As the fate of this portion of Hollywood’s history is now under consideration, I am offering this quick summary of its early history for those interested.
Before Hollywood. This parcel was planted with an orange grove some time before 1920. To the west of it was nearly the Everglades, while south and east, from about today’s 28th to 31st Avenues, was the West Marsh.
Young acquires the land. City founder Joseph W. Young bought this parcel in 1925 from G. M. Stratton, in order to expand the area Young called Hollywood Hills.
Left, aerial view of the third circle, now Presidential Circle. The grid of streets, at top, end at today’s 28th Avenue. The undeveloped area at center right would include the Stratton property. Photo by Clyde Elliott, 1924.
I don’t know much about Mr. Stratton, except that he was probably one of the salesmen for Hollywood Land & Water Company. He built a beautiful home at 858 Harrison Street in 1925 (it was on the Hollywood Historical Society’s Home Tour in 2004). The orange grove was still on the land in 1925. I have read somewhere about a photo of Young up on a ladder in a tree, picking “his” oranges.
Young called on his friend Ralph Young to plan a second golf course there, Ralph having overseen the creation of the Hollywood Golf & Country Club course.
At right, photo of Ralph Young, about 1925.
At the same time, J. W. Young had his engineers create a channel for water from the spring that emerges from that property, in order to partly dry out the West Marsh, on the south side of Hollywood Boulevard.
At left, page from Hollywood Historical Society newsletter of 1st Quarter 2004 with my article. Small photo at right shows where the spring rises just south of Hollywood Boulevard, in the Orange Brook Golf Course.
Young did not complete that golf course, and by the end of the 1920s the property had changed hands. As the Hills area wasn’t developed before the late 1950s, the golf course became completely overgrown.
Local men raise funds to create the municipal golf course, 1934-37. In the 1930s Hollywood was a very small, impoverished city that relied heavily on the tourism industry. The original Golf & Country Club, downtown, had been sold to the owners of the Hollywood Beach Hotel, so there was no public golf course for locals and general visitors.
Both Virginia TenEick in her History of Hollywood, and the Hollywood Herald of the 1930s describe the enormous effort put in by several Hollywood pioneers/residents to create this opportunity for Hollywood. As the city had no money and the nation was deep in the Depression, the members of a municipal golf board planned the work involved and raised funds to carry it out. They were R.B. Tilly Walker (real estate), Don D. Freeman, C. R. Gilliland, and Floyd L. Wray (owner of Flamingo Groves).
Dr. Arthur W. Kellner, then a city commissioner was the city’s representative to the board (a dentist, he was later mayor as well).
At left, members of the 1934-37 municipal golf board in front of the clubhouse. From left, man identified as golf pro Ben Hogan, unknown man, Floyd L Wray, unknown man,
and Dr. Arthur Kellner.
Floyd and Jane Wray had a beautiful 1920s home in Hollywood at 1615 Monroe Street.
In the ad from the October, 1936 Hollywood Herald Wray is pictured in the orange groves at Flamingo Groves, when he ran for Port [Everglades] Commissioner.
Dr. Kellner and his wife Charlotte lived at 1820 Rodman Street. C. R. and Grace Gilliland’s home was at 1352 Hollywood Boulevard (now gone). In the 20s he had been manager of Young’s Hollywood Boat and Transportation division. I haven’t identified Don Freeman.
Orange Brook property described, May 1934. According to the Hollywood Herald of May, 1934 the property was “approximately 220 acres of land in the section of the city south of Hollywood Boulevard between the Seaboard Airline Railway tracks and Park Road.” It was “to be developed for civic park purposes,” as a municipal golf course.
The city managed this acquisition by means of a swap, again according to the same article. Although most of the land in the area around the third circle had remained undeveloped, it seems that certain portions had been developed and offered for sale at one time. This made that part of the land subject to taxes. So in lieu of paying back taxes, the then owners agreed to deed this land to the city, which would maintain it, “as originally intended, for civic park purposes.”
Below, detail of another aerial photo showing the same area at upper left, with the southeast quadrant of Hills Circle (Presidential Circle) at bottom right.
Hollywood Boulevard runs along the photo bottom, to the original Hills Inn which by this time is Riverside Military Academy. The orange grove can be seen near center left. The road along the top is Pembroke Road, with Meekins rockpit at top right.
Photo courtesy Hollywood Historical Society.
Once again Ralph Young was asked to lay out the course—or perhaps to indicate what he had planned originally. As the land was cleared of dense palmetto growth, some of the old orange trees were found, as was the spring for the canal. Hence the name, Orange Brook.
Assistance with the labor involved was also obtained from the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps, part of FDR’s New Deal), who also built the hill and “fort” at Greynolds Park.
Clubhouse by Lukens. Another link to Hollywood’s history is the clubhouse, which was designed by Hollywood architect Bayard Lukens in his signature 1930s Moderne style.
At right, Orange Brook Golf Course clubhouse, south facade. Designed by architect Bayard Lukens.
Ralph Young trophy. When Ralph Young, who lived with his wife Lena at 1715 Buchanan Street, died in 1938 the Orange Brook Golf and Country Club named a championship trophy in his memory.
Orange Brook brought famous golfers. Among those who played there in the 1930s and 1940s, were Sam Snead, Ben Hogan, and Byron Nelson, according to TenEick.
The Forties brought the Women’s Four-Ball Tournament, attracting champs like Louise Suggs and the incomparable Babe Didrikson Zaharias.
In the photo at left, Suggs is at left and Zaharias is in the center.
In the 1950s South Broward High School’s golf team trained there. I know, as I was on the team.
SEASON’S GREETINGS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL!