PRESIDENTS, GAMBLERS, ARCHITECTS

SOME HISTORY FOR MARCH

1845, March  Florida becomes a state

1897, March  Flyers go out to Sweden to advertise Halland, a new Swedish colony in southeast Florida, where the climate is conducive to year-round farming. Those interested, it said, should apply to Halland Land Company, 5 Water Street NY for land prices.  The settlement was named for Luther Halland, brother-in-law of James Edmundson Ingraham, a Flagler associate.  This of course is Hallandale.

[Someone please tell the Miami TV announcers that it is pronounced like HAL not HOLL, and the settlers were Swedish, not Dutch.]  Hallandale briefly became part of Hollywood, then on March 6, 1927 it secedes again.  More links between Hallandale and Hollywood are mentioned further along.

1915, March 26  Miami Beach is incorporated, population 150. Carl Fisher’s Alton Beach Realty Company is developing land on the beach.  If you have been following this blog, you know that it was Fisher and his developing Miami Beach that brought J. W. Young here, seeking a site for his city.Roadside Rest, M Bch.  JM coll.

Left, the Roadside Rest on Miami Beach. Probably 1920s photo. 

Just for fun, and unlikely to be connected to either Fisher or Young.

Postcard, J.M. collection

In the last week of March, 1920, Selznick Pictures Corporation is filming scenes for a movie “The Flapper” with Olive Thompson.

Please note: although it’s rumored that J. W. Young built a sound stage in Hollywood (Florida) in order to make movies, there is absolutely no record of this in Young’s numerous publications. Nor is there any indication of a “movie sound stage” in the many plans, plats, and descriptions of buildings erected by Young or his Hollywood Land & Water Company.  If there were, you may be sure that I’d write about it.

Also in March, 1920, chief Boatswain’s Mate Anton Christopher Mickelson receives an Honorable Discharge from the U. S. Navy, which he had joined before World War One.  He returns home to Marseilles, Illinois, then with a friend goes over to Indianapolis, where he begins to work for J. W. Young.

March 1, 1923, the first full-page ad for HOLLYWOOD BY-THE-SEA appears in the Miami Times Union.

PRESIDENTS IN HOLLYWOOD

March 13, 1923 marks the first presidential visit to Hollywood, a city barely two years old.Harding full page Reporter

President Warren G. Harding is invited for a round of golf at the nine-hole Hollywood Golf & Country Club and lunch at the Hollywood Hotel (later Park View Hotel), pictured here. No doubt the invitation was issued by Oliver Behymer, one of Young’s key employees.  Harding and Behymer had been fellow lecturers on the Chautauqua circuit out of Chicago at the beginning of the 20th century.  In this photo Harding is the tall, white-haired man with a bow tie, in the photo center.

Reporter, Sept. 1923 p. 15

In the photo at left, Harding, center, still wears his golfing plus-four pants, as he greets Young’s sales force.  As it happened, J. W. Young himself was out of town at the time of the President’s visit.

Both photos were published in Young’s Hollywood Reporter, edited by Behymer.

Thirteen years later, on March 27, 1936, President Franklin D. Roosevelt passed through the area.Roosevelt at Port 3 27 36  In this photo in the Hollywood Herald, Roosevelt is the first man in a dark suit stepping off the gangplank, and waving.

We can’t say he actually set foot here since he arrived by “special train,” then walked via a gangplank from the train to the destroyer Monaghan, which took him to the Bahamas. There he transferred to the presidential yacht Potomac for a fishing vacation.

GAMBLERS AND GAMBLING ESTABLISHMENTS

Club Greenacres Feb. 28, 1936This ad appeared in the Hollywood Herald on February 28, 1936.  In case it’s hard to read, it says the Club Greenacres is “located 1 1/2 miles west of the Federal Highway on Hallandale Road (Follow the White Arrows), open all night.”

The ad doesn’t explain why one might want to be there all night, but the reason was well-known in Hallandale, Hollywood, Miami, and so forth.

Read on.

Clergy vs. gamblers 3 1 1937

On March 3, 1937, the Broward Times and the Hollywood Herald announces that local clergy were rising up against gambling, urging the “closing of gambling places in Broward county.” No specific “gambling places” are mentioned.

In the next paper, on March 12, 1937 the headline states that Hollywood merchants did not want a lid on gambling in Broward.merchants for gambling 1937 The chief spokesman is Oscar Johnson, manager of the influential Hollywood Beach Hotel, who says that 60 to 70 guests had already checked out, heading to areas where gambling was available, notably Havana. This was going to create a loss of revenue for the hotel, he points out, and very likely other local merchants.  Johnson wasn’t against gambling per se, but he hopes that the “racketeers in gambling” would be “suppressed.”

The Society section of the same paper, March 12, 1937 announces that the “Club Boheme Is Scene of Pleasant Affair,” a “beautifully appointed luncheon” given to Hollywood matrons by Mrs. Harry Hutchinson and Mrs. Wm. H. Rheinfrank. The Club Boheme was on Hallandale beach, literally on the beach, just south of Hallandale Beach Boulevard. I’ve heard that it was originally a private home (it’s long gone now).

