Monday, May 23, 2011

Florida History: Fort Lauderdale pioneer Frank Stranahan's obituary - window to the 1920s

(For more on the Stranahan Camp and when Stranahan first came to Fort Lauderdale, see: cousins ...

There’s a lot to be gleaned from the obituary for Fort Lauderdale pioneer Frank Stranahan. It provides a glimpse into local culture and history of the late 1920s.  We read about a U.S. president, the movie business and the well-known Stranahan camp.   Ill health was cited as the reason for suicide but the 1929 economic collapse severely affected Stranahan. Not until his widow, Ivy Stranahan, died in 1971 was the word suicide used again in reference to Frank's death.

Here’s the text (capitalization as in the obituary):

Frank Stranahan, pioneer citizen of this section of the state, who founded the first trading post in Broward County, committed suicide by fashioning a weight about his waist and jumping into the New River. He was 63 and ill health was cited as the cause for the act.

President Grover Cleveland, and Joseph Jefferson, the actor; and Cory, the scientist and many other distinguished Americans used to fish and hunt at the Stranahan camp before the Florida East Coast railroad penetrated this far south.

A lover of children, Mr. Stranahan contributed during his life several large tracts of land for municipal parks. Stranahan play ground, Stranahan athletic field and Stranahan high school were his gifts to the city of Fort Lauderdale.

Mr. Stranahan leaped to his death just in front of his palatial residence, setting for numerous moving pictures and one of the show places of the lower east coast.

The body was recovered more than 25 feet of water by Bob Gordon and Mary Taul, high school students and members of the volunteer Red Cross life saving corps.
Stranahan is buried in historic Evergreen Cemetery next to wife Ivy Julia Cromartie Stranahan.

For more history, visit

Fort Lauderdale history - published 1966 - Checkered Sunshine

Tags: Fort Lauderdale history, Frank Stranahan, Florida history, early Fort Lauderdale, Fort Lauderdale in the 1920s, New River

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