The Hollywood Women’s Club holds a singular place in the history of Hollywood. It was not only the first Club to be organized but did, in-fact, pre-date the founding of the City of Hollywood.
The Club was founded in 1922 by The First Ladies of Hollywood, mostly the wives of officers of the companies which comprised the J.W. Young Organization. They guided the club through the early depression years and built our Clubhouse in 1927 on land donated by Mr. Joseph W. Young. The Club became a member of the Florida Federation of Women’s Clubs in 1922 and of the General Federation of Women’s Clubs in 1924.
Early club members actively embarked on projects such as:
- Donation of hundreds of books, which founded the first public library.
- Organized Tag Day sales to obtain funds which were used to finance health screenings for local school children.
- Obtained a County Agent to assist farmers migrating into the area with adequate housing and welfare.
- Organized a petition that convinced the Miami Telephone Co. to run a line to Hollywood supplying the first telephone service.
- Held a War Bonds Drive netting over $12,000, the largest amount collected by any agency participating in the drive.
- Support of literacy programs via the Born to Read Project.
- Youth Scholarship Fund in collaboration with the Hollywood Rotary Club.
- Participation in Hollywood Historical Society, activities i.e. hosting Founders Day Celebrations & the Historic Home Tours.
- Annually support the Neighborhood Crime Watch program and Night Out Against Crime in collaboration with the Lakes Civic Association and the Hollywood Police Department.
- In 2011 launched significant fund raising events (Golf Tournament and Margaritas in Paradise) for restoration of the Clubhouse to keep it from sinking into the sand.
- On the state level as member of the General Federation of Women’s Clubs, we support Special Olympics, the Hacienda Girls Ranch, Canine Companions for Independence, Roc Camp for children with cancer, Sew Much Comfort, Heifer International and more.
The original plans for a Clubhouse were made in 1924 for an ornate Mediterranean style house, but since the house was actually built in the midst of the economic collapse following the hurricane of 1926, the design was changed drastically to a modest Classical Revival building, and completed by 1927 at a cost of $25,000.
Over the years, the Club has been restoring the Clubhouse. Recognized by the City of Hollywood for its importance, it was designated a local historical landmark in 1985, and decreed a National Historic Place in 1995. It is one of the few surviving architectural examples of its era in the Hollywood area.
In 2012-2014 we raised $300,000 including a grant from the State of Florida Bureau of Historic Preservation of $50,000 and the remainder from individuals and events to save the Clubhouse from sinking into the sand. The building was successfully lifted; a new foundation installed; new siding installed where asbestos shingles had been removed; and the northeast rear door was relocated and reframed to address wood deterioration and future ramp and handicap accessibility. Two new doors were installed and additional remedial work was performed on the East, North and West walls to address wood rot and insufficient structural framing.
The City of Hollywood installed a new sidewalk on 14th Avenue in front of the Clubhouse incorporating custom mosaic tiles featuring a part of the HWC logo, as part of the Art of Community Grant awarded to the City of Hollywood by the Community Foundation of Broward.
In 2017 during our 95th Anniversary we embark on our Anniversary Campaign for the Future and culminating during our 100th Anniversary in 2022. Funds raised during this capital campaign will raise funds for handicap accessibility as well as upgrading electrical, technology, and the catering kitchen to make the Clubhouse accessible and ‘more state of the art’ for future rentals and ongoing Club and Community Activities.
Today we are grateful to the First Ladies of Hollywood for their vision and fortitude. They have left us a legacy that we can build upon and leave for future generations.