Hollywood Garden Club
also known as the Sunday School House of First Church of Christ, Scientist, Built 1932, listed on the National Register of Historic Places 2005
2940 Hollywood Boulevard, Hollywood
Hollywood Garden Club When Used by the Organization
Images Courtesy of the Hollywood Records and Archives Division
Hollywood Garden Club
Image Courtesy of Broward County Libraries Division
The original First Church of Christ, Scientist Building, was destroyed by the 1926 hurricane within months of its completion. The congregation rebuilt the building from the ground up and it was dedicated in 1932. It was the sole meeting place for the congregation until 1950 when a larger main building was erected on an adjacent lot to the east. The smaller building continued to function for the church as a Sunday School Building for the next nine years. During World War II, the members of the First Church of Christ, Scientist were instrumental in supplying several tons of clothing to needy war torn countries of Europe.
Originally constructed at 1582 Harrison Street, the building was moved to its present site in 1959 when it was donated to the Hollywood Garden Club after the church decided to build a new Sunday school. The club acquired the building for a nominal fee and the club members petitioned the City of Hollywood for a donation of land. Previously, for 32 years, the club had met in members’ homes. Ten members each donated $100 to facilitate the move of the building and to fund the necessary electrical, plumbing and carpentry work. The Garden Club used the building as a Garden Center, meeting hall and library. The club provided enriching civic accomplishments while occupying the building for 40 years.
The Hollywood Garden Club is a small, one-story, wood-frame vernacular building with a stucco exterior surface. It has a low-pitched, front gable roof and flat tile. An incised porch, supported by four Tuscan style columns, spans the main façade, lending some aspects of the Neo-Classical style. The main façade has a double-door (original) entrance flanked by casement windows. The Garden Club planted specimen trees, which are now quite large, seven of which are Florida natives.
The Garden Club was organized in 1927, federated in 1928, and incorporated in 1959. It was part of the National Council of State Garden Clubs, Inc. and the Florida Federation of Garden Clubs, Inc. The second president was Mrs. Fred Eskridge. (Her husband, Frederic Eskridge, designed the Woman’s Club building, which is also on the National Register of Historic Places.) The club’s membership was exclusively female. They concentrated their efforts in conservation activism, “Litterbug” campaigns, Arbor Day plantings, community beatification projects, sponsorship of youth attending the State Federation Nature Camp, a tree exchange program with Sister City San Salvador, sponsorship of Junior Garden Clubs and the South Florida State Hospital Garden Therapy Program. The membership in the club reached its peak of more than 100 members in 1960. The donation of the building to the club by the church greatly advantaged the civic goals of the club.
By 1998 their membership had dwindled to about six, and they were no longer able to afford the insurance and upkeep on the building. In February 1999, the Club deeded the building over to the City of Hollywood with the request that the city not tear down the building.