“Hollywood of the East”

In the nineteen-twenties it seemed possible that New Port Richey might become the “Hollywood of the East”. This was the dream of movie star Thomas Meighan, golfer Gene Sarazen, and other influential city residents. And, indeed, inthe ensuing years many famous celebrities of the time flocked to New Port Richey to visit and live … including Irving Berlin, Paul Whiteman, Raymond Hitchcock, Leon Errol, Blanche Ring, Earl Benham, Ed Wynn … and perhaps, according to local legend, maybe even Gloria Swanson and Charlie Chaplin.

A good part of the city’s building boom in the 1920s can be traced to this dream – including the historic Meighan Theatre and Hacienda Hotel.

Even though dreams of becoming the “Hollywood of the East” didn’t pan out, the historic buildings from that bygone era still exist.