When Florida East Coast Railway was completed in the late 1800s, the Fort Lauderdale area experienced its first major land boom, and since then has grown into the large metropolitan city and popular tourist destination that we all know today. By the early half of the 20th century, many wealthy individuals and families moved to the area and built grand estates to accommodate their luxurious lifestyles. Bonnet House Museum & Gardens was one of these large estates located in the center of Fort Lauderdale, however there are many other historic estates in the Broward County community as well. Click here to learn more about Bonnet House history.
One such home is the Historic Needham Estate , located in downtown Fort Lauderdale. This 6,500 square foot estate was built in 1925 by world-renowned architect Francis Luis Abreu for John Wesley Needham, the first manager of the Broward Hotel. The home hosted many elegant gatherings, some were even attended by Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill. Constructed in the Mediterranean Revival Style, most of the estate is still original and is currently used as an event venue.
The Stranahan House , located on the New River, was built in 1901 by businessman, Frank Stranahan. When the home was initially built, the lower floor served as the trading post for his business, and the upper floor was used as a community hall. But by 1906, his business interests expanded and he was able to renovate the building into a beautiful estate for his family. Throughout the history of the estate, the home was used for multiple public projects, as Mr. Stranahan and his wife, Ivy, took on leadership roles in the community. This estate has been open to the public for viewing as a historic house museum since 1981 and welcomes more than 10,000 visitors annually.
Built in 1908 in Pompano Beach, The Sample-McDougald home was designed based on the Colonial-Revival style made famous in Chester, South Carolina. The grounds were used primarily for agricultural purposes, where the Sample family grew commercial pineapples, as well as greens and peppers. In the early 1940s, the home as purchased by the McDougald family. William McDougald held many prominent positions in the local community, including Constable of North Broward and City Commissioner, while maintaining the homes agricultural efforts. Today, the home serves as a historic house and museum where guests can take tours, and enjoy various classes and concerts.
The Old Davie School, located in Davie, Florida, began accepting students in 1918 and was in continuous use until 1978. Prior to the 20th century, the dense swamp lands made Davie and the Fort Lauderdale area difficult to access. But after the turn of the century, Davie had developed a sizeable population and needed a suitable school that didn’t also serve as the town’s general store. The Old Davie school became the first permanent school in the Fort 5/8/2019 Historic Homes In The Broward County / Fort Lauderdale Area Lauderdale area, and is currently The Old Davie School Historical Museum, housing exhibits about life and agriculture during the development of Davie.
Like the folks at Bonnet House Museum & Gardens, all of the individuals involved in the daily operations of these historic homes are passionate about preserving South Florida’s unique history. Our team at Bonnet House encourages you to visit all of the historic estates that South Florida has to offer. If you are interested in visiting Bonnet House specifically, you can purchase tickets online or in person.