About Fort Lauderdale, FL
Fort Lauderdale (/ˌfɔːrt ˈlɔːdərdeɪl/; frequently abbreviated as Ft. Lauderdale) is a city in the U.S. state of Florida, 28 miles (45 km) north of Miami. It is the county seat of Broward County. As of the 2010 census, the city had a population of 165,521 in 2010. It is a principal city of the Miami metropolitan area, which was home to an estimated 6,012,331 people in the 2015 census. The city is a popular tourist destination, with an average year-round temperature of 75.5 °F (24.2 °C) and 3,000 hours of sunshine per year.
Greater Fort Lauderdale, encompassing all of Broward County, hosted 12 million visitors in 2012, including 2.8 million international visitors. In 2012, the county collected $43.9 million from the 5% hotel tax it charges, after hotels in the area recorded an occupancy rate for the year of 72.7 percent and an average daily rate of $114.48. The district has 561 hotels and motels comprising nearly 35,000 rooms. Forty-six cruise ships sailed from Port Everglades in 2012. Greater Fort Lauderdale has over 4,000 restaurants, 63 golf courses, 12 shopping malls, 16 museums, 132 nightclubs, 278 parkland campsites, and 100 marinas housing 45,000 resident yachts.
Fort Lauderdale is named after a series of forts built by the United States during the Second Seminole War. The forts took their name from Major William Lauderdale (1782–1838), younger brother of Lieutenant Colonel James Lauderdale. William Lauderdale was the commander of the detachment of soldiers who built the first fort. However, development of the city did not begin until 50 years after the forts were abandoned at the end of the conflict.
Three forts named “Fort Lauderdale” were constructed: the first was at the fork of the New River, the second was at Tarpon Bend on the New River between the present-day Colee Hammock and Rio Vista neighborhoods, and the third was near the site of the Bahia Mar Marina.
The Fort Lauderdale area was known as the “New River Settlement” before the 20th century. In the 1830s there were approximately 70 settlers living along the New River. William Cooley, the local Justice of the Peace, was a farmer and wrecker, who traded with the Seminole Indians. On January 6, 1836, while Cooley was leading an attempt to salvage a wrecked ship, a band of Seminoles attacked his farm, killing his wife and children, and the children’s tutor. The other farms in the settlement were not attacked, but all the white residents in the area abandoned the settlement, fleeing first to the Cape Florida Lighthouse on Key Biscayne, and then to Key West.
The first United States stockade named Fort Lauderdale was built in 1838, and subsequently was a site of fighting during the Second Seminole War. The fort was abandoned in 1842, after the end of the war, and the area remained virtually unpopulated until the 1890s. It was not until Frank Stranahan arrived in the area in 1893 to operate a ferry across the New River, and the Florida East Coast Railroad’s completion of a route through the area in 1896, that any organized development began. The city was incorporated in 1911, and in 1915 was designated the county seat of newly formed Broward County.
Fort Lauderdale’s first major development began in the 1920s, during the Florida land boom of the 1920s. The 1926 Miami Hurricane and the Great Depression of the 1930s caused a great deal of economic dislocation. In July 1935, an African-American man named Rubin Stacy was accused of robbing a white woman at knife point. He was arrested and being transported to a Miami jail when police were run off the road by a mob. A group of 100 white men proceeded to hang Stacy from a tree near the scene of his alleged robbery. His body was riddled with some twenty bullets. The murder was subsequently used by the press in Nazi Germany to discredit US critiques of its own persecution of Jews, Communists, and Catholics.
When World War II began, Fort Lauderdale became a major US base, with a Naval Air Station to train pilots, radar operators, and fire control operators. A Coast Guard base at Port Everglades was also established.
On July 4, 1961 African Americans started a series of protests, wade-ins, at beaches that were off-limits to them, to protest “the failure of the county to build a road to the Negro beach”. On July 11, 1962 a verdict by Ted Cabot went against the city’s policy of racial segregation of public beaches.
Today, Fort Lauderdale is a major yachting center, one of the nation’s largest tourist destinations, and the center of a metropolitan division with 1.8 million people.
After 1970, as Fort Lauderdale became essentially built out, growth in the area shifted to suburbs to the west. As cities such as Coral Springs, Miramar, and Pembroke Pines experienced explosive growth, Fort Lauderdale’s population stagnated, and the city actually shrank by almost 4,000 people between 1980, when the city had 153,279 people, and 1990, when the population was 149,377. A slight rebound brought the population back up to 152,397 at the 2000 census. Since 2000, Fort Lauderdale has gained slightly over 18,000 residents through annexation of seven neighborhoods in unincorporated Broward County.
Off the coast of Fort Lauderdale is the Osborne Reef, an artificial reef made of discarded tires that has proven to be an ecological disaster. The dumping began in the 1960s, with the intent to provide habitat for fish while disposing of trash from the land. However, in the rugged and corrosive environment of the ocean, nylon straps used to secure the tires wore out, cables rusted, and tires broke free. The tires posed a particular threat after breaking free from their restraints. The tires then migrated shoreward and ran into a living reef tract, washed up on its slope and killed many things in their path. In recent years, thousands of tires have also washed up on nearby beaches, especially during hurricanes. Local authorities are now working to remove the 700,000 tires, in cooperation with the U.S. Army, Navy and Coast Guard.
