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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Greetings from Hollywood in Florida 1930s Schaaf

Greetings from Hollywood in Florida 1930s. Postcard

Beginning in 1935, August 4th has been a date celebrated in Hollywood as Founder’s Day to honor the birthday of Joseph Wesley Young, Jr., founder of the city. As I have written about Founder’s Day before, this time I’ll narrow down to some of the beginnings of both Young and his city.  But before that, let me also mention Young’s beloved wife Jessie Fay Cook, who was born in July, 1877 in Wisconsin.

Joseph Young was probably born in Seattle, in 1882. As I discuss in my biography of Young,* there is no written document of his birth. Probably it was noted in a family Bible, but as Joseph was one of seven children, any such family document may have gone with one of his sisters. There is no state record for the simple reason that in 1882, Washington was not yet a state. The Territory of Washington was an incorporated territory of the U.S. from 1853 to November, 1889, when the State of Washington was admitted to the union. Joseph Young, Jr.’s presence first appears on an official record in the 1892 census, at age ten.

Among major events in Washington Territory around the time of Young’s birth was the arrival of the Northern Pacific railroad at Puget Sound in May, 1888, linking the Seattle area to the eastern U.S. Later, as a developer, Young made certain that all his properties had easy access to good transportation.

And one more event during Young’s youth in the Pacific Northwest, was the Klondike Gold Rush. In 1898 apparently Joseph Sr. and 16-year-old Jr. did give gold prospecting a try. They didn’t strike gold, and by 1900 Jr. had moved on to California.


Young Comes to Florida. Moving forward now to the Florida portion of J. W. Young’s life. He first came to Florida in January, 1920, with his wife Jessie and business partner Ed Whitson. Young was following the lead of millionaire entrepreneur showman, Carl Fisher, and others who were bitten by the urge to create beautiful tropical paradises. Looking around the Miami area, Young’s first step toward acquiring his dream site was to buy five commercial lots in Allapattah solely to develop then sell them, raising the cash he would use to buy his perfect site. In the summer of 1920 he returned alone and found his site, between two little farm towns in Broward County, Dania and Hallandale.

In 1920 Joseph W. Young bought a square mile of undeveloped Florida land, high, dry ground that was chiefly covered with palmetto and jack pines. Snapshot from the Estate of Tony Mickelson

In 1920 Joseph W. Young bought a square mile of undeveloped Florida land, high, dry ground that was chiefly covered with palmetto and jack pines.
Snapshot from the Estate of Tony Mickelson

Young envisions a city. Now I will try to show how visionary Young was in creating his beautiful city.  After seeing the undeveloped bit of scrub land, Young hurried back to his Indianapolis office with sketches he had made for the city plan.

Map detail, 1923 showing Broad Walk

Map detail, 1923 showing Broad Walk

At right is the engineer’s drawing of the beginning of Hollywood’s city plan, made from Young’s sketches, according to several who were close to Young in 1920. Quoting them in her book, Virginia TenEick says Young described his ideas: a wide boulevard extending from the ocean to the edge of the Everglades. Centrally located will be the business section. On each side of the [eventual] boulevard and opening into the canal [then the Inland Waterway] we will create two lakes, each with a turning basin for yachts. Material dredged from the lakes will be the fill to elevate the lowland then occupied by mangrove. We must plan large park areas and locations for schools and churches. A golf course, a large clubhouse or community building. This will be a city for everyone, from the opulent at the top of the industrial and society ladders to the most humble of working people.

JWY 1920 3027 Washington Blvd. Indianap.

3027 Washington Blvd. Indianapolis

Young’s own background would put him in the “working people” category.

He and Jessie moved every year from 1919 to 1925. This was their home in Indianapolis in 1920, a nice middle-class home for a family with three school boys. J. W. Young would soon thereafter become a millionaire.

To grasp the genius of Young’s vision, go back to the 1923 plat, above. The horizontal dark line near the center represents the two north-south arteries through the property, the FEC railroad and the Dixie Highway. (U.S. 1 was not in Hollywood before 1930.)  Find the golf course, the open rectangle near center right. From its bottom edge (today’s 14th Avenue) up to the top of the plat was dry ground. From today’s 14th to 11th Avenues was tidal. The rest was simply watery marsh, to the Inland Waterway, and across to the totally empty beach barrier island.

Note that Young said he would “create the two lakes.” He meant just that. No lakes existed when he bought the land. Here are some photos to try to suggest the effort it took–and the vision–for Young to create his city from the property he had acquired.

First, here is where Young had his surveyors begin to lay out his city. This is my father, Tony Mickelson, head of Young’s surveying party, standing in the underbrush where Young planned that his wide boulevard would cross the Dixie Highway and the FEC railroad tracks. Mickelson looks west (where the tracks are), with his back to the east. This photo, taken in May, 1921, was published in the August, 1922 Hollywood Reporter.

