JULY: MORE ACTIVE THAN YOU’D THINK IN FLORIDA, 1915 TO 1937

Jessie’s birthday.  In recent years we have been celebrating Founder’s Day in Hollywood, in August, since Joseph W. Young, Jr.’s birthday was in that month. We might also offer a piece of the birthday cake to his wife Jessie, who was born in July, 1877.

Youngs on board the Jessie Fay

At right, the Young family on board their yacht, the “Jessie Faye,” 1925. Left to right, Jessie, son Jack, J. W., and son Billy.

Jessie was born in Wisconsin and brought to Pasadena, California in the late 19th century by her mother. She and Joseph were married in Long Beach in 1903. Though Jessie was older than Joseph she outlived him by many years. He died in 1934 in Hollywood, and Jessie died in 1955. Both are buried in Long Beach, California.

Burnham’s “City Beautiful” movement, 1909. A July event that would have an influence on Hollywood was the 1909 Publication of Daniel Burnham’s Chicago Plan, which was his idea for making Chicago a “City Beautiful” with a system of boulevards, parks, “aesthetic and useful waterfronts,” and a civic center to mark the city’s center of gravity. Burnham believed that the object of good city planning was good citizenship, and his idea began to spread around the U.S. at that time. [For more on Burnham see Thomas Hines Burnham of Chicago.]  As soon as J. W. Young had the land purchased and his own plan for the city drawn, he began advertising Hollywood as a “City Beautiful.”

Carl Fisher: Dixie Highway, architects, golf. Truly important for the birth of Hollywood was the construction of the Dixie Highway, which was the ONLY road in Young’s land until he began the Boulevard in 1922. Carl Fisher of Indianapolis was behind the creation of the Dixie Highway, running it from Chicago to Miami–where Fisher was developing Miami Beach. The brand new highway went through future Hollywood in July 1915. By 1922 J. W. Young was running a veritable parade of tour buses along the Dixie, bringing visitors to buy land in the new city.    Buses 11-21 JWY album

Tour buses on the Dixie Highway in completely empty new Hollywood.

Meanwhile, in 1919 Fisher hired the Indianapolis architectural firm of Rubush & Hunter to design his Flamingo Hotel on Biscayne Bay. The plan was drawn in July, 1919. Soon after, J. W. Young hired these same architects to give visual form to his own new city.

A year later Fisher hired Lee Nelson to design his Miami Beach golf courses. When Young had his first nine holes put in for the Hollywood Golf & Country Club a few years later, he hired Lee Nelson away, to be his golf pro for many years, according to Virginia TenEick. Golfers & gallery, 1923 Williams gift
According to the Miami News, Young had hired Nelson as early as December, 1922 so that he could oversee the creation of Young’s golf course.

Lee Nelson is standing far right, watching Gene Sarazen putting.

Young in Miami, July 1920.  In July 1920 Young returned to Miami from Indianapolis, and arranged to purchase five parcels of land in Allapattah. The previous winter he had purchased his first square mile for his new city, then returned home to Indianapolis to plan the city.  Young had no plans for building in Miami. The Allapattah parcels were to be sold to raise some money toward developing Hollywood. These lots were where Andrew Jackson High School is now, around 36th Street and 7th Avenue.  I discuss this in my biography Joesph W. Young, Jr. and the City Beautiful, pages 43 and 49. According to TenEick, Young spent only two weeks in Florida on this trip. We can wonder if he saw the movie “The Idol Dancer” filmed by D. W. Griffith in Miami and Fort Lauderdale. It opened July 1, 1920 at the Hippodrome, according to the Miami Herald.

Probably he missed the front page piece in the Miami Herald of July 17, 1920 entitled “Weather Man Has Elaborate System to Give Storm Warnings.” Keep in mind that back then communication over distances wasn’t instantaneous. Richard Gray of the local weather bureau described the various means that would be used to warn the public of incoming storms: two red flags with black center by day; by night two red lanterns above and below a white one. Also to be used were telegraph, telephone, whistles, rockets, and the newspaper.

