The land before 1920. Today I will go backwards. I’ve been describing Hollywood’s development from 1920 forward. Now I realize people don’t know much about the land before J. W. Young acquired it, or about our Florida in general. Born and raised here, I learned the basics in school, but of course half my readers went to school somewhere else. So here is some basic Florida history, with a bias toward Hollywood.

Florida is a comparatively old state, having entered the union in 1845. But it was only settled about halfway down, to the top of Lake Okeechobee, until the railroad men, Henry Flagler, Henry Plant, and others began to open up the wilderness along both coasts. That didn’t happen until the end of the 19th century. Before the railroads there were other trailbreakers. I’ll list these trails chronologically, again as a very general overview.

This might also answer another question I’m often asked: who owned the land that became Hollywood before J. W. Young? Quick answer: local farmers. How did they get here? That is also in my highly selective chronology.

Please note: much of this info is found in my Guide to Historic Hollywood, pp. 139-59

Mickelson.Guide cover  My book is available at the Hollywood Historical Society at the newly reduced price of $15.  Also in bookstores.


Let it be noted that there were no east-west passages through Florida below Lake Okeechobee in the 19th century—with an important exception. The Seminoles, who generally inhabited high ground, islands and hammocks, to the west of future Hollywood, would have made their way from the Pine Island area east to the ocean, hunting and fishing.

Tony Mickelson, surveyor of Hollywood.

Tony Mickelson, age 26, began surveying Hollywood in 1921

At right, Tony Mickelson and his surveyor’s transit are working in the East Marsh, which became part of the Lakes Section.

Photo collection of Joan Mickelson

My father, Tony Mickelson, recalled seeing one poling his dugout through the coastal marshes in about 1921.

I have no maps to show you where these earliest north-south passages were, in the then empty land between Fort Lauderdale on the New River, and Miami and the small settlements just to the north of it.

So just think of the land between today’s Florida’s Turnpike and U. S. 1 as bare and empty (in future Hollywood), but nevertheless transversed by intrepid pioneers.

Here are the north-south routes through future Hollywood currently identified:

MILITARY TRAIL, 1838     route of Major William Lauderdale and his Tennessee Volunteers, and Company D, 3rd US Artillery, in 1838, a pine ridge route down to New River from the north, according to historian Susan Gillis

DOUBLEDAY’S ROAD, 1850s        Surely the soldiers in Fort Lauderdale and Fort Dallas in Miami in the 1830s occasionally rode between these encampments.  In the 1850s Captain Abner Doubleday oversaw construction of a road from Arch Creek in North Miami to the Fort Lauderdale area (Gillis).

BEACH SHORELINE      1885-1892        route of the “Barefoot Mailman.” In the 1890s it was possible to walk from Palm Beach to Miami along the beach barrier islands in the company of the Barefoot Mailman.

beach for Barefoot Mailman    Next time you are on the beach, picture a solitary man with a mail sack striding along toward Miami. Or perhaps he has a companion who pays a small fee to walk to Miami with the mailman as guide.

BAY BISCAYNE STAGE LINE route       Beginning 1892 this stage coach line (also Bay Stage Line) operated over a shell-rock road between Hypoluxo at the south end of Lake Worth and Lemon City, now part of Miami. Passengers on the two-day trip stopped overnight at New River. (Gillis and Bill McGoun)

OLD SIGNPOST.  Proof that at least one of these trails–Doubleday’s road or the stage coach line–went through the future Hollywood was an old signpost for a north-south route that still existed at 26th Avenue and Johnson Street in the 1920s, according to Virginia TenEick in her History of Hollywood, Florida.


Johnson Street looking west, crossed by 26th Avenue, where the signpost was      At left, Johnson Street heading west, crossed by 26th Avenue, site of a 19th century north-south route signpost.

26th Avenue looking north, from Johnson Street. 2016

At right, 26th Avenue looking north from

Johnson Street.   Picture if you can, a stagecoach

and four to six horses rumbling along here, headed to Miami.

26th Avenue at Johnson St., looking south   Now look south on 26th Avenue, toward today’s City Hall Circle, and see the dust kicked up by the retreating coach!

The stage coach was soon replaced by:

FEC RAIL ROAD     1896-1912       Henry M. Flagler had brought his Florida East Coast Rail Road south along the Atlantic coast to Palm Beach, then on to Fort Lauderdale by February, 1896, then on to reach Miami by 1912 (thus passing through future Hollywood).IMG_2550

This photo, above,  jumps the gun by about a decade, but gives a good idea of how the land looked when J. W. Young chose it for his new city. Looking straight ahead we are on the Dixie Highway looking north. The FEC railroad tracks run along to the right of the road and were laid there around 1900, followed in 1915 by the Dixie. The Australian pine trees were planted by the Miami Woman’s Club before Young arrived.