Deauville Yacht ClubAnother March, 1937 ad was for entertainers at the “Deauville Yacht Club,” which was in Hollywood “2 blocks North of Hollywood Beach Hotel.”  It’s surprising to think that the small unpretentious building on the pier in North Lake was once some sort of night club.

If anyone has more info on the “Deauville Yacht Club” I would love to hear about it.

And (going out of chronology) on July 30, 1937 the Hollywood police raided the Plantation in Hallandale. There was a question about jurisdiction, but by 1937 Hollywood wasn’t allowing gambling in the city.

So what’s the connection?  Starting with the Plantation, according to various sources, by 1936 the former tomato packing barn, called the Plantation, was operated by Julian “Potatoes” Kaufman with bookmaking, roulette, crap tables, etc. Kaufman was connected to New York mobster Vincent “Jimmy Blue-eyes” Alo.  According to an interesting website called AmericanMafia and other sources, Alo was a longtime friend of Meyer Lansky. After Kaufman took on the Plantation, Alo and Lansky came down here and opened several more gambling establishments including the Barn and the Colonial Inn in Hallandale. They also opened the “It Club” on US 1 between the port and the airport (a strip joint, now gone), and had a bookie operation in the Hollywood Yacht Club (is this the more elegantly-named Deauville?).  And they also ran the Club Boheme and the Club Greenacres.

Now, although most of the Alo-Lansky establishments were in Hallandale, what’s interesting to this blog is that the proprietors actually made their homes in Hollywood.  Alo lived on South Lake at 1248 Monroe Street. Kaufman lived at 1321 Tyler Street. Meyer Lansky lived in Miami Beach, but his brother Jake lived in Hollywood at 1146 Harrison Street. These addresses are all public knowledge, by the way.

OTHER MARCH NEWS

Another topic causing some uproar had to do with the site of J. W. Young’s Tent City, or Beach City, as it was also called.Tent city, K. LaBelle coll.

Left, Tent/Beach City, 125-26. Hollywood Historical Society, gift of Katharine LaBelle. As you can see, these aren’t pup tents or camping tents. They were simple frame structures with canvas roofs. Young got the idea from a similar arrangement in California, and had them erected as he was building the Beach Hotel, since there were so many people clamoring for housing in Hollywood in 1925-1926.Tent City by Moonlight  JM coll

Right, Beach City by Moonlight, Atlantic Ocean at left. Postcard.

There was also a cafeteria, at the right in photo at right, and library. In all there were over 100 camps, each with electricity, running water, and maid service. So if you hear that somebody’s grandmother “lived in a tent on the beach,” she no doubt was not exactly roughing it here in Tent City.  The rest of Hollywood beach before 1926 also belonged to J. W. Young who was developing house lots for sale. There’s no record of individuals pitching tents on the beach. And why would they when they could have electricity and maid service in Beach/Tent City!

Although these fragile structures weren’t intended to be permanent, it wasn’t expected either that an enormous tidal wave would wash over them in September, 1926, leaving the site pretty much empty for another decade.

Beach Trailer ParkOn March 18, 1937  the Hollywood Herald said that “beach area landlords” were up in arms against the establishment of a trailer park on the site of Beach/Tent City. This 1940s postcard indicates that their complaints fell on deaf ears. In fact, in 1937 Oscar Johnson, the same manager of the Beach Hotel that was a major source of revenue in Hollywood in the 1930s, and whose hotel would overlook the trailers, said that such mobile housing was the thing of the future and didn’t object.  The site, a city block at Washington Street between the Atlantic Ocean and A1A, is now a city park and rec building.

ARCHITECTS

Finally, a notice in the Miami News of March 5, 1931, that I find truly exciting. It states that architect Addison Mizner had opened an office on Lincoln Road in Miami Beach with Robert L. Weed.  Mizner’s most productive years were behind him, but Robert L. Weed would design the Florida Tropical House for the 1933 World’s Fair in Chicago.100_1294

Don’t laugh–this is a photo I took 5 years ago–you can find many other photos of this famous house. In 1935, after the Fair, it and other World’s Fair houses were carried by barge to the Indiana Dunes, where they are being restored, as National Landmarks.

Weed shows his awareness of International Modern architecture, choosing this Modern style as best suited to the Florida tropical climate. In keeping with the “Streamline” concept of the Modern style is the flat roof with metal railing, suggesting the deck of an ocean liner.Weed house, land side

This is the land-facing side of the 1933 Florida Tropical House, designed by Robert L. Weed. Note the stairs to the deck, the straight horizontal and vertical lines, and the use of pink stucco. The interiors were in similar pastel shades of yellow, coral and blue.

This house was one of the Homes of Tomorrow in the 1933 Fair, and its architectural style had a broad influence, particularly in Hollywood.17th Court

At left is a simple single-story home in Hollywood  in this geometrical “Modern” style.

17th Ct. and Johnson St.And below is one of my favorites, with raised vertical trim, and complete with “portholes.”

Houses in this Modern style can be found all over Hollywood, both single-story and two or more stories.  It would be wonderful if someone would catalogue them, locate the architects, and provide accurate dates, before they are all torn down, as another of my favorites was (it was on the south side of City Hall Circle).

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My thanks to all of you who write me to share with me your knowledge of early Hollywood history. I hope I have replied to everyone. And thank you to all my readers!

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