In the last post I wrote about all the various travel routes through the land that is now Hollywood, Florida. So now I’ll show you the various VEHICLES other than feet that traveled these routes.
THE HORSE. In the 19th century the soldiers on the military trails between Fort Lauderdale and Fort Dallas in Miami, rode horses. And coaches on the Bay Biscayne Stage Coach Line were, of course, pulled by horses.
But, please note: THIS IS THE LAST YOU WILL HEAR ABOUT HORSES USED IN HOLLYWOOD. In fact, they were NOT used in actual Hollywood, as you will see.
THE TRAIN. The first motorized transport to pass through future Hollywood was the train. By the turn of the 20th century, Henry Flagler had run his Florida East Coast Rail Way tracks through Broward County and down to Miami. This almost immediately put the horse as transportation out of business.
In fact, it seems that FEC trains actually stopped in Hollywood before J. W. Young bought the land, for those early trains were pulled by steam engines, which of course required water to produce the steam. So the Flagler company installed a water pump at about future McKinley Street and 21st Avenue, which was operated by Walter Altman. What I recall of this contraption from my childhood was a structure with an arm that swung out over the engine, presumably with a hose to fill a tank.
The news photo, above, is the Red Cross train heading to Miami following the 1926 hurricane. It’s the best example of a 1920s pufferbelly steam train that I could find.
Below, flyer from the FEC showing a 19th century train and a 30s Streamliner.
. After Young built Hollywood’s beautiful station in 1924, passenger trains were the preferred long-distance vehicle in Hollywood.
THE TRUCK. Young himself took the FEC to Miami at first, then drove to Hollywood on the new Dixie Highway. But before he could drive around his planned city, he had to build the streets, so he invested in a fleet of small, nimble trucks. At first these carried workers who cleared the land, then came the surveyors to lay out the streets in the underbrush, then all the workers in general.
Hollywood Land & Water Company’s first building, just across the FEC tracks from the busy Dixie Highway, was a garage for servicing the truck fleet. Or as I. L. Sherron, who worked there, told it in an August 1976 oral history transcript in the Hollywood Historical Society], he was brought to the start-up city “to keep the trucks rolling.” When he came up from Miami, “the only place you could go was across the railroad crossing on the old Dixie Highway, and there was a building that had about forty Model-T Ford trucks hauling rock and at times dumping rock from a wooden handmade body.”
(Above left, trucks “bought from Sawyer Motor Company,” lined up on Hollywood’s bare boulevard in front of the new Kington building, erected 1923 by W. Ward Kington (now the Broward Building). At right, above, trucks with dressed-up drivers pose in front of the garage at 21st and Hollywood Boulevard, the city’s first permanent building, built 1922. These sites are Nos. 30 and 34 in the 2015 HOLLYWOOD HISTORICAL SOCIETY’S HISTORICAL DOWNTOWN WALKING TOUR.)
According to William Osment, in an interview with Don Cuddy in August, 1976, the trucks were started by means of hand-cranking. To quote Osment:
“I was a mechanic in the garage. My first job in the morning was to see that all the trucks were out on the road. In those days you had to crank the Model T Ford by hand. We had more than a dozen men with broken arms hanging around there. We used to push one truck up against the other in the morning to get them all started. We would get them all gassed up. We started them by pushing them rather than using the crank. On cool mornings they are hard to start.” [from an oral history transcript in the Hollywood Historical Society]
While Sherron was working in the first garage, he said there were some 40 trucks; two years later when Osment worked on the trucks, he said there were one hundred. By then Young had moved the garage across the Dixie to an open-air shed.
By 1925 trucks were everywhere in Hollywood, particularly delivery trucks, for ice, milk, luggage from the train, etc.
At left, truck delivering supplies like ice, milk, food, to the cafe at Tent City. Yale Studio photo, about 1926.
Panoramic photos posed to advertise Young’s Hollywood Land & Water Company. The building in both is the Hollywood/Park View Hotel, built 1922 just to the east of the Circle. Top row is “A part of the Hollywood White bus fleet,” said to number over 70 in all. Bottom row is “A portion of the Hollywood street construction fleet.”
BUSES. In those early years of Hollywood’s development, buses were key as they could carry the most people, and unlike trains, could move over the most basic of roads. Some buses commuted to Miami and back. These were used in particular by workers in the new city before there was enough housing.
(At left, tour buses on Hollywood Blvd., c. 1923)
But perhaps of greater impact were the tour buses owned by the Hollywood Land & Water Company. Young began with Green company buses, the dark ones in the photos, which brought visitors (read: sales prospects) up from Miami. By 1924 Young had invested in top of the line White company buses, with leather seats (on the right in photo above.). With these he brought tourists from all over the eastern US. Young’s approach to selling his city was to take passengers around the developments in Miami and Miami Beach (and Miami Springs, Miami Shores, Opa-Locka, and so on), then bring them to Hollywood.