(Further quoting Bill McGoun) “Besides making it possible for more settlers to reach Broward, the railroad also made it necessary. If Flagler were to reap any return on the state and private lands which he had been given in return for laying the rails, it was absolutely necessary that he find prospective buyers. His land companies sought immigrants both in the North and in the South.”  These prospective farmers were given land that became Dania, Pompano, Deerfield, and Hallandale, joining Fort Lauderdale which existed on the banks of the New River.

That should explain how there came to be towns on either side of future Hollywood. Incidentally, as a Norwegian, I’ve always been interested to know that Hollywood’s first neighbors were Scandinavians, Dania settled by Danes from the Midwest, while Hallandale pioneers were Swedes brought from Sweden by Luther Halland, a connection of Flagler’s.

Note to TV announcers:  It’s not “Hollandale.” Nothing to do with the Dutch Netherlands.


DIXIE HIGHWAY      1915. This important road was created by Carl Fisher of Indianapolis, to bring people from Chicago and Indiana down to his new resort city, Miami Beach. Fisher and his entourage were the first to drive down the route, passing through Dania in 1915 on the way to huge celebrations in Miami.  08Mickelson

 At left, Fisher’s entourage heading south through Dania toward future Hollywood on the brand-new Dixie Highway

As there was no Hollywood at the time, hence no roads, Fisher’s engineers cut west at the then Dania border to cross the FEC tracks and continue this highway south along the west side of Flagler’s railroad, where the Dixie is in Hollywood today.IMG_3712                                                                                                  At left, the Dixie looking north from Hollywood Boulevard. The FEC tracks at at right behind the shrubs.

At right, the FEC tracks looking north from Hollywood Boulevard, with the Dixie beyond the embankment to the left.


INLAND WATERWAY           In 1920 when Young first set foot in his city, this waterway was privately owned, by the Florida East Coast Canal Company. Also called the Intracoastal Waterway, it was generally navigable, with toll-takers at various sites including Dania. Young made much use of it in the 1920s.


Map detail, 1923 showing Broad Walk

This is the initial city plan, before Young bought more land to the west, north and south. He had already purchased the beach island, seen at the bottom of the plan. The heavy line between the 2 circles represents the FEC railroad tracks and just above them, the Dixie Highway. The Inland Waterway would be between the beach island and the land. And that was all Young had to start with.

“Old Dixie” or “West Dixie”   and “East Dixie” 1923

Once J. W. Young had put in his roads, his 4th Avenue (changed to 18th Avenue) went north to Dania on the east side of the FEC railroad. This was a straight shot south from Dania to the Circle.(See city plan, above. The line going right from the Circle out of the plan is 18th Avenue.)  Locals began to refer to that stretch of road as the “East Dixie,” while the original Dixie highway that continued on to Miami became somewhat confusingly the “West Dixie.”

BROADWALK            Begun March 1923 at Johnson Street, by J. W. Young, who called it the Broad Walk from the beginning. At the same time, Young’s engineers were laying in the north-west avenues in the city; the Broad Walk was the first N-W passageway on the beach. Or at least the first PAVED passageway, since it very likely was along the same route walked by the Barefoot Mailman.

Broad Walk. Reporter July 1924. p. 17

Broad Walk. Reporter July 1924. p. 17

Broadwalk looking north  Same scene some 92 years later.Hollywood Broadwalk.

Incidentally, why isn’t Hollywood’s unique Broadwalk on the National Register of Historic Places?

1924     FEC Passenger Station, and first passenger stop in Hollywood.  J. W. Young convinced the FEC company to include a passenger stop in Hollywood, by building a station, so handsome it was considered the most beautiful on Florida’s east coast.dragimage





OCEAN DRIVE, A1A      begun in 1925 at Johnson Street on the beach as Ocean Drive.Note that Young put the road for autos along the canal side of the beach rather than spoil the ocean side.  I’ve read that Young and Carl Fisher had hopes of connecting their two properties, Hollywood and Miami Beach, with this scenic beach drive. Eventually this happened under the State jurisdiction, who numbered this easternmost major north-south road as A1A in 1946.

A1A north

At right is Ocean Drive, route A1A today, looking north toward the Boulevard bridge. It is considerably wider than it was several decades ago.


When the Railway was brought through Young’s Hollywood the rail company constructed the station house, and the first passenger stop occurred in January, 1927.100_1892

Today these rails are used by Amtrak and Tri-Rail.


STATE ROAD 7, US 441        opened 1927. At that time the area was not part of incorporated Hollywood. For a long time it was chiefly a truck route between Miami and the Lake Okeechobee area

Port Hollywood, Port Bay Mabel, PORT EVERGLADES    opened February, 1928.      Creation of the port was begun by J. W. Young’s Tropical Dredging & Construction Company in May, 1925 (Young owned the land around the then Lake Mabel).   Ft. Lauderdale Daily News, Feb. 21, 1928 HHS

US 1, FEDERAL HIGHWAY     1930-31. This was J. W. Young’s 18th Avenue, which as his Hollywood Reporter noted in 1923, had “inevitably” become the “East Dixie.”  In 1930 the U.S. government decided to extend U. S. 1 south along 18th Avenue and around then-Harding Circle.

