Oct.-Nov. in the 20s and 30s: Architecture, Dixie Highway, more

BUILDINGS TO SAVE:  A timely reminder about saving our Florida history was in the November 17, 2013 Miami Herald, Home & Design Section. Called “Embracing Mid-Century Style,” by Larry Barszewski it was an illustrated piece about the wonderful examples of Mid-Century Modern architecture that can be found in Fort Lauderdale. Once again, Hollywood is the neglected child, but those of us who know Hollywood are aware that Mid-Century Modern architecture abounds in our city. A great example of the swooping curved roof currently stands on the northeast corner of U.S. 1 at Young Circle.NEBA Papa John's Mi-Mo

Right, This little structure began as a NEBA shop, I’m told, and was last a Papa John’s Pizza.

Warning! This wonderful building is endangered, scheduled to be demolished.  I hope someone will take up the challenge and begin to document Hollywood’s 1950s architecture.

Why can’t builders work around existing structures? Many of us in the city tried to save the very historic 1923 Kington mansion on the Dixie Highway at Van Buren Street, built by a millionaire friend of J. W. Young’s to Kington mansion NE exposure. Oct. 1923indicate to travelers along the main route (the Dixie) that Hollywood would become a substantial city. How much more interesting “Hollywood Station” would be with this handsome historic structure incorporated in it.      Right: north and east facades of the Kington mansion, from the October 1923 Hollywood Reporter.

Dixie Highway, soon to be 100. Now to return to the month-by-month format, still catching up with October and November. Speaking of the Dixie Highway, in October, 1915, Carl Fisher (builder of the Indianapolis Speedway and founder of Miami Beach) began a month-long “dedication tour” of the brand-new Dixie, leaving from Chicago and arriving in Miami on November 5, 1915. Others who made the drive with Fisher included Judge M. J. Allison of Chattanooga, President of the Dixie Highway and his wife (the only woman on that first drive). Fisher’s group’s progress was followed avidly by newspapers along the way as they opened up the first north-south auto road in the US. So take note: in 1915 the Dixie Highway will celebrate its 100th year!

Five years later, beginning on November 1, 1920, J. W. Young sent 12 of his hand-picked employees, chiefly salesmen, to drive down the Dixie in three Ford touring cars from Indianapolis to the newly-purchased property that would shortly become Young’s city, Hollywood By-the-Sea.  One of those twelve men was my father, A. C. Tony Mickelson, who as a surveyor would lay out the city for Young.  According to Mickelson, his group arrived in Miami on November 11, 1920, stayed one night in the Tamiami Hotel then moved to a rooming house next to the White Temple church.

Interesting incidentals for November, 1920: on November 19 the Miami Herald mentions a campaign to change the name of Miami Beach to Miami By-the-Sea. And on the same date the Ft. Lauderdale Sentinel went into detail about how Thomas N. Stilwell from Anderson, Indiana, had begun to bring in dredges to “salvage useless swampland” which would become the Idlewyld and Riviera sections of Fort Lauderdale. Fisher was also doing extensive dredge-and-fill work in Miami, land-creating activities that had not escaped the attention of J. W. Young.

Who owned the land? When I give my talks about Young and Hollywood people ask who owned the land before Young?  The answer: there were various owners. Young didn’t buy all the land at once. The first square mile was purchased from Dania farmer Stephen Alsobrook. Others who sold to Young included Martin Frost of Dania (owned today’s Orangebrook area), Harry T. Tubbs, Sr. (also Dania) who farmed much of the East Marsh all the way to Lake Mabel, also John Gregory and Richard Swanson from Dania. Young bought the beach island from Olof Zetterlund of Hallandale, and other land from other Hallandale farmers.

Hollywood’s day-by-day growth is chronicled in Young’s Hollywood Reporter from 1922 to 1926, too much to list here, I’ll pick and choose.

Young’s city is incorporated. In November, 1925 Young had apparently decided that he no longer needed to be in sole charge of a fairly sizable city, population around 20,000, so he had the city incorporated.  So Hollywood is either 88 or 93 years old, depending on whether you count from incorporation in 1925 or founding in 1920. In any case, Hollywood is a city with substantial history now, more than many countries.

A city commission was created for the newly-incorporated Hollywood, and they immediately elected J. W. Young as mayor.  He in turn immediately resigned (he was beginning to focus on developing Port Everglades), and Paul R. John became Hollywood’s second mayor.

Hollywood-related factlets:  in 1926 the town of Hollywood, New Mexico was founded, named after the one in Florida. Many people assume there is only one Hollywood, and write to us for info about the movies, Rodeo Drive, movie star homes, etc. We tell them that there are some 17 Hollywoods in the US, some dating to the 19th century.

