By Don Valentine
A mandatory stop for every resident of Broward County is the birthplace of Fort Lauderdale. This historic landmark is the home of Frank Stranahan, affectionately known as the father of Fort Lauderdale. It rests on the shore of the verdant New River, in what is now downtown Fort Lauderdale. Stranahan was pivotal to the origin of this great Broward County city.
A visit to the Stranahan House offers a chance to time travel to the early 1900’s and relish in the evolution of Broward County. Back in 1893, at the age of 27, Stranahan was hired by his cousin to manage his camp and ferry at Tarpon Bend, located on the New River. This would grow into his own independent ferry system to cross the New River. This venture thrived and led to Stranahan becoming an eminent force in Fort Lauderdale.
When you take the tour you will find the staff so friendly that you feel like a long lost visiting relative. They are quick to smile and accommodate your every need. The docent on my tour was a virtual savant on the historical nuances of Fort Lauderdale. She made the tour particularly rewarding by describing a vibrant view of the environment of the day. It ranged from the passion of Stranahan and his wife for the Seminole Indians, to their legacy in the African American community. Stranahan was not only the banker of Fort Lauderdale, but a confidant to the elite such as Henry Flagler and his associates. All the while Stranahan maintained a common denominator with the proletariat. When the great depression hit Stranahan decided to not foreclose on people’s homes. Those are just a few of the things you will learn on your tour of the home of the Father of Fort Lauderdale. You will absolutely come away with an educational afternoon. www.stranahanhouse.org