April in Hollywood. Reminder, this blog is a month-by-month recollection of events in Hollywood, Florida, generally between 1920 and 1950. Idiosyncratic choice of events is strictly mine.
In April 1915 an event leading directly to the creation of Hollywood occurs when Carl Fisher’s brand new Dixie Highway passes through the newly-created Broward County, thus opening the way for auto and bus travel down from the north. Broward County cities traversed by the bumpy, muddy, at times almost impassable “highway” are Deerfield, Pompano, Fort Lauderdale, and Dania. Hallandale exists but isn’t yet a city. Adventurous drivers can now journey down from Chicago to Miami, where Fisher’s new Miami Beach lies in wait. One who was intrigued by Fisher’s Florida would be Joseph W. Young.
April, 1920. J. W. Young hires ex-Navy man Tony Mickelson as sales crew manager for his Homeseekers Realty Company, with offices in the Merchants Bank Building in Indianapolis. In interviews he gave in later years Mickelson recalled hearing Young talking about a “dream city.” By the end of 1920 Young will have bought the land on the Dixie Highway to begin Hollywood, Florida.
April 15, 1922 is the date on Volume 1, No. 2 of The HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, Hollywood-by-the-Sea, Florida, published by The Hollywood Land & Water Company with offices at 912-14 Merchants Bank Building, Indianapolis, Ind. To date no one I know has located Volume 1, number 1. This thoroughly informative newsletter is edited by Oliver Behymer, one of the men who works with Young from 1920 until all Young’s companies are dissolved in the 1930s. This April issue describes Hollywood Boulevard, and Young’s plans for “uniform, harmonious, and artistic” architecture in his city-to-be.
April 1, 1923 is the date on Vol. 1 No. 13. The paper has expanded from four to eight pages. Topics covered in this issue include President Harding’s visit to Hollywood, in two Pierce-Arrow cars, where he played golf, and the news that the Broad Walk was “now completed.” Editor Behymer also writes that Hollywood is now “a real city, with suburbs.”
In this rendering at right, of Young’s future plans for his city, the dark line between the circles represents the Dixie Highway and the FEC railroad. In 1923 actual property extends only from about today’s 28th Avenue to 14th Avenue just east of the golf course (square, center right). The Lakes section is still the East Marsh as the land and lakes were being created. The right-hand, east-west border is Johnson Street.
Behymer means that other developers were buying parcels of land next to Young’s to develop separately. One is “the new Dixie Gardens,” opposite the Little Ranches along Johnson Street. The Little Ranches are the upper section of the plan, from the Dixie to 28th Avenue, so the “Dixie Gardens” would be in the blank to their right. Another parcel, on the corner of 17th Avenue and Johnson Street near the golf course is being developed by the Santry Corporations, “owners and developers of Hollywood Lawns.” (I don’t know where Hollywood Lawns was.) Behymer continues that east of the golf links and Johnson Street the “Venetian Villa subdivision” is being laid out.
These properties are great fodder for someone to research!
One of the editorials in this issue concerns “Pre-empting the ocean” and describes Young’s intention to keep the ocean front open to the public.
The article states: “In some resort cities the wealthy have bought the shore property–how unfortunate! Hollywood By-the-Sea will have a different story to tell. Here there will be no riparian rights along the ocean frontage to exclude the public.”
At right, Hollywood beach 1924-25, looking south from Johnson Street where the cars are parked, down the wide Broadwalk. The open beach is to the left, and the structure with small tower is the bathing Casino, the Olympic-size salt-water swimming pool Young built to entertain the visitors. Postcard.
At left, aerial view of the same area in the 1950s with Johnson Street at bottom right. The pool with parking lot behind no longer has Young’s Casino surrounding it. Young’s Beach Hotel is at top left. Postcard.
There is also a description of “The City Beautiful,” which I have discussed in my biography of Young, and elsewhere.
Young had selected the California bungalow as one of the architectural styles he would accept in zoned areas of his city. These three houses from April, 1924 still stand at 1616, 1620 and 1624 Monroe Street.
Photos Courtesy Hollywood Historical Society.
Number 1616, at left in the photo left, was occupied by Margaret and Merrill H. Nevin.
Here are the same three bungalows, seen from the opposite side. Number 1624, at right in the photo, right, was the home of Edwin and Edythe Whitson. Ed Whitson was one of Young’s closest associates since 1919. In her oral history, Edythe describes watching the flood waters reach the windows during the 1926 hurricane.
