DEATH OF JESSIE YOUNG, FOUNDER’S WIDOW. Sadly, just as the city was gearing up to celebrate its founding, Joseph Young’s widow, called “Hollywood’s First Lady” died in November, 1955.
Although several years older than her husband, she had outlived him by 21 years. Jessie Fay Cook was born in July, 1877. She and Joseph Young were married in Long Beach CA on October 10, 1903. Her obituary of November 24, 1955 was respectful, but seemed to believe that Jessie Young’s life began in 1923 when the Youngs moved to Hollywood and she “took over the reins of the Young household” and the rearing of her family. This is a bit odd since only the youngest son, Billy, still lived at home at that time. Jack and Tonce, 18 and 17, were away at school, Jack at Indiana University and Tonce a cadet at Culver Military Academy. Surely Jessie had been “rearing” them since their birth in Long Beach and running the Young household since her marriage to J. W.
photo upper right: Mrs. Jessie F. Young, last public appearance at a War Bond rally in 1945. From the Hollywood Sun-Tattler, Nov. 28, 1955
At the time of her death, having sold the mansion at 1055 Hollywood Boulevard, she was living with son Billy and his wife Babe, a nurse, at 1500 Adams Street. Mrs. Young was a life member of the Chamber of Commerce, the Pioneer club, and the Hollywood Woman’s club.
MYTH-BUSTING. Now, to deal with some myths about Hollywood. First, I will repeat that
THE GREAT SOUTHERN HOTEL WAS BUILT FOR TRAVELERS TO HOLLYWOOD BECAUSE SO MANY VISITORS WERE ARRIVING THAT YOUNG NEEDED A SECOND HOTEL TO PUT THEM IN. It was NOT built to house his “laborers.” Why is this myth being spread around by the Miami Herald and the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel and others? To demean Hollywood and the city’s farsighted founder? Please don’t believe everything you read in the news. If you want to know facts about Hollywood’s history, read my books (they have indexes and footnotes). From l. to r. TenEick HISTORY OF HOLLYWOOD; West THE SEMINOLE AND MICCOSUKEE TRIBES OF SOUTHERN FLORIDA; Mickelson JOSEPH YOUNG & THE CITY BEAUTIFUL. A BIOGRAPHY OF THE FOUNDER OF HOLLYWOOD, FLORIDA; Mickelson A GUIDE TO HISTORIC HOLLYWOOD; Gillis BROWARD COUNTY. THE PHOTOGRAPHY OF LEWIS HYDE. All for sale at the Hollywood Historical Society.
CAHOOTS HAS THE WRONG “TOWN HOUSE” And as a followup to that, the inimitable Cahoots wants you to think that J. W. Young built the Towne House Apartments that were recently demolished, from the site at the northeast corner of US 1 and Young Circle. Folks, that building was erected in the Sixties or thereabout. J.W. Young died in 1934. Anyone with a general knowledge of architecture knows that they weren’t building structures like that in the 1920s. When I was a kid in Hollywood, there was a gas station on that corner. Steve Klotz, author of the piece, probably confused this late 20th century eyesore with Young’s first hotel, built in 1922 (where the Publix is now). That beautiful building was first called the Hollywood Hotel, then the Park View, and eventually a later owner renamed it the Town House. Once again, it appears that the papers print whatever they feel like, no longer doing any fact checking.
Two views of the former Park View/Town House Hotel, built by J. W. Young in 1922 from designs by architects Rubush & Hunter, in the California Mission Revival style (now gone). At left, from Young’s “Reporter,” shows the main entrance and “bell tower.” At right postcard from the 1930s is a view to the east across Young Circle, shows the dome on the east facade. This stood on the island where there is now a Publix and other stores.
THE “CAPONE LIVED IN HOLLYWOOD” MYTH. Another highly popular myth is that racketeer, killer Al Capone lived in Hollywood. No. He did not. He never owned any property in our city. I have documented his career for the years he might have been here, between 1928 and 1934. Capone first came to Florida in 1928, when he bought the 14-room Busch mansion on Palm Island in Miami Beach. He added a dock, swimming pool and cabana, and 8-foot walls. From there he commuted between Miami and Chicago. He bought a motorboat, gave big parties in Miami, and was written up in the newspapers. But the Feds were after him, and in 1929 he was sentenced to one year in prison; released a year later he headed back to his hometown, Chicago, where he had to stand trial again, and in 1934 was once again imprisoned. In November, 1939, Capone was released from Alcatraz (you know, the prison in San Francisco Bay), where he had been since 1934. By then suffering from dementia, he spent his remaining days in his Palm Island mansion on Miami Beach. So while Capone might have run up the Intracoastal to Hollywood in his motorboat or some such, from his Palm Island/Miami Beach mansion (when he wasn’t in jail), he never lived in Hollywood. Got it?
Now, turning to historic events in the month of November in Hollywood:
NOVEMBER, 1925, FIVE-YEAR-OLD CITY ENVISIONED BY J. W. YOUNG IN 1920 IS INCORPORATED
Only 5 years earlier, the first 12 of Young’s employees who would begin creating his city, drove from Indianapolis along Carl Fisher’s Dixie Highway, leaving on Nov. 1 1920. Passing through Louisville, Chattanooga, Atlanta, Macon, Waycross and Jacksonville, they arrived in Miami Nov. 11, 1920. Among the group were salesman C. Warren “Sammy” Sammons and surveyor Tony Mickelson.
In Nov. 1923 Young established the HQ of the Hollywood Land & Water Co in a new building on the SW corner of Hollywood Boulvard and 20th Avenue. Originally this was a 2-story building, but after the 1926 hurricane the top story was removed. The building has been occupied for many years by Morningstar jewelers.
