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May 22, 2018

Fort Lauderdale Milestones: Then and Now

How the city came to be settled and grown into what it is today.

Jeff Zbar | 3/1/2011

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.


Ft. Lauderdale City celebrates 100-year anniversary.

1998 Bank Atlantic CenterThe BankAtlantic Center opens in Sunrise, welcoming the Florida Panthers NHL franchise as part of its 200-dates-a-year calendar line-up.
1991 Broward Center for ArtsThe Broward Center for the Performing Arts opens, anchoring the new downtown arts and entertainment district. The Broward County Convention Center also opens near Port Everglades.
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 movie marqueeWhere 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 CausewayLas 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.
1911 City incorporated.
1896 railwayHenry 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.

Tags: Southeast

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