Hollywood begins. Tony Mickelson at the site of the Boulevard overlooking the Dixie Highway. Published May, 1921. Collection Joan Mickelson

Hollywood begins. Tony Mickelson at the site of the Boulevard overlooking the Dixie Highway. Published May, 1921. Collection Joan Mickelson

Below is the same site just three years later, looking to the east from the railroad tracks down the Boulevard now lined with stores.

scan 101.tif

At left, downtown Hollywood in 1925.

Now, look again at the plat for early Hollywood (drawn by engineer Frank Dickey)

My father, who knew every inch of the land in early Hollywood, described it in a later interview:  The elevation of the present Federal Highway (18th Avenue) was 10 feet, he said, with a gradual eastward slope to 14th Avenue. It was tidal from there [to 11th] and the rest was pretty much under water. The survey had to be accurate to insure proper drainage.  The highest point was at the railroad tracks, 12 feet above sea level.

Disk 6 county 2 033This aerial from April 1924 by Clyde Elliott shows what Young’s engineers were working with. Hollywood Boulevard begins just about center left and goes diagonally to the top. The dark horizontal line is the railroad and Dixie Highway. At upper right, the glare is from the watery East Marsh where the engineers were creating North and South Lake. The last road along the upper left is Johnson Street.

When Young bought the property, the future Johnson Street was a dirt track used by Dania farmers in their tomato fields. Young needed to create a road on this track to the canal (Inland Waterway) and cross from there to the beach island.

Dredge building up Johnson Street. 1922. ACM estate

Dredge building up Johnson Street. 1922. ACM estate

So by digging a channel alongside the track, his men were able to float a dredge along it, digging up rock to build up the roadbed for Johnson Street. I don’t know who the man is, standing on the dredge.

Central section, 4 24  Here is another of Clyde Elliott’s aerial views from April, 1924. This looks east from directly over Hollywood Boulevard. Along the bottom run the Dixie Highway and FEC tracks. Circle Park (today’s Young Circle) is at the center, and the still-draining Lakes section is along the top. Harrison and Tyler Streets, nearly as wide as the Boulevard, have been rock-surfaced, as have some other streets, and buildings appear.

West of the Dixie Highway. In August of 1922 my father, Tony Mickelson, who knew where the best ground was, purchased two lots in the newly-formed Little Ranches, at what would be 2301 Polk Street. I believe he said that land there is 14 feet above sea level. As each lot was a half-acre, that gave him a full acre, and that’s where I grew up,100_3452

running free over the sandspurs, also periwinkles, lantana, and other flowers that grew wild in the empty lots and sheltered little rabbits and mice, and the occasional gopher tortoise.

This image is a continuation of the above view, showing the west side of the Dixie Highway, the area Young called the Little Ranches. The Boulevard is the wide white strip at left, and the Australian pines run along the FEC tracks.  (They were apparently planted in 1915 by the Miami Woman’s Club.)

My father’s notes continue:   From the FEC tracks westward to 28th Avenue were the Little Ranches. Then from 28th Avenue to the

3rd circle, just laid out.

3rd circle, just laid out. April, 1924 Clyde Elliott

Seaboard tracks [now Tri-rail and Amtrak]  and beyond was all swamp, called the West Marsh. In the photo, left, note that the streets all end at the same place, 28th Avenue, where the marsh began. The Seaboard railroad wasn’t put in until 1926. Mickelson continued: the area was sometimes dry enough to grow tomatoes. From the present Orange Brook Golf Course north to the present Dania Cutoff Canal [C-10] was all swampy. So, to build a golf course [which later became Orange  Brook [the dark patch at center right] a canal was dug, at Young’s expense, from

C-10 Canal

C-10 Canal

there to the Cutoff Canal.Source of C-10 at OB Golf 2004

Here is the C-10 Canal today, taken from the Johnson Street bridge crossing.

Below is its source in the Orange Brook Golf Course, where a fresh-water spring rises above ground. It first created the West Marsh, and today it’s the source for the C-10 canal.

More about the Little Ranches area.

Riley Walter, another early pioneer who bought property in the Little Ranches, in a later interview described that part of Hollywood around 1922. He said that pineapples were grown in today’s City Hall Circle and surrounding area. Turpentine mangoes grew in the Polk-Taylor area, around 23rd Avenue.  The site of the Orange Brook Golf Course was an abandoned farm, with an old barn still there in the early 1920s. And at 24th Avenue and Johnson Street, south side,there was a frame house where Young Company black laborers lived in 1922-23.

Young Landscapes His City to the East. Hollywood west of the Dixie Highway was allowed to grow more or less as it pleased after some palmetto was cleared, but east of the Dixie Young had the land cleared right down to the dirt, so that he could landscape it. He hired a professional horticulturalist, Charles Olson, from Rochester, New York, to grow and design beautiful plantings.

greenhouseHere is the slat house, or greenhouse, where Olson planted seedlings and cuttings, of coconut and royal palms, pithecolobium and eucalyptus trees, hibiscus, pandanus, ixora, poinsettias, oleanders, bougainvillea, crotons, and numerous other plants, up to 100 varieties.