Building in July. Hollywood grew rapidly and by 1923 needed both a school and a post office. HollywoodCentral-BrCoHistCommCollYoung gave the city the block between Monroe and Madison Streets and 17th and 18th Avenues, and had Rubush & Hunter design this handsome building for Central School. Grades one through nine were taught here; for high school students went to nearby Dania.

PostOffice19&Harrison-BCHCKatherineLaBelleCollection

Also begun in July 1923 was this small post office, at the northwest corner of Harrison Street and 19th Avenue. This photo is one of many Young had taken of his expanding city, sometimes using models (the children at Central School, above, are real Hollywood kids).  Young saw to it that his sales offices around the eastern U.S. had copies of all the photos.

By 1925 Young had reached the peak of his building efforts, beginning the two enormous hotels that bookmarked his boulevard that July, the Hollywood Beach Hotel on the east end and the Hollywood Hills Inn at the west termination of his property, about 56th Avenue today. At the same time, his own home on Hollywood Boulevard in the Lakes Section was also begun.

51Mickelson. Beach hotelJ. W. Young’s Hollywood Beach Hotel marked the culminating point of his grand Boulevard overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. Made of poured cement, it was intended to outdo Flagler’s sumptuous hotels, which were built of wood.

Also in 1925 Rubush & Hunter made a series of some 20 drawings for the Meyer-Kiser Corporation to build in Hollywood, called “Homes in Lakes Section” on the drawings. Meyer Kiser label on drawing

This label on one of the drawings reads HOUSE IN LAKES SECTION FOR MEYER-KISER CORPORATION.   RUBUSH AND HUNTER, ARCHS.  INDIANAPOLIS INDIANA   HOLLYWOOD FLORIDA. 7/27/25

Young had decreed that buildings in the Central and Lakes Sections should be in either the Mission-Revival or California Bungalow style, but by 1925 he clearly admired the more elaborate Spanish-Eclectic look as created by Addison Mizner.  Meyer-Kiser were Indiana bankers who had been supportive of Young’s development early on. The land they owned or managed was mostly on Hollywood Boulevard from about 14th Avenue to the Inland Waterway.

More proof that young Hollywood was growing came in the summer of 1926 when Young sold the Hollywood utilities (electric, phone, water) to Florida Power & Light, Southern Bell Telephone & Telegraph, and the city (for water).

Old Forge, New York, Young’s planned summer getaway. By 1930 Young had begun the development he called Hollywood in the Hills, in Old Forge, New York in the Adirondacks. Initially Young had acquired the property as a summer getaway for his Florida residents. Even after he no longer had business connections in Hollywood, he continued to work in Old Forge, and in July, 1930 photos show the dancing casino on First Lake under construction, with a wood boardwalk along the lake shore.

OF HH casino & boardwalk 1932 my pcThis is the Hollywood in the Hills Casino, on First Lake in the Adirondacks, which Young erected in 1930, to attract buyers to the property on the hillside behind it. Joseph and Jessie gave a grand party here. For years afterward, this big spacious dance hall attracted big bands and dancers.

The log hotel that Young planned for Hollywood in the Hills was barely begun at the time of his death in 1934, but his sons saw to its completion, and the immense peeled log structure stands today, housing condos. OF HH Hotel ACM pcThe central rooms with the 6-sided stone fireplace are now a private home.

Of course you can read more in detail about J. W. Young’s land development activities across the U.S., from California to Florida and New York in my biography of this extraordinary man, Joseph W. Young, Jr. and the City Beautiful, McFarland Publishers, any bookstore, Amazon, and the Hollywood Historical Society.

Back in Hollywood: Profile of architect Lukens. Hollywood of course continued after Young’s death. The Hollywood Herald had begun to profile local men in a column called “Who’s Who in Hollywood.” On July 20, 1934 the subject was young architect Bayard Conway Lukens. Bayard Lukens Lukens was born October 2, 1891 in Germantown, Pennsylvania, and received his B.S. in architecture from Pennsylvania State College in 1915, the article read. He came to Florida in 1925 and joined the architectural firm of David and Rinderman, moving next to Sutton and Route before opening his own firm in Hollywood in June, 1930. The article ended: “while there has been but little local new building since that time, he has been actively engaged in planning many enlargements and improvements to Hollywood hotels, churches and residences.”

