From the first settlers, the Lewis family in the 1790s, to the New River Settlement led by William Cooley in the 1830s, to the arrival of Frank Stranahan in 1893, Fort Lauderdale is an "old" young town. Named for the Second Seminole War fort commanded by Major Lauderdale, the town incorporated in 1911. The land boom of the 1910s-1920s brought an influx of people including publicist Commodore Brook, architect Francis Abreu, developer Charles Rodes, and businessmen Moe and Mack Katz. Following the economic downturn after the 1926 hurricane, the postwar boom transformed the sleepy town into the tropical paradise and tourist destination that it is today. Hotelier Bob Gill, developer James Hunt, "Crazy Gregg" Newell, and entrepreneur Wayne Huizenga led that charge. Legendary Locals of Fort Lauderdale also tells the story of groundbreaking civil servants such as Easter Lily Gates and Andrew DeGraffenreidt, civil rights activists Eula Johnson and Dean Trantalis, educators Mae McMillan and Sister Marie Schramko, and sports stars Katherine Rawls, Chris Evert, and Ryan Hunter-Reay.
About the Author
Todd L. Bothel is a former curator of the Fort Lauderdale Historical Society. He has done many museum exhibits and conducted research on the history of Fort Lauderdale for years. Most of the images used are from the collections of the Fort Lauderdale Historical Society.