How the movie Hollywood got its name. If you want to read about how California’s Hollywood got its name, please see my biography of Joseph W. Young, Jr., page 51.  It’s an amusing story. All my own research!

Hollywood in the Hills.  On November 18, 1927 Young brought a special train down from upstate New York bringing visitors from that area to see his Florida city.

Less than a year later Young would buy 17,000 acres in the Adirondacks to create his Hollywood in the Hills in Old Forge, New York (also discussed in my biography of Young).Hollywood Hills Hotel sign and First Lake, 1935

Left:  sign for Hollywood Hills Hotel, part of Young’s Hollywood in the Hills resort in Old Forge, New York, on First Lake in the Fulton Chain.Postcard.

Moving on now to the 1930s:

One of the first items I located in the 1934 Hollywood Herald for October 5 was a listing of some local businesses including C. B. Smith, Fred Willis, Mark Tully, and B. C. Lukens, architect.Hwd Herald Oct 5, 1934, p. 4

Another is entitled “Millwork.” Just a week or so earlier I had a comment from Diane Wakelyn reminding me that her family had begun Wakelyn Millwork, originally in Dania but moved to Hollywood after 1926. Her father was William Edward (Ted) Wakelyn, Sr., and her grandfather was Walter Holford Wakelyn. So here is an early ad for you, Diane.

Next, I couldn’t resist this 1936 ad for the Norge Autobilt Washer, sold by Norfleet Plumbing Co. beginning at $59,50. Hwd. Herald Oct. 9, 1936 p. 4

This was a fairly substantial price in 1936, but Norfleet was throwing in a set of “rinse tubs” and 40 packages of Rinso (raise your hand if you remember Rinso). Note that you would really need the rinse tubs, since the washer was just that. Put in clothes, fill with water, add Rinso, wash, then run clothes through the attached wringer. THEN you will need to rinse out the Rinso, hence the extra tubs.

My grandmother had this very arrangement at her house at 2303 Polk Street, bought in the 1930s.

A long article in the Oct. 16, 1936 Hollywood Herald is a paean to the Beach Hotel, which would be opening a few weeks early, meaning that Hollywood’s employment rate would increase substantially for the next three months.

A photo of Floyd L. Wray is in the Oct. 30, 1936 Herald.  Wray was running as an independent for Port Commissioner Hwd. Herald Oct. 30, 1936 p. 7for Port District 1.

In 1927 Floyd and Jane Wray, with Frank Stirling and Clarence P. Hammerstein had begun Flamingo Groves in Davie (the Wrays and the Hammersteins, friends from Indiana, all lived in Hollywood).

By the 1930s the Wrays were pillars of the community in Hollywood, with an office on the Boulevard where they sold and shipped citrus fruits.

Hwd. Herald Nov. 13, 1936, p. 12A really exciting event must have been the arrival of the “Million-dollar Streamlined Rexall Train,” on Nov. 13, 1936. Breeding’s Drug Store had arranged to have this “wonderland of science” stop in Hollywood during its cross-country tour.

The 350-ton engine was pulling cars that measured two blocks long, carrying the exhibits, which were free and open to the public during the train’s Hollywood stop.

Hwd. Herald Nov. 8 1936 p. 10

I’m a fan of all things streamlined, but haven’t heard of this train before. It’s a beauty. If you remember it, and went on board, please let me know.

Local Florida Architecture.  Not to be outdone when considering the “modern” future, two young Hollywood architects, Bayard Lukens and Cedric Start were interviewed in a long article in the Nov. 8 1936 Herald, entitled “Florida May Evolve Native Architecture.” According to the article, the “modernistic designs are characterized by simplified lines and flat masses of surface, well-proportioned,” moving away from over-decoration, “so popular during the last generation.” Describing some of the homes the two architects were working on, one was of “Spanish design, built of stucco,” and another was “reinforced concrete block construction in the modern style.”

The Hollywood Historical Society is the fortunate recipient of a large collection of information and photos of buildings by Bayard Lukens, donated by his daughter Lillian Yancy.  We are not so well-endowed with info about Cedric Start’s buildings, or other Hollywood architects. It would be wonderful for future generations if other architects of Hollywood’s handsome homes and commercial buildings would provide at least the addresses of the buildings they designed.

Lukens called his style “Tropical Modern.”

Vera and Clarence Hammerstein House, 1520 Polk St., 1935Fulkerson house on Tyler 9 2010

Left, Lukens, Hammerstein house

1935

Below, Lukens, Fulkerson house (rear), 1935

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One Response to Oct.-Nov. in the 20s and 30s: Architecture, Dixie Highway, more

  1. Simona M. says:

    Great article! Do you know where Floyd and Jane Wray lived in Hollywood in the 20’s and 30’s?

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