At right, US 1, “the Federal” in the 1930s, looking north. Traffic was not much of an issue.

US 1 in 1930s

While this made road sense, it entirely changed Young’s original plan for his city. He anticipated that travelers would arrive on the original Dixie Highway, or the train, both of which ran between Harding (Young) and City Hall circles, then turn east or west on wide, inviting Hollywood Boulevard. Putting the major north-south route around the Circle, creating traffic snarls, was not Young’s original intention.

US 1 south facing Circle    At left, U.S. 1 looking south to Young Circle.


FLORIDA’S TURNPIKE      passed through Hollywood c. 1960-64. 

Florida's Turnpike at Johnson Street

Above, Johnson Street at 62nd Avenue passes under the Turnpike.    

I-95         1976. This interstate highway was put through Hollywood paralleling the Seaboard railway (now Amtrak and Tri-rail), rather than slicing it through the heart of Downtown, as happened in so many other communities in the 70s.

I-95, Stratford's bill

I-95 under construction runs along the top of the postcard. From left to right Hollywood Boulevard, near top, passes under the highway. Besides the Howard Johnson’s, another landmark is the 2 story white building in the upper left, south side of Boulevard. This is Stratford’s bar & grill. Orange Brook Golf course is at the very top left.


I hope you enjoyed this. I am soon off to Malice Domestic, a mystery writers conference, to show off my art museum mystery, Done For at the Danford, by Michal Sherring.

If you read and enjoy my book, it would be great if you would comment under the book title on Amazon!








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Those of you who live near Hollywood, Florida might like to attend this series of talks about that city in history.  Here is the schedule:



2600 Hollywood Boulevard, City Hall Circle (Meeting room)

FREE – PUBLIC WELCOME          1:00 – 3:00 p.m.

 Sat. September 10th , 2016      “Horticulture of Hollywood By-the-Sea”

Speaker – SUSAN BERRY – President of the Hollywood  Garden Club

 Sat. October 1st , 2016           “Hidden Gems of Royal Poinciana Neighborhood”

Speakers – MARY BETH BUSUTIL & JEAN MORFORD – Hollywood Historical Society members and volunteer researchers

Sat. November 19th, 2016         “Broward County. The Photography of Gene Hyde”

Speaker – SUSAN GILLIS, author and Curator of the Boca Raton Historical Society & Museum

Sat. December 3rd, 2016           “U.S. Navy WAVES in Hollywood during World War II”

Speaker –Dr. JOAN MICKELSON, biographer, blogger, Hollywood historian, mystery writer

Sat. January 28th, 2017               “From Hard Times to Hard Rock”

Speaker – PATSY WEST. Director of the Seminole/Miccosukee Photo Archives and author of three books on the subject of Seminole/Miccosukee Indians


Refreshments – The authors will sign copies of their books

For more information  email: Hollywoodflhistory@att.net

Phone: 954-923-5590

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New Book. I haven’t kept up with the blog for a few months because I’ve just brought out another book. This one isn’t about Hollywood and it isn’t non-fiction. It’s a murder mystery, written under my pen name MICHAL SHERRING. The book is called Done for at the Danford. An Art Museum Mystery. The amateur sleuth is the Curator, Robin Grinling.


Here’s the back cover blurb:

“As Robin Grinling, curator at the Danford Museum in Edgell, Mass., prepares to exhibit long-hidden still life paintings inherited by young deb Slinky Chase, something about these innocent-seeming paintings causes people to die, first Slinky, then the self-proclaimed expert on the paintings. To solve the cruel and unusual cause of these murders Robin uses her tradecraft, her skill at iconography and connoisseurship, to interpret the paintings. But if she tells what she learns from the paintings about the killer, will she be next? Stakes are high, the pressure is on, and there is malice aplenty.”


This is the book mark.  (I’m not happy with WordPress’s new setup, which does not allow me to decide where I want to put the images, or to put text next to an image. Please forgive this scroll-like format! Not my choice.)

For more about my mystery, please go to the websitehttp://doneforatthedanford.com

[The link is acting hinky here–I’ll put it at the end.]

You can also find the book on Amazon under Michal Sherring, or under the book’s title, and read the reviews. And if you read my museum mystery and like it,please write a review on my Amazon page!


Meet Me at the Book Fair. This is the Broward College Literary Festival 2016, to be held at University College Library, 3501 S. W. Davie Road, Davie, Florida, March 12 & 14

I will be there, wearing two hatsOn March 12, Tuesday, I’ll be there from about 1:00 to 4:00. With me will be members of the Hollywood Historical Society who will sell copies of my biography of Hollywood’s Founder, Joseph W. Young, Jr. for the Historical Society.


At the same time, I will be selling and signing copies of Done For at the Danford

On March 14, Thursday, I will be taking part in a Writer’s Forum from 12:00 to 3:00 p.m., and will briefly discuss both books.