But the Depression was easing, and less than a year later Lukens had received commissions for two handsome homes that still stand back to back. One on Tyler Street was built for Ann and Roe Fulkerson. The other, at 1520 Polk Street, is the Vera & Clarence Hammerstein House, now on the National Register of Historic Places. Fulkerson house on Tyler 9 2010

Fulkerson house by Lukens, rear, from the alley.

New windows 9 2010

At right, below, Vera & Clarence Hammerstein house, 1520 Polk Street.

Lukens called this style “Tropical Modern.”

The Hammerstein house is open to the public on the first Sunday of the month from October through May, from 1-4 pm.

Miss Hollywood competition

On July 24, 1936 on the front page of the Hollywood Herald we learn that Miss Frances Hartley was chosen from over 50 competitors to be Miss Hollywood of 1936, during a competition held at the Ritz Theatre. Described as a 19-year-old brunette, she wore a “printed silk crepe evening gown” with a garland of native blossoms wreathing her hair. The runner-up was petite blonde Miss Frances Hilson, daughter of Mrs. Gladys Hilson who owned Gladys’ Cafe on the Boulevard. The event was staged by the Sinawik Club and the Rotary Anns. Just before Miss Hartley was crowned, Clarence Hammerstein introduced Mrs. [Fern] Paul McMann who was the first Miss Hollywood in 1925.

Somewhat incongruously the only photo on the page with this story of three lovely ladies was of State Senator Claude Pepper in an unrelated article.

Hollywood on the Radio. On July 16, 1937 the Hollywood Herald wrote that “Miami Station WQAM Features City on Ether.” In other words, there was a radio broadcast about Hollywood on station WQAM. The entire transcript appears to have been quoted. The “beautiful city of Hollywood” was created under the “guiding genius of Joseph W. Young, one of America’s greatest developers…into a glistening jewel on the shores of the Atlantic.” And so on. There was another article about Young’s vision in the same paper.

1936 Statistics Some statistics for Hollywood from the Herald:  Population 5,500. Children in Hollywood Schools, Primary Grades 410, High School 208. City assessed evaluation: $9,574,023.

Port Everglades. Port Everglades was described in July 1937 as a future Mecca for ocean trade, although at the time it had but one slip and a turning basin. The U.S. government was providing a yearly maintenance of $44,000, which assured a mean depth of 35 feet, and protection in the form of jetties at the harbor entrance. The article was clearly hoping to see port trade greatly increased in the near future. Bird's eye Port Everglades aircraft carrier bill

In this photo the port has 3 slips, the oldest in the center. Note the aircraft carrier in the center slip, which appears to be a battleship with a flat roof attached for the planes lined up along it. The yellow building near the ship’s stern is the Customs building.

Some unwelcome signs of change in the air. On July 20, 1937, other, less upbeat voices are heard in the Herald, under the headline “Hollywood Police Raid Plantation.” This doesn’t refer to today’s western Broward city. This Plantation was a “palatial gambling house” run by one of the crime syndicates (gambling was illegal at that time).  Louis B. Oliver was arrested for managing a gambling house, but the 200 patrons at the time were not detained. Oliver’s attorney, John B. Kennedy, insisted that the territory was outside Hollywood’s jurisdiction. The property is in Hallandale now, in 2013, but the 1937 article says the territory had “recently been annexed by the City of Hollywood.” Arresting officers were Hollywood police chief J. R. Capehart and officers E. W. Christian and James Lane. Apparently it wasn’t clear whether the Plantation was in Hollywood, and Oliver was heard to say that “Sheriff Clark claims the Plantation is not in the city of Hollywood,” but Clark’s response was that that was up to the court to decide.

There is clearly more to this story, but I don’t have answers.

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