September in the 30s: Golf and Schools

Young cover


in my 2013 biography that covers his entire life from birth in the Seattle area in 1882, to his land developments in Long Beach, CA, Globe Arizona, Indianapolis, Hollywood Florida, Queens NY, Old Forge in the Adirondacks, and Vineland NJ, and including the creation of Port Everglades from Lake Mabel, to his death in Hollywood in 1934 at the age of 51.

In bookstores, Amazon, and the Hollywood Historical Society.

To start September with golf, actually golf courses, a brief background.  When J. W. Young founded Hollywood he put in a golf course almost immediately so that prospective property buyers would have something to do in his new, empty city. This was the Hollywood Golf & Country Club, a short walk from his Parkview Hotel that overlooked the Circle (now Young Circle), with a glorious country club at the corner of Polk Street & 17th Avenue (now demolished).  Incidentally, after several years of diligentresearch, I have found no record that the course was designed by Donald Ross. Instead, it is stated in several places that the first nine holes were the work of J. W.’s friend from Indianapolis, Ralph Young (no relation), who had overseen the design of the golf course in Indianapolis where he and J. W. played, when Willie Park, Jr. drew up the plans. J. W. brought Ralph down to improve his course because “the bunkers had been installed backwards,” according to Lena Young, Ralph’s wife.

J. W. Young went on to complete that course, and to plan another that was adjacent to his Hollywood Hills Hotel, built in 1925 on the third circle (now Presidential Circle).  Moving on to this month’s blog, when the Hollywood Beach Hotel was sold to Albert and Edwin Rosenthal and E. I. Kaufman in the early Thirties, the Golf & Country Club was included in the package, so that golf course became private.  At that time Hollywood really needed to attract visitors, so a group of local businessmen got together with the city to create a municipal golf course.  In the September 21, 1934 Hollywood Herald this is front page news. Under Mayor William Adams and Vice Mayor B. L. David, city attorney C. H. Landefeld was authorized to prepare the necessary papers incorporating the new golf commission as “a corporation operating not for profit.”

Under the banner “Reclaiming old course in Hollywood Hills,” the article describes the work begun on what would become Orangebrook Golf Course. 

3rd circle, just laid out.In this 1924 aerial photo of the third circle, we are looking to the east. The circle and one of the rainbow roads have just been put in, as well as Hollywood Boulevard that runs east (bottom to top) to City Hall Circle, which is simply a white dot. The dark area to the right, south, of the Boulevard is where the golf course would be laid out.

The September, 1934 article indicates that during the clearing of that land those involved with the new course were elated to find that $12,000 worth of grading done in 1926 could be recovered. A. J. Ewing, veteran golf course architect, who was in charge of the project, said that the jungle of wild growth had been feeding on the luxurious soil so carefully graded in 1926. Ewing crawled through the tangled growth on his hands and knees and found the greens locations as built by the Young companies. Fully 80% of them would be salvaged, he said, adding that holes 1, 2, 3, 4, 7, and 9 were ready for final sodding and greens and fairways were cleared. He expected that holes 8, 5, and 6 would be completed in the next three weeks.

Riverside Circle annotatedThis undated aerial over the third circle has us looking south. Hollywood Boulevard crosses the photo horizontally. The notation at the top left reads: Orange Brook Golf Course (top right reads Meekins Rock Pit). The course appears to be cleared and usable.

Work on Orange Brook or Orangebrook must have taken longer than expected, for it was two years later, September 18, 1936 when the Herald announced that the second nine holes of the golf course would be completed by November 1, 1936. They were quoting Floyd L. Wray who chaired the golf commission. Wray of course was founder of Flamingo Groves, together with Clarence Hammerstein. Today it’s Flamingo Gardens.

The city of Hollywood had a very small population and no money in the 1930s, during the Depression. They hoped that a municipal golf course at Orangebrook would attract more visitors. Interestingly, they had assistance from the New Deal, which provided 30 men working through FERA, “on the government payroll at no expense to the city.”  FERA was the Federal Emergency Relief Administration, created by President Herbert Hoover in 1932. It was replaced by the better-known WPA (Works Project Administration) in 1935, and Hollywood’s municipal golf course was completed by WPA workers. In 1936 WPA workers also built a “comfort station” on Harding Circle (Young Circle), one in Block 5 on Hollywood beach, and a comfort station and dressing room at Dowdy Field (which is on the Dixie Highway at Johnson Street).  According to the same article, the WPA would soon begin improving the field now know as Jefferson Park, between Madison and Jefferson Streets, and 15th and 16th Avenue. Children from Hollywood Central School would use that field for team sports.


