"Way back in 1915, a group of public spirited citizens residing
the weed-infected, countrified, dirt road community of Hollywood,
IL decided that an improvement association should be formed. They
desired representation in the Village of Brookfield board meetings,
also greatly needed improvements. Thus the Hollywood Citizens
Associations was born."
-- by Edith Hyler from the History of Hollywood, IL
"The History of the Hollywood House" is a documentary about our century-old, prairie-style building in Hollywood, IL, that was the first elementary school in the area and now serves as a meeting and event space for the local and surrounding communities. The "The History of the Hollywood House" was created in 2013 by Hollywood Elementary student Lynná Leimberer, as part of the school's Young Authors Celebration. The HCA is responsible for the management of the Hollywood House.
Hollywood subdivision dates back to 1893. Samuel Gross, who
marketed lots to Columbian Exposition visitors, developed it. The
original subdivision was in the area south of Washington Avenue.
tract north of Washington was owned by Edith Rockefeller McCormick,
a gift from her father, John D. Rockefeller, upon her marriage
to Harold F. McCormick. In 1919, Mrs. McCormick sold the
property where the community house stands to the Hollywood Citizens’ Association
for $700. She donated much of the remainder of her Hollywood
property to the Forest Preserve of Cook County for a zoological
garden later that same year.
its inception, the Hollywood Citizens’ Association began raising
funds to build a community building for meetings and to serve as
a kindergarten and primary school for their children. Their
efforts to erect a school building led them to Mrs. Avery Coonley,
a Riverside resident and educational benefactor. In 1919, she donated
$15,000 toward the project.
Coonley also recommended an architect, William Drummond. Mr.
Drummond, a prairie style architect and associate of Frank Lloyd
Wright, was paid $900 for the design of the Hollywood Community
next fall, young children from Hollywood no longer had to cross
the bridge to get to school in Riverside. The first classes
for Kindergarten and 1st and 2nd grades were
held in the Hollywood Community House on September 21, 1920. The
building continued to serve the early grades until Hollywood School
was completed in 1929. The Community House was the neighborhood
kindergarten until 1953 when the gym and kindergarten rooms were
added to Hollywood School.
Coonley’s generous donation did not prove to be enough to complete
the Hollywood Community House. A mortgage for $3,500 was
taken out in 1920 and fundraising to keep the Community House out
of debt continued throughout the decade.
Hollywood Community House also served as a nondenominational church
and Sunday School during the 1920’s and 1930’s. In 1945,
the church congregation successfully petitioned to become affiliated
with the Chicago Presbytery. The newly formed church began
fundraising, purchased land, and moved into their own building
on the corner of McCormick and Parkview in 1953.
the years the Hollywood Community House has played host to women’s
groups; concerts; dances; Fourth of July, Christmas, and Halloween
celebrations; and many family functions for neighborhood residents.
1987, the HCA and representatives from other communities sharing
the Hollywood name defeated the effort of the mayor of Hollywood,
California to copyright the name for its exclusive use. It
was confirmed at that time that Hollywood, Illinois predates Hollywood,
California and may be the inspiration for its name.
the year 2000, the Hollywood Community House celebrated its 80th anniversary
under the ownership and guidance of Hollywood Citizens’ Association.