Monday, February 20, 2012

Florida History: 1930s Fort Lauderdale - Of grits and grunts and ...

By Jane Feehan

Fort Lauderdale experienced a devastating hurricane and land bust that sent it spiraling into the throes of the Great Depression two to three years before the rest of the nation. Tourists still visited but spent little money and land sales came to a stand still.

Some facts about those depression years:

  • An estimated 25 percent of homes were foreclosed for taxes and other liens; about 80 percent of lots and non-farm lands were likewise lost.  
  • Fort Lauderdale’s population reached nearly 8,700 (it doubled by 1940).
  • The average assessed value of homes in 1934 was about $4,500.
  • Illegal gambling and bootlegging (until 1933) flourished.
  • “Grits and Grunts,” topped menus at homes and restaurants. An inexpensive meal, it included small fish or grunts caught off nearby reefs fried in oil and served with grits.

For more about Fort Lauderdale in the 1930s, see:

Weidling, Philip J. , Burghard, August. Checkered Sunshine. Gainesville: University of Florida Press (1966).
Miami News, March 9, 1934, p.6

Tags: Fort Lauderdale in the 1930s, Fort Lauderdale history, Fort Lauderdale during the Great Depression, film researcher

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