This is where the city all began
The Stranahan House is a step back in time when Fort Lauderdale was no more than a swampy settlement by the bank of the New River. It’s a real flashback, a sepia-stained photograph of a time that’s long gone.
Today, it’s surrounded by modern buildings several stories high and the low hum of cars can be heard as they go under the nearby Henry E. Kinney tunnel that runs beneath the river.
To get to the Stranahan House, walk on Southeast 6th Avenue from Las Olas Boulevard and head towards the river (the Cheesecake Factory restaurant is on this corner). In order to visit the house, you do need to take an hour-long guided tour that runs every day at 1 PM, 2 PM and 3 PM.
It’s really hard to imagine that it was just over a hundred years ago that the city more or less started on this spot. The tour tells us the story of Frank Stranahan who started a trading post for pioneer settlers and Seminole Indians in 1901.
He later married Ivy Cromartie, Fort Lauderdale’s first schoolteacher, and built the house and later added new and modern features for that time such as an inside kitchen and an ice box. Over time it has served as a post office, bank, a community and town hall. Years later, after Frank died, Ivy rented the first floor of the house to a restaurant and lived upstairs until 1971.
Imagine being Ivy and seeing times change dramatically before your eyes – from living in a sparse and most probably less than comfortable environment as a pioneer to seeing the advent of today’s modern space age. The walls of the house have stories to tell about this once American frontier.
One of the things that stand out is that the house is built with Dade County pine. The tree, now almost extinct, is dense and resistant to termites (very useful in South Florida). The wood gives the house a warm glow inside, the color of golden honey, the color of an old photograph.
Take an hour or so and visit this little piece of history.
335 SE 6th Avenue
(off of Las Olas Boulevard)
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301
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