Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Florida History: Happy 100th year, Fort Lauderdale

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A land boom advertised in the country’s Midwest brought about 3,000 people rushing to Fort Lauderdale in 1910. Population and prospects were growing for the nascent riverside community; it was ripe for formal organization. A motion to consider incorporation was introduced at a January 6, 1911 meeting of the newly formed Board of Trade.

Miami News, Mar. 28, 1911. Mayor Marshall
Records differ about the date of Fort Lauderdale’s incorporation but news stories and minutes indicate  45 voters approved town formation at a meeting held March 27, 1911. There weren’t enough voters to claim a city designation so it was decided to incorporate as a town. The same election tapped William H. Marshall as mayor. A clerk, marshal and a board of alderman were also chosen to comprise the town’s first government.  Fort Lauderdale’s boundaries were deemed to be one and one-half miles square with the Florida East Coast Railway serving as one of its limits.

At the top of Fort Lauderdale’s civic agenda was sanitation. A “sanitary mule” and cart was tasked with emptying outhouses and disposing garbage.

The Florida legislature approved the charter of the Town of Fort Lauderdale June 2, 1911. Today the City of Fort Lauderdale encompasses 33 square miles and is home to about 180,000 residents.

Miami News, Mar 28, 1911, page 1
Weidling, Philip and Burghard. Checkered Sunshine. Gainesville: University of Florida Press, 1966.

Tags: Florida history, Fort Lauderdale history, incorporation of Fort Lauderdale, Fort Lauderdale's first mayor, Fort Lauderdale centennial 

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