The History of Fort Lauderdale FL

Fort Lauderdale, FL  is a permanent home to close to 200,000 people, and the winter home to thousands of “snowbirds” wishing to trade harsh northern winters for the warm and sunny climate of Southern Florida.

Stranahan House in Fort LauderdaleThe history of Fort Lauderdale is both short and interesting, following that of Broward County FL that was considered uninhabitable just a century ago. However, the Industrial Age brought railroads, Port Everglades, roads, and drainage to the Everglades, providing access to the lower grounds that were previously too difficult to occupy. Today, Broward County FL is one of the most populated counties in the U.S. and Fort Lauderdale is the most populated city in the county.

Today the county is well-known for the beautiful sand and sun of Fort Lauderdale FL, Miramar Beach, and Pembroke Pines – three of the county’s most populated cities.

While residence in Fort Lauderdale and all of Broward County, Florida, is new for modern settlers, evidence has proven the existence of man in this area for 10,000 years! Indians roamed the area over 2,000 years ago, hunting shellfish and deer and in the 1500’s fought off Spanish visitors, killing Ponce de Leon at Charlotte Harbor in 1521. Disease introduced by the Spanish and wars between tribes are to blame for the demise of Indians in this area. By 1763, when the Spanish relinquished Florida to Great Britain after the French and Indian War, all of the Indians in the Fort Lauderdale area were gone. Twenty years later, Spain was given Florida back in the Treaty of Paris.

When the United States obtained Florida from Spain in 1821, Broward County was surveyed and considered uninhabitable. Nevertheless, a few motivated families made a small settlement there, only to be pushed out by Seminole Indians who had, themselves, been pushed farther south by American settlers. In 1876, more American settlers arrived to the Fort Lauderdale area after the Seminole Indians had moved on and by the early 1890’s, stage coach and mail services had been established, connecting Broward County, FL to the rest of the country. Shortly after this, the railroad came through, and by 1911, Fort Lauderdale FL was an established community.

Growth in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, was slow until the prosperity that followed WWI and WW II. Between 1950 and 1970, the population of Broward County FL grew from 84,000 to 620,000. Since these newcomers were primarily urban people moving into settlements of farmers, tourism began to take off as well. Joseph Young singlehandedly created Hollywood-by-the-Sea in the early 1920’s, a “dream city” composed of lakes, boulevards, and beautiful golf courses, with the intention of bringing in residents…and it was working until a hurricane in 1928 flattened the gorgeous creation city, killing at least 34 people, and temporarily scaring off potential incomers to Fort Lauderdale.

A couple of decades later, however, there was a major boom of growth and progress, with Lauderdale-by-the-Sea FL, Plantation, Lazy Lake, Margate, Miramar FL, Lighthouse Point, Pembroke Park FL, and Pembroke Pines, to name a few of the quickly erected cities by the sea. Fort Lauderdale and Pembroke Park were just a couple of the cities that claimed a too-rapid growth and urged local governments to lower limits on the number of residences per acre. In 1974, the recession took its toll on Fort Lauderdale FL and Broward County, Florida, stunting growth and forcing some to lose their homes and condos. In 1977, when things began to look up again, the Land Use Plan was implemented to limit urban spread and to ensure the area’s natural and economic resources would be put to good use so that the area would not again become “uninhabitable” due to overpopulation and congestion.

Today, Fort Lauderdale, FL is not only a popular vacation destination due to the pristine beaches and endless sun, but a bustling city with diverse dining experiences, museums, and picture-perfect golf courses. In Fort Lauderdale, outdoor activities abound! Whether you enjoy fishing, boating, or sight-seeing, you find the very best in Fort Lauderdale!

Planning your vacation in Fort Lauderdale or an elaborate Fort Lauderdale wedding on the beach? Be sure to plan in advance and check out the many choices for lodging and events going on in the area!


Photo Credit: wallyg via photopin cc