotherly Love, A Popeye, and Here Comes the Zoo, and Fox News PLUS every father attending that Sunday would receive a Hav-a-Tampa cigar–and he could smoke it right in the theater smoking lounge.

But a year later, Hollywood Amusements, Inc., a subsidiary of Sparks Enterprises planned to build a second movie theater on the south side of the Boulevard, diagonally opposite the bank and post office, according to Paul Robinson who was then manager of the Ritz. Shortly thereafter the Herald printed the architect’s drawing of the facade of the “Florida,” ultra-modern movie palace, with the “latest word in acoustic and architectural design.

Hwd Herald, June 25, 1937

ABOVE: The Florida Theatre, designed by Roy A. Benjamin of Jacksonville (1888-1963) who designed several other movie theaters around Florida.

The Florida had a wide range sound system, modern ventilation, and cushioned seats.  Indeed, it was a truly magnificent “movie palace” in the best of late 30s Streamline Moderne design. Florida Theatre, by Roy A. Benjamin of Jacksonville

If it were still standing today, the Florida would be a jewel in Hollywood’s historic Downtown (the site is now a parking lot).

Paul Robinson became manager of the Florida Theatre, and when I was sixteen he gave me my first job, as cashier. From the box office I could hear the soundtracks of all the movies, all first-run (and I saw every one of them).


In June, 1936 the name of Dania High School was changed to South Broward High School. This was probably to recognize the fact that students from Hollywood and Hallandale also went there.

In June, 1937, Hollywood’s population was 5,500. In those year Hollywood was relatively crime-free but that same month the Hollywood Women’s Club building at 14th Avenue and Fillmore Street was the scene of the theft of a 100-person silver service valued at $200 and including coffee and tea pots, milk and sugar pots, and a silver punch bowl, as well as silver trophy cups. There was no one in the clubhouse at the time, according to Mrs. E. O. Steele, club president.

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