Thursday, August 26, 2010

Florida History: Early Fort Lauderdale Settlers Looked West

Look West? No, East, Fort Lauderdale

Known today for its beautiful beaches and tropical scenery, Fort Lauderdale was once considered an opening to the Everglades where, it was hoped, farmers could prosper growing fruits and vegetables in its rich dark, mucky soil.

During the late 1800s, settlers established themselves a few miles west of the ocean on the banks of the New River,  an eight-mile-long ribbon of water flowing east from the Everglades. It was considered a good vantage point to Florida's "river of grass." By the early 1900s, aspirations for farming in the Everglades were diminished by repeated flooding from tropical storms and hurricanes.

The focus shifted east, and included consideration of tourism by 1914. The Las Olas Causeway opened in January, 1917 six years after the City of Fort Lauderdale was incorporated (1911). Check archives for other Florida history facts.

Sources:
Checkered Sunshine (Burghard and Weidling, University of Florida Press,1966)
Fort Lauderdale, The Venice of America (Gillis, Arcadia Publishing, 2004)
Fort Lauderdale Historical Society

For the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention and Visitors Bureau, visit: www.sunny.org


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