That was a nice segue to Schools.  In 1924 Joseph Young donated the land and built the beautiful Central School (Hollywood Central) between Madison and Monroe Streets on 18th Avenue, now U.S. 1.

Central, west side US 1 Central from NE HHSThis is the west side, facing U.S. 1

Elementary classes were on the first floor, and junior high on the second.

Students in the 7th to 9th grade changed classes, while the younger kids stayed in one room.

And this is the east side. The extension to the left was an open pavilion with a nice terrazzo floor. Good place to play Puss in the Corner when it rained.

All Hollywood’s children, that is, all the white children, went here from first to 9th grades (some went to private or parochial schools, as well).

The September 15, 1934 Herald announced that classes for the junior high had begun, while the primary grades would begin October first. (Considering that August into September is our least comfortable weather, hot, humid, rainy, with chance of hurricanes, this later school opening seems eminently sensible.)  Apparently the school charged tuition, $5/month, or $25 for the year if paid in advance for junior high, and $4/month or $20 all year for elementary. The school had music classes, organized games at recess as well as team sports for junior high, a nurse on the premises, a cafeteria, and an auditorium.

Central School, Mrs. Warner's 7th Grade, 1947

This is my 7th or 8th grade class in the auditorium. At the far right is Susie Sloan, and I am in front of her with my head down. Next to me is my friend from up north, Joan Bronson. Anne Hickox is at the piano.

Tuition may have been for the visitors, for in a September 18, 1936 article it said that tuition was required for children whose parents weren’t “legal citizens of Florida”–and an auto tag wasn’t enough evidence of legal citizenship. When I was at Central our classes increased in the middle of each year by about a third, children whose parents apparently had the leisure to spend the winter in Florida.  I always wondered what their parents did. Some children came several years in a row and became friends whose return we looked forward to.

scan0003Mrs. Warner’s 7th or 8th grade class. The two girls in white blouses with backs to the camera are the two Joans, Bronson and Mickelson, and on my right is Anne Hickox. We never held classes outside like this. The Sun-Tattler must have been doing a story about the school.

Riverside Military Academy. Hollywood had another school that was seasonal like our tuition-paying classmates. This was Riverside Military Academy based in Gainesville, Georgia. In 1931 Riverside bought J. W. Young’s Hollywood Hills Hotel, built in 1925, and spent the winters in Hollywood, there on the third circle (now Presidential Circle).  The Herald announced on September 29, 1934 that it was a “banner year at Riverside,” as classes began. With 450 cadets from ten states and foreign countries, it was then the nation’s largest military prep school. Col. Sandy Beaver was president.

Riverside parade, cars bill

Here is the former Hollywood Hills Hotel now Riverside Military Academy with cadets and their band performing drills for the 1930s audience.

The city in general eagerly awaited the return of Riverside with its large faculty and student body coming into town to shop and support local merchants.

Possibly of even more financial importance to Hollywood in the 1930s was the Beach Hotel, which hired hundreds of locals during its brief open months. Long-time manager of the hotel was Oscar Johnson, who also managed the Golf & Country Club. On September 23, 1936 Johnson announced celebrities for the upcoming season, Meyer Davis orchestra, Arthur Murray who would conduct a dancing school (ballroom dancing), and as resident golf pro, Johnny Farrell, former amateur golf champion. Johnson was further quoted in a long piece in the Herald as he described how the Beach Hotel would be cooperating with the city to publicize the city, the beach, and the hotel. This must have been a great boon to the city.

That same month September, 1936, the Herald announced that both the chief of police and chief of the fire department would have their salaries raised to $135/month. The city clerk received the same salary.  According to Virginia TenEick’s History of Hollywood, James R. Capehart was police chief then, and A. J. Wilkie was fire chief.

In other interesting notes for September, 1936, the local A&P grocery was picketed for a few days for not closing on Thursdays like the other local merchants. Shortly after, the A&P agreed to close on Thursdays (in Hollywood) as well.

That month, Janet Howard, daughter of Mr. & Mrs. Vincent Howard, went off to school at the Ruston Academy in Havana.

Finally, under the “Department of Utter Silliness,” a syndicated fashion column in the Herald announced that “Furred Suits were a ‘Must’ for College,” and went to great lengths describing said suits.  All you women out there who wore suits around your college, never mind “furred” suits, raise your hand!  And this during the Depression!

college furs

Really, now, do these look like college girls?

What were they thinking?


Sorry that September’s piece is so late. I’ve been giving illustrated talks related to my biography of J. W. Young. I’d be happy to speak to your group, too!


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