AUTOMOBILES. Young built his city with the automobile in mind. Hollywood Boulevard was created to provide a pleasant drive through the city, around ornamental circles, reaching a beautiful sight at either end, an expansive, well-designed and well-lit hotel. Homes could be provided with garages and porte cocheres (or car ports). Young, of course, could not foresee that personal autos would grow to be almost the size of his buses.
at right, the Ward and Minnie Kington house was situated right on the Dixie Highway at Van Buren Street. (Street, lower left, runs into the Highway along the bottom of the photo.) The house has a handsome porte cochere, shown here with auto inside, and behind the house a detached garage, with living quarters above for perhaps the chauffeur. Home built in 1923; demolished to make way for “Hollywood Station.” Photo courtesy Hollywood Historical Society.
Some of the brands of autos that rolled through Hollywood in the mid-1920s were: Cadillac, Chevrolet, Dodge, Ford, Hupmobile, Jordan, Lincoln, Pierce Arrow, Rolls-Royce, Stearns-Knight touring car, and Stanley Steamer. By 1925 Hollywood was jammed with autos. Below are samples:
At left, Hollywood Boulevard, 1924. At right, Harrison Street, 1922.
And by 1924 there was at least one thriving car dealership, Sawyer Motor Company, which sold Fords and Lincolns from an expansive lot and garage at the northeast corner of 18th Avenue and the Circle.
Above, Sawyer Motor Company receives new shipment of Fords, July 1924. In background, Kriekhaus Building.
At right, ad in the April 1925 Hollywood Reporter for the new Lincoln
DREDGES AND BARGES. Since a good part of the development of Hollywood involved water, dredges were to the lakes—and later to the port—as trucks were to the land. Young owned maybe a dozen of these expensive machines and even devoted a page in his sales books to dredges.
Barges made it easier to move heavy materials such as rock, particularly rock dug out of the lake bottoms and later used by enterprising builders to create coral-rock houses. Once the shape of a lake had been created, then rock was laid in to create seawalls.
The barge that served as the bridge crossing at Johnson Street from the mainland to the beach island, was torn from its moorings by the 10-foot deep tidal surge of the 1926 hurricane and carried as far inland as 16th Avenue between the Boulevard and Tyler Street.
BOATS. Boats naturally played a good part in Hollywood transportation. Naturally because Hollywood fronted both the Inland Waterway and the Atlantic Ocean, and also because Joseph W. Young loved boats. In the beginning, when there were no residential structures in his city, Young solved this problem by means of an enormous houseboat.
With this he could move back and forth from Miami (where sales were made) along the Inland Waterway to oversee the work in Hollywood. Crew on this floating apartment included a cook as Young entertained sales prospects on board—there are at least 10 people visible in the photo, and all those portholes surely indicate some cabins.
This photo of Young’s boatyard in the Miami River shows both barges (built there) and a fancy tour boat.
Here is that boat, the “Southland,” at the beginning of its trip, at a dock Young owned in Miami beach, and here is the “Southland” arriving in Hollywood By-the-Sea, the City Beautiful, greeted by salesmen in their plus-fours. Young eventually built his yacht, the “Jessie Faye,” but that was more recreation than transportation.
Others sailed by on the Atlantic, or raced state-of-the-art speedboats on the Inland Waterway, or simply got to work by rowboat.
OTHER VEHICLES. One of these was the Tally-ho bus, part of Young’s advertising, serving a useful purpose and at the same time entertaining his visitors. William Osment, quoted earlier, was one of the drivers. He said he wore “red britches” and had a long horn that would go “da dee da dee.” This was an English hunting horn, hence the name “Tally-ho.” The bus (for that’s what it was) would go down and bring the people from the Beach Hotel down the Boulevard and “turn them loose,” then go to the golf course and leave the rest of them over there.
Finally I’ll mention motorcycles and bicycles.
And of course, Hollywood’s own FIRE TRUCKS. Young invested in fire-fighting equipment and built a fire station early on, before the city was incorporated. Clarence Moody organized the fire department for Young, about 1923. Then to his chagrin, the first fire they had to deal with was a grass fire set by his own (very young) son. One of Hollywood’s original fire trucks still belongs to the city Fire Department, and is carefully preserved in one of the fire stations.
Hollywood’s first fire station, below, built by J. W. Young in 1923, was at the corner of Polk Street and 19th Avenue. Photo by Higby, from the collection of the Hollywood Historical Society.