The Story of Founder's Day

Harding Circle"HOLLYWOOD by the Sea" was envisioned and begun in 1920 by one man, Joseph W. Young, Jr. He drew up the city plan with its broad Boulevard intersected by three circles. Young spent millions to build several elegant resort hotels, a renowned Country Club, various office buildings, a bridge at the Boulevard spanning the Inland Waterway, a splendid railroad station, an Olympic salt-water pool, and a school. He gave these to the city, together with land for parks. His city, from the start, had underground power cables, water and sewers, a telephone system, sidewalks, and handsome street lighting.

IN 1925, when Hollywood was incorporated as a city, Young was elected first Mayor; but resigned to develop Port Everglades. The Great Hurricane of 1926 and subsequent Great Depression put an end to Young's work in Hollywood. He died at only fifty one, on February 27, 1934 in his home at 1055 Hollywood Boulevard.

ALMOST immediately the city commission renamed the former Harding Circle as Joseph W. Young Circle, and on August 1, 1935 Mayor Arthur W. Kellner issued a Hollywood by the SeaProclamation designating Young's birth date (August 4th) as Founder's Day and a public holiday.

SOME two thousand townspeople attended the events at the all-day affair in 1935. Events included a golf tournament at the Municipal Golf Course (now the Orangebrook Golf and Country Club), water sports at the beach Casino, band concerts by two local boys' bands, a dance program by local children, picnics at the beach Ovens, speakers, and a ball game at Dowdy Field.

THE Hollywood Historical Society is proud to continue this tradition, and welcomes all to some entertainment and a slice of birthday cake!

- Joan Mickelson


Joseph W. Young and His Dream City

View the VIDEO “Joseph W. Young and His Dream City" which was created for National History Day 2015 by Beachside Montessori School, Hollywood 7th graders: Jeremiah Lucas, Patrick Alfele, Enoch McGowan, and Pierce Trop; and presented at the HHS 2015 Founder’s Day Celebration


Vera and Clarence Hammerstein

WORLD War I pilot Hammerstein and his bride Vera Rust, both from Indiana, moved to Florida in November, 1925 to join friends Jane and Floyd Wray in the booming young city of Hollywood. They first settled in Miami near a citrus grove which Vera tended while Ham, as he was called, commuted to Hollywood to sell real estate for J. W. Young's Hollywood Land & Water Company. In 1928 the Hammersteins moved to Hollywood to the Fountain Court Apartments at 813 Tyler Street.

IN the wake of the Great Hurricane of 1926, real estate was no longer lucrative. So the Hammersteins sought a new business which made a lasting mark in the community. With the Wrays and Frank Stirling, a citrus grower from Davie, they founded Flamingo Groves in January 1927. Floyd Wray was president, Stirling was vice president and groves manager, Ham Hammerstein was vice president in charge of advertising and sales, and Jane Wray was secretary. The citrus groves still operate as Flamingo Gardens.Clarence Hammerstein

HAM and Vera next moved to 1536–38 Polk Street. During the Depression, when lots were auctioned off for tax certificates, the couple acquired eleven lots on Polk Street. This included the three lots on which they built the house designed by Bayard Lukens. In the 1940s both Ham and Vera were very active in the war effort in Hollywood. Vera was the head of a group of women volunteers who canned local produce. From the 1930s to the 1950s, Ham and Vera traveled throughout the world seeking exotic plants; Ham made a special study of mango culture.

AT his death in September, 1987 at ninety two, Clarence Hammerstein left this house to the City of Hollywood in memory of his beloved wife Vera, who had predeceased him. (They had no children.)

- Joan Mickelson


For additional historical anecdotes about Hollywood in the 1920s and 1930s, see the blog "Florida's Hollywood: History & People" by writer, editor and Florida historian Joan Mickelson


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