Fort Lauderdale is the seat of Broward County which counts approximately 1.9 million residents in 2015. It is hard to imagine that in 1893, there were 4 people living in Fort Lauderdale!!!!

If you plan to buy a condo in downtown Fort Lauderdale, you must realize that until 1824 nobody had ever held private title to land in Broward County!!

By 1900 still very few people had owned land in this County.

While there were approximately 70 residents in Fort Lauderdale in 1835, by early 1836 and the start of the second Seminole war, that number dropped back down to zero. In 1838, William Lauderdale came to the area with its troops to fight the Seminoles. He built a Fort in what is now Sailboat Bend. The Fort was named after its commanding officer, hence “Fort Lauderdale”. the Fort was burnt down within 6 months but 2 more forts were built including one that survived late into the XIX century on the beach.Ft Lauderdale pics PVD (1)

When Frank Stranahan arrived in Fort Lauderdale in January 1893, he was the 4th resident in town!! Mr Stranahan built a trading post in 1901 that still stands by the Cheesecake Factory and Icon (under construction). It is now the oldest standing structure (and a museum) in what is a very recent town. You would not believe this when you see the thriving beautiful downtown that Fort Lauderdale has to offer.

The arrival of Henri Flagler’s train in February 1896 triggered the development of the town (like every single town along the east coast of Florida). An agricultural economy developed rapidly, followed twenty years later by a solid construction and real estate industry.

During his tenure as Florida Governor, Napoleon Broward was a big proponent of the drainage of the Everglades that helped the city reclaim land and move the Everglades further west. The Governor died in 1910 one year after leaving office and the County was carved out of Palm Beach and Dade County in 1915 and named after him.

Ft Lauderdale pics PVD (2)

The 1920 saw a huge land boom that ended in tears in 1926 when a big hurricane struck on September 18 but also when overinflated properties led to defaulting mortgages and collapsing banks. South Florida entered the big depression of the 1930’s as early as September 1926, 3 years ahead of anybody else.

The fancy finger islands off Las Olas had been built to accommodate beautiful residences but the land bust put a halt to those projects until after WWII. Only Idlewyld had seen significant development before the crash came.

25% of all the soldiers trained in South Florida during WWII and they loved what they saw. After the war they returned and the area exploded literally. Most of what we consider downtown today was built out by the end of 1960.


Residents fled the downtown area in the 1970’s and 1980’s but in 1993 the city built the gorgeous Riverwalk that triggered the rebirth of the downtown core. Since early 2000 plenty of luxury condo towers have been built on the River and elsewhere. Las Olas has remained a beloved destinations for locals and tourists alike and around town restaurants and retail is popping up all the time. Today downtown is VERY much fashionable and growing VERY fast. A new cycle has started. You can be part of it….


Olivier Turina is your expert for downtown condos in booming Fort Lauderdale