The middle house, number 1620, was the home of Orlando and Flora Forbes. He is credited with buying the first lot in the future city, at the Indiana State Fair.
Another piece in the April, 1924 Reporter, probably by Behymer is on “Hollywood Motor Tours.Big Factor in Promoting Sales.”
This photo in the Reporter is an excellent shot of the Hollywood/Park View Hotel with its off-center tower on the west side (overlooking the Circle Park) and dome on the east facade, and other Mission-revival elements that pleased Young. The article says that tours came from Miami and West Palm Beach by bus and boat. All tours were timed to arrive at lunch (sandwiches, fruit and coffee and a lecture about the advantages of Florida). The Company has offices around Florida, from Jacksonville to St. Petersburg to Orlando to Miami. Transportation included the Kelly-Springfield 23-passenger buses (dark bus at left), 35 passenger Packard buses, and “de luxe White closed busses” (seen at right with individual doors for each row of seats). Young eventually owned 70 White buses.
The April 1924 issue also has this photo of J. W. Young (center), who clearly doesn’t like posing for the camera. With him are “Hollywood’s golf professionals” Everett Nelson (left) and Lee Nelson (right).
By April, 1925 Young’s periodical has become THE HOLLYWOOD MAGAZINE. It also appears irregularly, unlike its predecessor,and is not entirely focused on Hollywood.
This particularly interesting shot shows the handsome ship full-length and from the stern. According to one of my sources, the yacht Young had built for himself still exists.
The last page in this issue is an ad for the future $15 Million Deep-Water Harbor [at] Hollywood by-the-Sea, then in the planning stages. Of course, this is now Port Everglades.
By 1927, as we know,Hollywood’s initial glory was ended. According to Virginia TenEick, the census report of April 17, 1929 shows that Hollywood’s population is a mere 2,500. But Hollywood’s energetic founder Joseph W. Young, is still hard at work, in New York’s Adirondack Mountains, where he had purchased 17,000 acres on First Lake in Old Forge, NY, had a sales force busily selling lots on the north shore of the lake, while his survey crew staked them out. Photo from Estate of Evelyn Gleason. Above, a tour boat plying First Lake in the Chain of Lakes, at Old Forge, New York.
On April 12, 1929 my parents Tony and Lamora Mickelson moved to Old Forge to work on the development of Young’s Hollywood In-the-Hills, together with H. B. Pete Wells.
They stayed there two years, until the project was called to a halt due to the national Depression.
But that didn’t end Young’s Adirondack venture, as his two older sons carried on for a time and completed the large peeled-log hotel after Young’s death.
At right, two of the log cottages built on the property around the main hotel at Hollywood in-the-Hills. Postcard, collection of the author.
Moving ahead now, to World War II, when Hollywood became a Navy town. The Hollywood Beach Hotel had been requisitioned by the Navy as a site for officer training. On April 8, 1943 a memo in the National Archives states that admission to the Naval Air Navigation School at Hollywood, Florida is open to naval officers between the ages of 22 and 35, good in math and physics. Very shortly this would apply to women officers in the WAVES as well.
Finally, April, 1947, chosen at random from the bound volumes of the Hollywood Sun-Tattler. This is Easter month that year. Ads for Easter outfits for children included the demoralizing description of “Chubby” dresses for little girls, and “loafer suits” for boys. Was this latter the origin of men’s leisure suits of the 70s?
But more in the familiar spirit of Easter is the Sunrise Service on Hollywood beach. My girlfriends and I went one year, after belatedly realizing that we would have to be up and out before sunrise. It was quite a lovely service, and as you can see, very well attended.
Finally, one of Hollywood’s celebrities of the mid-20th century, Roe Fulkerson, is memorialized by a portrait sculpture.
From Chicago, Dr.Fulkerson had his optometrist office on Hollywood Boulevard. He and his wife and daughter lived in a handsome house on Tyler Street directly behind the Hollywood Historical Society’s Hammerstein house. (Both homes were designed in 1935 by Bayard Lukens.) Fulkerson was an important figure in Kiwanis International, as chief editorial writer of Kiwanis magazine. Sculptor for the bust is Marshall Daugherty. Location of the bust today is unknown.