Fort Lauderdale Milestones: Then and Now
How the city came to be settled and grown into what it is today.
The geographic area where Fort Lauderdale exists today traces its
populated roots back thousands of years. Native Americans, including the
Tequesta and later the Seminole, thrived here before the first White settlers — thought to be Bahamians — encamped along the New River, notes Susan Gillis, official Centennial Historian for the city of Fort Lauderdale.
City celebrates 100-year anniversary.
|1998||The BankAtlantic Center opens in Sunrise, welcoming the Florida Panthers NHL franchise as part of its 200-dates-a-year calendar line-up.|
|1991||The Broward Center for the Performing Arts opens, anchoring the new downtown arts and entertainment district. The Broward County Convention Center also opens near
|1985||The City Commission instructs the police to enforce open-bottle laws, effectively ending Spring Break's run and transforming the city into a family-friendly destination.|
|1961||The NAACP stages beach "wade-ins" in an effort to desegregate Fort Lauderdale beach.|
|1960||Where the Boys Are, starring Connie Francis and George Hamilton, debuts. For the next 25 years, Fort Lauderdale is known as the "Spring Break Capital of the World."|
|1960||The New River Tunnel (later renamed the Henry E. Kinney Tunnel, after a Miami Herald editor who supported its creation) opens.|
|1938||The Elbo Room bar opens on Fort Lauderdale beach, eventually serving soldiers then spring breakers.|
|1928||Port Everglades opens, enabling area farmers to ship produce up the East Coast.|
|1928||What later becomes Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport opens as a field with a runway. The airfield later became a naval air station during WW II, then Broward County Airport, from which Mackey Air began flying to the Bahamas in the 1950s.|
|1917||Las Olas Causeway is completed, crossing the New River Sound to the beach. The original "Las Olas" (the waves) was an area hunting lodge and later a hostel.|
|1896||Henry Flagler's Florida East Coast Railway arrives in Fort Lauderdale.|
|1893||Frank Stranahan builds a trading post on the north bank of the New River. His barge ferry carries people, wagons and goods across to the south side.|
|1838||The first army fort, named for Major William Lauderdale of the Tennessee Volunteers, is erected during the Second Seminole War.
Two more forts would follow.
Historic Images courtesy of the Fort Lauderdale Historical Society Inc.