Signing at book launch, 1920s style. June 2013 Photo by Isa

Signing at book launch, 1920s style. June 2013 Photo by Isa


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Joseph W. Young, Jr. found the land where he would create his city late in 1920.   On January 14, 1921 the purchase was announced in the Fort Lauderdale Sentinel:

S. M. Alsobrook, who owned most of the land between Dania and Hollywood
sold to a northern syndicate the last of last week, 1,700 acres of land along both
sides of the Dixie Highway. This subdivision joins Dania on the south side and
extends to within half a mile of Hallandale. According to reports to the Sentinel
two groups of surveyors will be on the ground this week to survey and plat
the land. The plan calls for a 40’ Boulevard to the beach directly east of the center of
the property. This new town site is not to be part of Dania, but is to add one more
to the list of East Coast towns that are fast revolving themselves into the city
extending from Palm Beach to Miami with Fort Lauderdale the hub. The price paid,
according to reports, was $71.00 per acre.

February 19, 1921 the name “Hollywood” appears, in the Miami Metropolis Herald, announcing that Joe Young had incorporated the Hollywood Land & Water Company with $1 million capital.

So I am going to discuss the naming of Hollywood, Florida today.

Why “Hollywood”? Why did Joseph Young name his planned city “Hollywood.” The direct answer, as best as my research has found, is that he just liked the name. According to Edythe Whitson, who was working for Young in Indianapolis before he even began looking for his city site, when he told his staff that he had bought land and was planning a city called “Hollywood, Florida,” they wondered why that name. Well, for one thing, he didn’t want anything named for himself, no Youngstown, or Youngville. As far as Mrs.Whitson and the others could figure, Young just liked the sound of the name Hollywood.
It isn’t an unusual name for a place. There are some 18 Hollywoods in the USA, some dating from the 19th century. For example, Hollywood, Maryland was named in 1867 for a holly tree, according to their website. The point here is that Hollywood, California, wasn’t unique when Young named his city.

Maybe there were holly bushes here? No, holly doesn’t grow in our part of Florida. Young’s land would have been covered with palmetto, sandspurs, 1921 scenery 6reeds in the marshy places, some planted fields of tomatoes and pineapples, and in the dry areas, the jackpines.

11Mickelsonleft, Hollywood in 1920

right, Tony Mickelson standing where Hollywood Boulevard would be built as a turning off the Dixie Highway, dated May 1, 1921. Collection of the Estate of Tony Mickelson.

The Miami Woman’s Club had planted casuarina trees along the Florida East Coast Railway tracks when the area was still Dade County.

IMG_2550left, from Young’s Hollywood Reporter,  1922. The sign reads “Hollywood By-the-Sea.” Caption says looking north up the Dixie Highway, with the Florida East Coast railroad just to the right.

Well before 1920 someone had started groves of avocados and mangos along today’s 24th Avenue. We had some of the avocado trees on our acre of land on Polk Street (24th doesn’t go through there).  I can still spot some of these 100-year-old trees beside older homes in the Little Ranches. And there was also the orange grove planted on today’s Orange Brook Golf Course, which was still there in the 1930s. But no holly. scan0001

right, Orange Brook Golf Course in the 1930s. Postcard.

About Hollywood, California. The most common assumption is that J. W. Young was movie-crazy, and therefore named his city for the movie capital.
There are many incorrect elements in that assumption. For starters, I’ll just point out that Young named his city in 1920. At that time, Hollywood CA was still a 120-acre community, part of the city of Los Angeles (which it still is), in the flat land beneath a range of mountains. It had been purchased in 1883 by Horace and Daeida Wilcox, from Topeka, Kansas, to create a “utopian-like community containing citizens who reflected the Wilcoxes’ own Christian values,” allowing no bars or saloons in their land. (If you want the source of all my info, please refer to my biography of J. W. Young which is thoroughly referenced and annotated.) Interestingly, Young did have similar values to the Wilcoxes, not in so many words, but his city was planned to be a beautiful place for everyone. As for bars, this was a moot issue since Prohibition was in force in 1920.

And how did Hollywood, CA get its name? I am so pleased with my research on this that I’m going to repeat what I’ve already published. The historian in Hollywood CA when I was there about 10 years ago said they weren’t really sure about that, except that Daeida Wilcox had met a “wealthy Chicago woman” on the train back east to Topeka, who told Daeida that she had an estate she called “Hollywood” because of the “verdant holly bushes adorning the grounds.” Like J. W. Young, Daeida apparently liked the name, and on her return told her husband they should call their utopia Hollywood. Horace Wilcox suggested that perhaps “Figwood” was more appropriate since they could grow figs but no holly. Daeida’s preference won. (It’s kind of fun to think of movies being made for the silver screen in Figwood.)
Ah, but where in Chicago was this wealthy woman’s holly-bearing property? In a sense it’s hidden in plain sight. Poking around on the Internet for an Illinois Hollywood, I found it, right in Cook County. When Edith Rockefeller married Harold McCormick in 1893, her father John D. Rockefeller gave her a tract of land that she named Hollywood for its lush holly bushes. In 1919 Mrs. McCormick sold some of her property to the Hollywood Citizens Association, then donated much of the rest of it to the Forest Preserve of Cook County for a zoo.
So the genealogy of Hollywood, Florida’s name goes like this: Edith Rockefeller McCormick names her Illinois estate “Hollywood.” Daeida Wilcox meets Edith on a train, likes the story and takes the name back to her property in California, even though there are no hollies on her land. Her development is well-advertised in the Los Angeles area, as “Beautiful Hollywood,” by 1903, and was one of the destination names on the trolleys that ran all over Los Angeles and Orange counties. J.W. Young, having heard the name from the papers, perhaps, like Daeida Wilcox, simply liked the sound of it.
I have wonderful images of the Wilcoxes land in the 1890s, of ads for Beautiful Hollywood, of the trolley bearing a destination sign for “Hollywood” out in what was then a wilderness, and even of the Illinois Hollywood, but I do not have the rights to use these images in my publications. Most image owners charge for such use—it’s one way to support historical archives.)