Young had Olson design plantings for the Circle, Golf Course, and along the sidewalks in the Central (Parkside) and Lakes Sections. Another reason for Hollywood’s lush garden look today.

More about August activities. On the beach, in the summer of 1923, Young began to extend his Broadwalk south from Johnson Street down to Washington Street. When the Broadwalk was begun, it ran north from Johnson to about today’s Sheridan Street, according to aerial views of the beach.

Tent City begins. Also in August, 1923, Young began planning Tent City, or Beach City, a “resort under canvas” to accommodate the huge throngs flocking to Hollywood, who wanted to stay on the beach before the Beach Hotel was built. IMG_0768

Young got the idea from similar tent colonies in Catalina, CA. They weren’t actually tents, but frame cabins with floors and canvas roofs, with electricity, running water, and maid service.  They varied from two to four rooms, over 100 cabins by 1925. In this view, taken from the east by Bobby Yale, South Lake can be seen in the distance (center right).

Disk 5 county one 035

The entire “city” was laid out in rows like streets. As the brochure, left, indicates, visitors were provided with a cafeteria (bottom right) and a lounge and library (bottom left).

Needless to say, Beach City did not survive the 1926 storm surge.

On August 3, 1923, President Warren Harding died during a visit to Seattle, and Calvin Coolidge became president.Reporter, Sept. 1923 p. 15

This was of special interest to Hollywood because only that previous March the president came for golf and lunch at the Hollywood/Park View Hotel, where he was apparently greeted by Young’s entire sales force. A tall man, here he is at the center of the photo. Upon his death, Young’s company changed the name of Circle Park to Harding Circle.           

FEC Station under construction, Dec. 1923

FEC Station under construction, Dec. 1923

On August 20, 1924 a train on the Florida East Coast line made its first passenger stop in Hollywood, after Young had a beautiful and expansive station built to receive passengers.

Once completed, this Mission Revival style building was considered the most beautiful railway station along Florida’s east coast.

A Visitor Describes One of Young’s Sales Methods, Excursions.

In August, 1925 a W. A. Smith of Fort Lauderdale was toured around Hollywood then wrote about it. Like many others Smith was impressed by “this mammoth development,” and the magnitude of one of Florida’s largest real estate projects. He noted that every day some 350 people were brought to Florida on Hollywood excursions, coming by boat from New York and by special trains from other sections of the country. In Hollywood, he said, they were selling not only property but Florida good will.

Feb. 1924, Reporter. Jacksonville & White bus. p. 18

Feb. 1924, Reporter. Jacksonville & White bus. p. 18

From Jacksonville, Smith went on, special buses brought people down via the Dixie Highway.  Photo at right, from Young’s Hollywood Reporter, shows passengers boarding one of Young’s 70 White buses in Jacksonville, under a sign that reads “Hollywood.”

Smith continued that once there passengers from the north were put up at the Great Southern Hotel, the Park View Hotel, and two hotels in Miami (Young couldn’t build hotels fast enough for all the visitors).Disk 5 county one 007

Here is the Park View Hotel with several tour buses lined up in front of it. It was just a short walk across Circle Park to the Great Southern Hotel.

Some were brought from Miami Beach by boat up the Inland Waterway, to be met by Canal, sightseers from Miami on Southland, May 24, 31 billsalesmen in plus-fours.

Incidentally, this is one of my favorite photos, showing well-dressed tourists arriving in what appears to be an area of near-desolation, where salesmen hope they will buy property. Of course the beach was to the left, and the growing city down the Boulevard to the left, and apparently many such visitors did make purchases.

houses under construction. Tony's picFor what they might have seen would be street scenes such as this, around Monroe Street and 16th Avenue, with rows of well-designed houses on rock-covered streets with sidewalks, and little palm trees planted in the verge.

Landmark Woman’s Club. Finally, one more August event, and a landmark today. In August, 1927 the Hollywood Woman’s Club opened its clubhouse, built on land donated by J. W. Young.

Woman's Club HHS using grey scale

Woman’s Club 1927

Club President at the time of dedication was Mrs. Oliver (Mae) Behymer. Designed by architect Frederic A. Eskridge, the clubhouse is now on the National Register of Historic Places.


Hollywood Is a “Paradise Planned.” My title this month comes from the grand thousand-page tome by Robert A. M. Stern, David Fishman, and Jacob Tilove, Paradise Planned. The Garden Suburb and the Modern City.  To my great pleasure, Hollywood is included among beautiful cities from around the world, with a reproduction of Young’s elegant city plan, several photos, and a half-page of text.


Unless otherwise identified, all images are courtesy of the Hollywood Historical Society. If you borrow these images for your own use, please credit the Hollywood Historical Society–and any other credits seen below the image.  Thank you.

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