Saturday, October 30, 2010

Florida History: Broward County and Fort Lauderdale in the '50s ... like a mushroom growing

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By Jane Feehan

In the 1950s*, gasoline was 24 cents a gallon, Thanksgiving dinner was $3 at Fort Lauderdale’s Governor’s Club Hotel and there were only three high schools in Broward County. Five commissioners governed the county and its first elected representative, Dwight Rogers Sr., went to Washington. Florida’s turnpike was built, and Broward expanded west with the founding of Pembroke Pines, Plantation and six other municipalities. In 1950, Broward had only 83,000 residents while Fort Lauderdale was home to 37,000. By the end of the decade, Florida’s population grew by nearly 79 percent.

Fast forward to the 21st century and the picture is quite different.

Broward County is now the second largest in the state with a population of 1.7 million (estimate 2011). It’s run by nine commissioners, with districts spanning 31 municipalities and 25 unincorporated areas. The county’s school district, the sixth largest in the U.S and the only fully accredited public school district in the nation, now includes 33 high schools. Fort Lauderdale, Broward’s largest city, has a population of 165,521 (estimate 2011).  Search this blog's archives for "Florida History" to see additional posts.

*For more population facts of the 1950s, see:

The Fabulous ‘50s by Jane Feehan, Sun-Sentinel (, Aug. 21, 2002.
For the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention and Visitors Bureau, visit: www

Tags: Broward County history, Fort Lauderdale in the 1950s , Fort Lauderdale in the 50s

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