What, no movies? It is regularly suggested that J.W. Young loved movies, films, motion pictures, therefore named his city for the movie capitol. Well, if that first part were true, then it would be odd that he would think of Hollywood. True, in 1914 C. B. DeMille filmed “The Squaw Man” in a barn he rented in the Wilcoxes suburb (which had attracted farmers as settlers), and the area began to attract more members of the movie industry. But Young didn’t have to ride the trolley from Long Beach on the shore out to the northeast LA area to find film-making. He lived in Long Beach from 1902 to 1916, and during those years, beginning in 1910, Young was right in the center of film-making as Long Beach was the home of several major silent motion picture companies. There were size-able sound stages on eight acres right downtown in Long Beach, and auto and fire engine chases were filmed around the streets. Actors (Buster Keaton, Fatty Arbuckle, even Pearl White and Theda Bara), directors, stage hands lived there in Long Beach. The Horkheimer brothers who had one of the largest film production companies there, called Balboa films, belonged to Young’s Elks lodge. So had Young been fascinated enough by movies to name his city for their source, he more likely would have chosen “Long Beach” or “Balboa.”
You can read about Long Beach as a center of silent film-making in Jura & Bardin, Balboa Films: A History and Filmography of the Silent Film Studio.

No movie theaters in Young’s Hollywood. And another thing. If Young had been so enamoured of movies, silent or otherwise, then wouldn’t he have built one of those 1920s movie palaces that are so admired today? He had the resources. But in fact, Young never built any kind of theaters at all. He gave land for congregations to build churches, and he built a school. But no theaters.

Ritz Theatre

Ritz Theatre

Yes, there was a theater in downtown Hollywood, built in 1923 but it was built by someone else,Thomas McCarrell, Sr., for stage performances. It was called the Hollywood Theatre. Arthur Enos was first stage manager. Movie films were added years later and the name was changed to Ritz Theatre.

Reporters, Mayors, 26 storm 019And up along 18th Avenue (now U.S. 1) on land not owned by J. W. Young, was Brandon’s Hippodrome Theatre, while nearby was the Garfield Theatre, again, not built by Young.

At right is Brandon’s Hippodrome after the 1926 hurricane which demolished many buildings along north 18th Avenue (US 1). Perhaps they were not built according to the building code enforced by Young on his land. Brandon’s establishment was chiefly for vaudeville, possibly not the kind of entertainment Young envisioned for his family-oriented city. We haven’t located any information about the Garfield Theatre.

How Young entertained visitors. J. W. Young was by no means opposed to public entertainment. As soon as his first hotel was built, in otherwise empty Hollywood, he put a marimba band on the payroll of the Hollywood Land & Water Company, and had them playing in the lobby of the Hollywood Hotel.IMG_0052

As soon as he was able to bring roads over to the beach island, he built the Tangerine Tea Room for dancing on the Broadwalk.

Below, the Broadwalk looking north, the Tangerine Tea Room on the corner of Johnson Street, 1925.

Tangerine Tea Room on Broadwalk, 1925

Tangerine Tea Room on Broadwalk, 1925

Also on the Broadwalk at Johnson Street, south side, Young put in the Olympic size salt-water pool, called a casino  before that term became connected with gambling, and brought noted swimmers, divers, and other water entertainment for viewers to watch from covered grandstands.boat in casino

Top, Hollywood Beach Casino Pool with viewing stands filled to capacity watching some sort of small boat activity.

Beach Casino pool from ocean, crowds, 1926


Bottom, Young’s Hollywood Casino, 1925. Hand-colored postcard.








Country Club dance floor 1925 billYoung’s Country Club, seen at right, was designed with an elegant glass dance floor that was open to the stars above, with colored lights in the glass floor beneath, and a full orchestra playing during dinner and dancing. 41Mickelson

At right, dance floor with canvas roof open.  Hand-colored postcard.

At left, the dance floor, looking in the opposite direction, filled with elegantly-dressed dancing couples.




