Whether the residents planned just to spend winters in Wilton Manors or the rest of their lives, it was no matter to E.J. “Ned” Willingham, a Georgian with a grandiose plan for the piny scrublands just outside the growing city of Fort Lauderdale. Willingham was rare among land speculators during the “Florida Frenzy”a scrupulously honest man. He named this development, his favorite, Wilton Manors. Willingham envisioned a graceful community of modest homes on large yards, with schools, a hotel, and small parks dotting the exclusive, whites-only enclave. Almost 80 years later, Willingham’s little community lives on, but not in the fashion he might have expected. His all-white community has grown and matured into a pleasantly diverse and uncommonly tolerant place with lovely homes, outstanding city services, and an eye on preserving its genteel history.
About the Author
Author Cynthia Thuma is a native of Wilton Manors and the daughter of two of the city’s early residents. She serves as an officer of the Wilton Manors Historical Society and has published three other pictorial histories of South Florida with Arcadia.