At the end of the 19th century, communities in Westchester County were experiencing a period of transition. Social reform, such as the Yonkers’ Carpet Weavers’ Strike of 1885, led to an increase in local men entering the industrial workforce. As the working class in Yonkers steadily grew, a wealthy benefactor funded the construction of a free meeting place for workingmen of all backgrounds. He named it, the Hollywood Inn Club.
Designed as a hub for fraternal gathering and social interaction, the original location of the historic Hollywood Inn Club opened on January 15, 1893. From its modest location at 18 Main Street, the club promoted itself as a “Free Reading and Smoking Room.” It soon became a much-needed respite for hardworking Yonkers men. The club gained a following of repeat visitors and quickly outgrew the space. This prompted a $150,000 investment by philanthropist William F. Cochran to move to a larger building.
Cochran’s Vision Comes to Life
Located at the corner of Hudson Street and South Broadway in Yonkers, construction began for the Hollywood Inn Club’s permanent home in June 1896. The sprawling six-story structure was designed to host an array of wholesome community activities. Patrons enjoyed amenities such as bowling alleys, games rooms, pool rooms, a library, a cigar room, meeting rooms, and lunchrooms. After more than a year of construction, the Hollywood Inn Club opened on Labor Day 1897—welcoming all workingmen of Yonkers to join.
While first intended as an alternative to taverns, the space evolved from cigars and billiards to athletics and team sports. With amenities including a modern gymnasium and baths, participation at the new clubhouse grew to more than six hundred members. By 1901, the club added an annex to keep pace with the community’s growing interest and attendance.
Wellspring of Culture and Knowledge
At the turn of the century, the Hollywood Inn Club was more than a recreational space. It was a haven of learning and cultural exploration. In the evenings, it hosted classes on numerous topics with access to over five thousand books in the library. This emphasis on reading led to the formation of the Saturday Night Club, a literary society focused on the well-rounded education of its members.
As the workingmen continued to gain knowledge through the club, their desire to engage in athletics also grew. In 1901, the Hollywood Inn F.C. was founded, bringing high-level soccer to Yonkers. From 1901 to its last recorded match in 1915, the team was a member of the Metropolitan Association Football League, the National Association Football League, and the New York Amateur League. The team experienced amateur success with the League Championship title in 1909 and the New York State Association Cup in 1910. The Hollywood Inn F.C. even advanced to the finals of the the 1913 American Amateur Football Association Cup. Although, they ultimately lost to Yonkers F.C.
Financial Troubles and Closure
As the Roaring Twenties came to an end and the 1929 stock market crash continued to ripple across the country, the Hollywood Inn Club faced financial issues and mounting debt. Despite interest and support from the community, the club closed its doors in 1931. The clubhouse was demolished two years later.
For over 40 years, the Hollywood Inn Club received praise by members of the Yonkers community. Even beyond Yonkers, it was held as an example to other fraternal organizations worldwide. As a meeting place and center for learning, the club is remembered as a center for camaraderie and collective well-being for workingmen.