As for movie production, Young was well-acquainted with sound stages, having seen several in operation in Long Beach, and surely would have found room for them in Hollywood if he’d been interested in film-making. There were sound stages in Miami, as well. But there is no record of any regular movie production activity in Hollywood in the 1920s, not in the city or county directories, not in Young’s news Reporter or in plans by his architects, and not on the Sanborn map of 1926 which indicates every structure in the city including garages and sheds.

How Young Used Movies. Joseph Young was highly knowledgeable about the use of publicity. So although he does not seem to have been greatly interested in story-telling films, he could see the value of movies in advertising his city. His Hollywood Reporter of May, 1924 has a full page article on the making of a publicity film about Hollywood in order to “take Hollywood into the North…to exhibit its charms to those who have hitherto shown no disposition to come and see it for themselves.”

advertising movie, Miami company, Reporter May 1924, p. 12

advertising movie, Miami company, Reporter May 1924, p. 12

The article, headed “Movies. Graphic Local Scenes Taken for Advertising Purposes,” stated that two reels of films about the making of the city had been commissioned from the Kniffin-Coutant Photo Film Company of Hialeah Studios, Miami, to show Hollywood “in all its phases.” By this means Young was certain that “everyone who sees these entertaining and instructive pictures will have a strong curiosity aroused to see the original scenes…” and surely, buy the properties.

So, to sum up, Joseph Young, founder of Hollywood, Florida in 1920-21, had spent his own 20s and 30s in the center of silent film-making in California, that is, Long Beach, where the main studio was called Balboa. The small suburb of Hollywood, part of Los Angeles, was miles away, chiefly accessible by trolley from where Young lived. Nothing suggests that Young traveled to see the Wilcoxes development, but he could have read about Beautiful Hollywood in the Los Angeles papers. Mrs. Wilcox, founder of that Hollywood with her husband, chose the name because she liked it, even though there weren’t any hollies on her land. There were no hollies on Young’s Florida land, either, but he too, seems to have liked the name, but wasn’t particularly interested in film entertainment. He did not build a movie palace in Hollywood, nor did he build sound stages. His main connection to film-making was in 1924 when he hired a Hialeah film company to make a documentary of the building of his city, in order to attract more visitors–and buyers–to his Hollywood.Beach theater 25-26 Boca gift HHS


scan 128.tif




Three photos of the movie photographer documenting early Hollywood. Left, on the Broadwalk covering a baby parade. Building at center is a sales pavilion. The pink cement Broadwalk is lined north from Johnson Street with handsome street lights. At right, probably the first of several bandstands at the ocean end of Johnson Street. Photog at center while the band leader in his white suit may well be Caesar LaMonaca. All are courtesy of the Hollywood Historical Society.

At right, the cameraman is aiming at the Hollywood/Park View Hotel across Circle Park (now Young Circle), with the Great Southern Hotel at right, while several marching bands proceed toward the viewer.

So now you know about J. W. Young, movies, and naming Hollywood. Pass the word along!

Park View & Great Southern, 4th July parade 1925

Park View & Great Southern, 4th July parade 1924

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Orange Brook Golf Course, history of

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.

3rd circle, just laid out.

3rd circle, just laid out.

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.

Land & Water Co. officials, 1925

Land & Water Co. official, 1925

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.

Young’s canal eventually became today’s C-10 canal. I wrote about this in the Hollywood Historical Society’s newsletter back in 2004. Portico 1st Q 04 3

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).

Ben Hogan?, _____, Floyd Wray, _____, Art Kellner

Ben Hogan?, _____, Floyd Wray, _____, Art Kellner

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.     

Hwd. Herald Oct. 30, 1936 p. 7

Hwd. Herald Oct. 30, 1936 p. 7


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.” IMG_3354

HHS Riverside & OrangebrookAt left, page from TenEick’s History of Hollywood showing an aerial view of Orange Brook Golf Course in 1936. The clubhouse is bottom left and the grove of orange trees is upper far right.


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.

Orangebrook Golf

Orangebrook Golf

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.

Famous golfers.
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.

at l., Louise Suggs, unknown man, Babe Didrikson Zaharias, unknown man, n.d.

at l., Louise Suggs, unknown man, Babe Didrikson Zaharias, unknown man, n.d.


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.




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I’ve been asked when J. W. Young started calling his city “Hollywood By-the-Sea.” The answer seems to be as soon as he began to publicize his new city. At the time of the first purchases of land in 1920, the available documents show Young named his city as “Hollywood,” which was property owned by the Hollywood Land & Water Company.

What Hollywood, FL looked like in 1920, just palmetto and pines.

What Hollywood, FL looked like in 1920, just palmetto and pines.

At that time the “city” consisted of dry scrub land on either side of the Dixie Highway/FEC railroad tracks.

Dixie Hwy and FEC tracks, looking north, 1922 before April

Dixie Hwy and FEC tracks, looking north, 1922 before April

1921 scenery 6Clearing the land continued through 1920, then the first street, Hollywood Boulevard, and the first 10-acre circle were surveyed beginning in May, 1921.

Certainly by July, 1922 Young’s company newsletter, The Hollywood Reporter, used “Hollywood by-the-Sea Florida” as its subhead. 