Below, the same building with the entire administrative staff lined up to pose. The company offices were on the second floor, with shops on the ground level.
The second story was damaged in the 1926 hurricane, so that story was removed, leaving the shops. Young had already built a larger Administration building on the corner diagonally opposite. Both photos from the collection of the Hollywood Historical Society.
CITY CHARTER AND FIRST OFFICIALS To prepare to incorporate his city, a charter committee was formed. Virginia TenEick names the committee which included her father, Clyde Elliott, in her History of Hollywood and describes their deliberations. The eventual charter was prepared by T. D. Ellis, Jr and Larry Casey and formally adopted Nov. 28, 1925. The first city officials were appointed by the committee: David C. Fessler, Paul R. John, Sr., Ralph A. Young (Below, no relation to J. W.), Joseph W Young, Jr., and his son John M. “Jack” Young (below). The group elected the founder, J. W. Young as Mayor. He then proposed the appointment of Charles H. Windham to be City Manager. J. W. Young then resigned as Mayor, and Paul John succeeded him.
Above left, Ralph A. Young, friend of J. W. Young from Indianapolis, vice-president of the Hollywood Land & Water Company, designer of the Hollywood golf course, and one of Hollywood’s first city commissioners.
Above right, J. W. Young’s oldest son, Jack with then wife Mickey. In 1925 Jack was just twenty and a student at Indiana University. He was also one of Hollywood’s first city commissioners. After a short stint in the US Army in 1942, Jack returned to Hollywood suffering from a heart ailment. He died in August, 1942 at the young age of 37.
Young had know Charles Windham back in Long Beach, CA, when both were members of the Elks lodge. Windham was the force behind the creation of the port at Long Beach beginning in 1906. Once in Hollywood he was soon engaged to create a port for Young from Lake Mabel,which of course is now Port Everglades.
EARLY PLANS FOR A HOLLYWOOD HISTORICAL SOCIETY. We now jump ahead 30 years to November, 1955. This was an anniversary year for the city, 30 years after incorporation. A letter in the November 3, 1955 Sun-Tattler from Dr. Jack Mickley called for the founding of “The Archives of Hollywood.” He was concerned about what would happen if the vast amount of material collected by the pioneers of Hollywood passed away with the pioneers themselves. Therefore he was proposing the “Archives of Hollywood,” and hoped the Tattler editors would agree.
Apparently others did, for on November 24, 1955 it was announced that a “Historical Group Will Organize,” led by Attorney Ella Jo Stollberg Wilcox. An open meeting was held at the Chamber of Commerce to plan an organization whose mission would be “to assemble and preserve historical material on Hollywood.” I don’t know what the results of that meeting were, but we do know that today’s Hollywood Historical Society was founded two decades later, in 1974. Today the Society’s impressive collection is housed in (more accurately, crammed into) a former garage at 1520 Polk Street.
Hollywood Historical Society’s Research Center, at 1520 Polk Street, rear, is open every Friday, all year from 10-11:30 am.
The public is welcome. Phone 954-923-5590 with questions about Hollywood history.
The Historical Society’s collection numbers over 20,000 items. Among these are old photos, postcards, oral histories, and historical objects such as the hatbox made in Hollywood (pink object just above the flag). And of course, bound copies of the Hollywood Sun-Tattler.
HOLLYWOOD’S 30TH ANNIVERSARY ISSUE OF SUN-TATTLER 1955 The November 28, 1955 issue of our hometown paper devoted 17 pages to remembering the city’s beginnings. On the front page were pictured the bust of founder Joseph W. Young, Jr. in Young Circle, my father Tony Mickelson standing where Young told him they would begin the city, and Young at his desk in the Hollywood Land & Water Company office.
Other photos included the original power plant, Attorney Ella Jo Stollberg Wilcox, and the first City Hall.
Power plant, below built by Young in 1922 at 21st Avenue and Lincoln Street. Young’s city was illuminated with street lights and lighted buildings, which could be seen miles away. The entire block between 21st and 20th Avenues was sold to Florida Power & Light.
Above, Hollywood’s first City Hall, at 219 North 21st Avenue, built by Young as a printing press in 1924, but soon outgrown. Donated by Young to be Hollywood’s first City Hall and Police Station. This handsome building, since enlarged, would make a meaningful Hollywood Historical Museum, to replace the current garage.
There is also a chronology of city events from 1925 to 1955, using the records of city commission meetings, among other documents. In 1960 Virginia TenEick would base some of her history on similar documents. And good wishes from Hollywood’s neighbors.
Right, congratulations from the new city of Miramar.
Sad to say, when Hollywood’s 85th anniversary rolls around, there will be no hometown paper to celebrate the event.
Now, just for fun, some of the ads from the November, 1955 Hollywood Sun-Tattler.
The 5-piece dinette set was chrome and plastic. The Wrought-Iron Dinette table had plastic legs and could be had in grey, pink, or aquamarine,with matching chairs.
At right, beautiful lingerie includes a full-length nylon slip, and at left, the really hot item of the moment, a puffy petticoat, to hold out your skirts like a hoop skirt. Boy, were those things difficult to pack.
The swing set, below, probably couldn’t be sold today, what with the swinging seesaw, and rings on the swings. Now, if you want to stand up to swing, I guess you would go to a gym for acrobat training. With a net below.
But in 1955 this was Guaranteed by Good Housekeeping and Commended by Parents Magazine.
This ad, above right, is a puzzler. It advertises the “Hollywood Yacht Club Restaurant,” with a chef in a toque, serving both lunch and dinner. The Hollywood Yacht Club as I recall, was a small box of a building–where was there room for a fancy restaurant? The yacht basin Young had first envisioned for North Lake never came about because the lake is for the most part very shallow, with a solid rock bottom.
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