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Florida's Hollywood: Let's Take A Journey Through Time And Explore How This City Came To Be

May 19, 2023

Hooray or Hollywood, no, not that one, the other Hollywood! Hollywood, Florida, that is! Nestled along the beautiful beaches of the Atlantic Ocean, we all know that Hollywood is known for its stunning scenery, warm weather, and rich history, but how did it all happen? Let's take a journey through time and explore how this city came to be.

In the early 1920's, a Real Estate Developer named Joseph W. Young came to Florida with a vision to create a new city. He purchased thousands of acres of land along the Atlantic coast, where he planned to create a city that would rival Hollywood, California. Young was inspired by the glamor and glitz of Hollywood, and he wanted to replicate that atmosphere in his own city.

The Hollywood Beach Hotel
To attract wealthy tourists to the area, Young built a luxurious hotel, The Hollywood Beach Hotel, located on the iconic Hollywood Beach Broadwalk, which has a storied history dating back to the 1920's. The hotel had over 300 rooms and was known for its lavish parties and events. The hotel was a popular destination for the wealthy elite of the time, including many Hollywood celebrities.

During the 1920's and 1930's, the Hollywood Beach Hotel played host to a number of famous guests, including Clark Gable, Judy Garland and Al Capone. In fact, legend has it that Capone owned a secret underground tunnel that connected the hotel to the beach, allowing him to avoid detection by the authorities.

During World War II, the hotel was used as a training facility for the U.S. Army Air Corps. After the war, it was purchased by a group of investors and underwent major renovations, reopening in 1947 as The Hollywood Beach Hotel.

Throughout the 1950's and 1960's, the hotel continued to attract famous guests, including Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio, who reportedly spent their honeymoon in one of the hotel's oceanfront suites. Other famous guests included Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr., who often performed at the hotel's onsite nightclub, The Palms Lounge.

In the 1970's, the hotel fell into disrepair and by the 1980's, it was in danger of being demolished. However, in 1987, the hotel was purchased by a group of investors who embarked on a major restoration project. The hotel was renamed The Hollywood Beach Resort and it was reopened in 1991 as a Condominium Hotel.

The Hollywood Beach Casino Pool
The Casino pool, cabanas and changing rooms were built by J.W. Young in 1924 on the site that is now The Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort. At the time it was Florida’s largest and best appointed bathing pavilion and it was built on the Hollywood Broadwalk. Built at a cost of $250,000 with 824 dressing rooms, eighty shower baths, a shopping arcade and an Olympic-sized swimming pool. The complex occupied an enormous space on the beach, from just south of Johnson Street to Michigan Street.

Young’s Casino pool complex was the most ambitious construction on the Southeast Florida coast, after Henry Flagler’s hotels and Young’s publicists like to point out that the Flagler structures were of wood while Young’s were of more permanent materials.

Tourist Destination
Throughout the 1920's and 1930's, Hollywood continued to grow and attract more visitors. The city became a popular destination for winter vacations and many wealthy families from the north would come to Hollywood to escape the cold weather. As a result, many historic buildings were constructed during this time, including the Hollywood Beach Theater. The theater was built in Art Deco Style and is still standing today, serving as a reminder of Hollywood’s glamorous past.

Picture Perfect
In the 1940's and 1950's, Hollywood became a popular location for movie studios to film their movies. Hollywood has a long history of attracting filmmakers looking for the perfect location to bring their stories to life. Over the years, the city has served as the backdrop for a number of Hollywood blockbusters and independent films, from action-packed thrillers to heartwarming romances.

One of the most famous movies filmed in Hollywood, Florida is the 1960's classic, "Where the Boys Are." The film follows a group of college students as they head down to Florida for spring break and the movie was actually filmed on location in Hollywood and nearby Fort Lauderdale.

Another famous movie that was filmed in Hollywood is the 1985 film "Marjorie Morningstar." Starring Gene Kelly and Natalie Wood, the film tells the story of a young woman who dreams of becoming an actress. Many scenes from the movie were filmed on location in Hollywood, including at the historic Hollywood Beach Hotel.

More recently, Hollywood has served as the backdrop for a number of major motion pictures and television shows. The 2010 Action-Comedy "Cop Out," Starring Bruce Willis and Tracy Morgan, filmed several scenes on the Hollywood Beach Broadwalk. Additionally, the popular television show "Burn Notice" filmed several episodes in Hollywood, with scenes featuring the Hollywood Beach Bandshell and other iconic locations in the city.

The city's diverse landscapes and beautiful beaches have also made it a popular location for independent filmmakers looking for unique and picturesque settings. In 2013, the independent film "The Love Song of Iskra Prufrock" was filmed entirely on location in Hollywood, and the movie went on to receive critical acclaim and numerous awards at film festivals around the world.

A Multicultural Family Friendly City
Hollywood continues to be a vibrant and diverse city that offers something for everyone, from its beautiful beaches to its rich cultural heritage. Families looking to live and have fun in a multicultural environment will find plenty to love about this dynamic and welcoming community.

One of the hallmarks of Hollywood is its diverse population, which includes people from all over the world. This diversity is reflected in the city's vibrant food scene, which features an array of cuisines from around the globe. Whether you're in the mood for Cuban Sandwiches, Thai Curries, or Peruvian Ceviche, you're sure to find a restaurant in Hollywood that serves up your favorite dishes.

In addition to its diverse culinary offerings, Hollywood also boasts a number of cultural institutions that celebrate the city's multicultural heritage. The Art and Culture Center/Hollywood, for example, is a Non-Profit Organization that promotes the arts and provides educational programming for the community. The center hosts a range of events throughout the year, from art exhibits and performances to workshops and classes.

For families with children, Hollywood is an especially welcoming destination. The city's public schools are known for their diversity and high-quality education, and there are also a number of private and charter schools in the area. In addition, Hollywood is home to several parks and recreational areas where families can enjoy the great outdoors, from The Anne Kolb Nature Center to The Hollywood Beach Broadwalk.

Hollywood has come a long way since its founding by Joseph W. Young almost a century ago. What started as a dream to create a beautiful and vibrant city has become a modern multicultural destination for both residents and visitors alike. Today, Hollywood's diverse population and rich cultural heritage are celebrated through its cuisine, arts and cultural events, and recreational activities. From its stunning beaches to its vibrant arts scene, there's never been a better time to explore all that Hollywood has to offer. Whether you're looking to put down roots and make a home in this vibrant city, or simply looking to visit and experience its unique atmosphere, Hollywood, Florida has something for everyone.

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