Reporter V. 1 No. 2 (No. 1 has not been located) April 15, 1922

Reporter V. 1 No. 2 (No. 1 has not been located) April 15, 1922

This continued throughout the life of the Reporter. Meanwhile, “Hollywood By-the-Sea” was used in the company’s extensive advertising blitz, from ads in the Tallahassee Daily Democrat of December 15, 1921, to a July, 1922 brochure “Facts about Miami and Hollywood-By-the-Sea Florida.”

The January 15, 1923 Reporter indicates that the recently-formed Chamber was named the “Hollywood-by-the-Sea Chamber of Commerce.” Later, a 1927 brochure published by JW Young Properties Inc. used the address Hollywood-by-the-Sea, Florida, with offices in New York at 535 Fifth Avenue and in Chicago at 180 North Michigan Avenue.
One possible source for this pleasing description may have been a 1920 campaign to change the name of Miami Beach to “Miami by the Sea,” according to the Miami Metropolitan Herald of November 19th. The nearby development of Fulford-by-the-sea came along after Hollywood had been well-publicized (and it wasn’t by the sea).
Perhaps both of these sobriquets were inspired by the popular song, “By the sea, by the sea, by the beautiful sea….” published in 1914 (and later sung to me by my grandmother).
Young’s Hollywood wasn’t precisely by the sea initially, but he surely chose the property with an eye on the barrier island just to the east of his land, and very shortly he began to purchase parts of that island, beginning with the section that today is from Johnson to Washington Streets. Next he added sections to the north as far as Sheridan Street, and eventually J. W. Young’s companies owned the entire barrier island from its north tip south, only excluding Hallandale.

Beginning in 1924, residents began writing songs about their city, and all of the songs refer to “Hollywood By-the-Sea.” The first song with that title was by Phil Vitsky, who had been a song-and-dance man in vaudeville before coming to Hollywood to run the Western Union telegraph office. According to Virginia TenEick, Vitsky’s “Hollywood By-the-Sea” was widely played by dance bands and radio stations around the nation.  Just imagine, people around the US singing about Hollywood By-the-Sea since 1924!

Of course, Hollywood, Florida isn’t just a beach, it’s an entire city. To my knowledge, none of the other 16 or so Hollywoods in the USA is on the shore, so our Hollywood surely could claim the distinction of being “Hollywood By-the-Sea”!


Now I’ll return to the monthly format, which in this blog will include events in both October and November.

November 1-11, 1920. Having bought the land, Young was eager to begin developing his future city. As his business at that time was in Indianapolis, Young needed people on hand in Florida, so he sent twelve salesmen and engineers to drive down Carl Fisher’s Dixie Highway to get the ball rolling. Two of these were salesman C. W. Sammons and my father, 25-year-old World War One Navy veteran, A. C. Tony Mickelson. The drive from Indianapolis to Miami down the young Dixie Highway—it was completed only in 1915—took eleven days. Most of the next year involved clearing the land of palmetto scrub.
November, 1920. Warren G. Harding is elected US president. This involves Hollywood as he would visit the city in 1923.

November 19, 1921. According to Virginia TenEick in her History of Hollywood, the Young company’s first sales pavilion was opened on the southwest corner that would become Harrison Street and 19th Avenue. 1st sales pavilion Harrison St.

At right, cars and people surround a large tent that was Hollywood Land & Water Company’s first (of three) sales pavilions. These crowds arrived in the new little city by driving from Miami or from as far north as Palm Beach along the Dixie Highway. The tent seated 350 on built-in benches. Young also brought prospective buyers to his city by bus. All who came were served lunch consisting of an apple, a sandwich, piece of pie, and coffee. Then came the sales pitch couched as a lecture on the beauty and advantages of living in south Florida. Buyers were many and eager.

Late 1921. The first permanent building was erected in Hollywood was completed. This was the company garage, built at the city’s first street corner, 21st Avenue and Hollywood Boulevard.Garage with trucks

It is described in the second issue of the Reporter: “To care for the automotive equipment the Company has built a handsome garage, 66×115 feet which is now in operation.” (April 15, 1922)

Right, Hollywood’s first permanent building, initially a maintenance garage, stands on the northwest corner of 21st Avenue and Hollywood Boulevard. The photo here would have been taken from the FEC railroad tracks. Displayed here are a dozen or so of Young’s working trucks, neatly lined up, driven by a group of the black workers who built Hollywood. Photo dated October 25, 1922.

Two points here: one is to note that April , 1922 was the second issue of the Hollywood Reporter. Therefore, there was a first issue, from earlier in 1922. But no copy of this first issue, V. 1, no. 1, has yet been found.

Also, I hope these photos are getting across the fact that Hollywood was begun as part of the age of the automobile. I have yet to find any reference to horses in the earliest material on the city. Young’s company owned cars, buses, trucks, steam shovels, dredges, even boats–but no horses. 1921 hollywood blvd 4

Left: Hollywood Boulevard in 1921. Some of Young’s trucks, tractors, and rollers at work building the city’s roads.

Steam shovels RThompBelow right: two of the Company’s steam shovels excavating oolite limestone that was used to surface the roads. Photo gift to Hollywood Historical Society by Ralph Thompson.

The first impression of newcomers to the city in the early Twenties was its  bright, daytime glare. 

Houses were constructed with space for autos, not stables for horses. That was the past, and Hollywood was very much part of the Roaring Twenties, the FUTURE.  If you are watching “Miss Fisher’s Mysteries” you might get a sense of life (on a less grand scale) in Hollywood in the Twenties.

Two other buildings were begun about the same time as the garage.  These were the Hollywood Land & Water Company’s first administration building, and its neighbor, a group of stores.1st office under constr

At right, the first Administration Building under construction in 1922, on the southwest corner of Hollywood Boulevard and 20th Avenue. Originally the offices were on the 2nd floor with shops below. The 2nd floor was removed in the 1920s. Today this is Morningstar’s.

Nov 18 1923 office force 10At left, the Bastian Building, also 1922, and like the Admin Building designed by Rubush & Hunter. 

1st officeBelow, both buildings. 20th Avenue runs between them, as it does today.

A sign for “Sodas” is on the east corner of the Admin building, while Black’s Drugs are advertised on the Bastian Building.

Black’s was Hollywood’s first drug store, followed on this same corner by Yaguda’s and then Iris Drugs.

In October, 1923, the Hollywood Reporter announced that “finishing touches” were being added to the new golf course.

Nov. 15 1922

Nov. 15 1922

At that time, there was really not much to see, but the Reporter wanted readers (hence, buyers) to know that Hollywood had an 18-hole golf course just a few blocks from downtown.

Left, Reporter page, indicating that the photo was by “Fishbaugh.”

Also in October, 1923, the Hollywood Land & Water Company was proud to announce that the all-black city of liberia houseLiberia was formally opened.

I’ve described Liberia extensively in previous blogs, and will note here that the Reporter states that it was developed with water and electricity, land for schools and churches (donated by Young as he did in Hollywood), and now had four homes built and ready for occupancy.

Speaking of electricity, please note that from its earliest days, Hollywood was wired for electricity, with lines underground downtown, and in the alleys in residential sections.

Elec & Water plants 1924 Leonard giftOn October 24, 1922, according the the November 15th Reporter, the city residents celebrated the start up of the big power plant, and “immediately the lights blazed up in the store and office buildings, in the public garage, in the water works, in the light plant, and in the sixteen houses that were occupied at that time.”dixie at night

The Company planned to install street light fixtures all up and down the Boulevard and around the Circle, which would be called the “White Way,” according to the 1922 Reporter. At some point handsome street lights also lined the Dixie Highway from Dania to Hollywood’s south border. As both surrounding towns, Dania and Hallandale, had large amounts of acreage given over to farming (and not requiring illumination), Hollywood all lit up must have stood out like a space ship landing.

2nd sales Pavilion, BoulevardIn November, 1922 the second sales pavilion was erected, a large, open, 2-story frame structure on Hollywood Boulevard at 16th Avenue. This was about as far east as Young could go on the Boulevard at that time while the Lakes Section was still under creation. The top story gave visitors a view of the beach and ocean.

Also in November, 1922 the future Park View Hotel was under construction, Young’s first hotel, designed by Rubush & Hunter.

Reporter Nov. 15 1922 v. 1 no. 9

Reporter Nov. 15 1922 v. 1 no. 9

Originally it was called the Hollywood Hotel, until the hotel on the beach was built, Hollywood Beach Hotel. To prevent confusion, this was changed to the Park View Hotel as it overlooked Circle Park.

In the photo at the bottom of the Reporter page of November 15, 1922, at left, the nearly-completed hotel is described as “Gracefully elongated. Facing the Circle the design is Spanish Renaissance, while toward the sea Moorish effects will add an artistic touch.”  Not visible in the photo of the west facade, the “Moorish effect” is represented by a gold dome off-center to the north.

City is incorporated November, 28, 1925.

From empty scrub land in 1920, J. W. Young had created a thriving city and was ready to hand its management over to others. The city of Hollywood was formally incorporated in November, 1925, then needed officials to run it so the first officials were appointed by the committee that had drawn up the city charter. These commissioners were Joseph W. Young, Jr., his son John “Jack” Young, Ralph Young (no relation), Paul R. John, and David Fessler. This group immediately voted for J. W. Young to be Hollywood’s first mayor.


To celebrate the 90th anniversary of Hollywood’s incorporation, a walking tour of the historic Downtown was held November 1, 2015, with visitors guided along the tour by an illustrated descriptive booklet, prepared by the Hollywood Historical Society with support from the city. I wrote the text, images were lent by the Hollywood Historical Society and HistoryMiami, and Gabriela Milner designed the handsome booklet.

Copies may still be purchased from the Hollywood Historical Society.  Call 954-923-5590 or email HollywoodFLhistory@att.net

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