The downtown area, especially around Las Olas Boulevard, first underwent redevelopment starting in 2002 and now hosts many new hotels and high-rise condominium developments. The downtown area is the largest in Broward County, although there are other cities in the county with commercial centers. Office buildings and highrises include Las Olas River House, Las Olas Grand, 110 Tower (formerly AutoNation Tower), Bank of America Plaza, One Financial Plaza, Broward Financial Center, One East Broward Boulevard, Barnett Bank Plaza, PNC Center, New River Center, One Corporate Center, SunTrust Centre, 101 Tower, and SouthTrust Tower.
The Fort Lauderdale metropolitan area foreclosures increased 127.4% from 2006 to 2007, or one filing per 48 households in the quarter. Fort Lauderdale ranks fourth in the list of top 10 metropolitan areas ranked by foreclosure filings per household for the third quarter of 2007.
Fort Lauderdale is a major manufacturing and maintenance center for yachts. The boating industry is responsible for over 109,000 jobs in the county. With its many canals, and proximity to the Bahamas and Caribbean, it is also a popular yachting vacation stop, and home port for 42,000 boats, and approximately 100 marinas and boatyards. Additionally, the annual Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, the world’s largest boat show, brings over 125,000 people to the city each year.
Companies based in the Fort Lauderdale area include AutoNation, Citrix Systems, DHL Express, Spirit Airlines, and National Beverage Corporation. The largest employers in the county are Tenet Healthcare, which employs 5,000 people; American Express, which employs 4,200; FirstService Residential, which employs 3,900; Motorola, which employs 3,000, and Maxim Integrated Products, which employs 2,000.
Gulfstream International Airlines, a commuter airline, is headquartered in nearby Dania Beach. An Online Trading Academy center is also located in the city.
Fort Lauderdale was recently listed as 2017’s third best city out of 150 U.S. cities by WalletHub for summer jobs, and the 24th best city to start a career in.
Four railroads serve Fort Lauderdale. Florida East Coast Railroad (FEC) and CSX Transportation are freight lines, Amtrak provides passenger service to other cities on the Atlantic coast via the Fort Lauderdale station, and Tri-Rail provides commuter service between Palm Beach County, Broward County (including two stations in Fort Lauderdale), and Miami-Dade County. All Aboard Florida is constructing a new station in downtown Fort Lauderdale for its Brightline rail service connecting Miami and Orlando, Florida.
The Wave (streetcar), a new 2.7-mile (4.3 km) electric streetcar system costing $125 million, is being planned for the downtown. Most of the construction funding will come from federal ($62.5 million), state ($37 million) and city taxpayers ($10.5 million), with approximately $15 million from assessments on properties located within the Downtown Development Authority. Broward County (BCT) has committed to operating the system for the first 10 years at an expected annual cost of $2 million, and has guaranteed funding to cover any shortfall in ridership revenues. The construction cost of $50 million per mile is considerably higher than other recently built streetcar projects, in part due to the challenges of building an electric transit system over the 3rd Avenue drawbridge.
Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, near Dania Beach, Florida, is the city’s main airport and is the fastest-growing major airport in the country. This is, in part, attributable to service by low-cost carriers such as Spirit Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Southwest Airlines and Virgin America, resulting in lower airfares than nearby Miami International Airport. Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood is an emerging international gateway for the Caribbean and Latin America. Miami International Airport and Palm Beach International Airport also serve the city.
Fort Lauderdale is home to Port Everglades, the nation’s third busiest cruise port. It is Florida’s deepest port, and is an integral petroleum receiving point. Fort Lauderdale is served by a regular international passenger ferry service to Freeport, Grand Bahama Island, Bahamas operated by Baleària Bahamas Express. Broward County is served by three major Interstate Highways (I-75, I-95, I-595) and U.S. Highways such as U.S. 1, US 27 and US 441. The interchange between I-95 and I-595/SR 862 is known as the Rainbow Interchange. It is also served by Florida’s Turnpike and State Highway 869, also known as the Sawgrass Expressway.
Fort Lauderdale’s arts and entertainment district, otherwise known as the Riverwalk Arts & Entertainment District, runs east-west along Las Olas Boulevard, from the beach to the heart of downtown. The district is anchored in the West by the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, and runs through the city to the intersection of Las Olas and A1A. This intersection is the “ground zero” of Fort Lauderdale Beach, and is the site of the Elbo Room bar featured in the 1960 film Where the Boys Are, which led in large measure to the city’s former reputation as a spring break mecca. The city and its suburbs host over 4,100 restaurants and over 120 nightclubs, many of them in the arts and entertainment district. The city is also the setting for the 1986 movie Flight of the Navigator, and host of Langerado, an annual music festival. In 2013, the county welcomed about 1.3 million LGBT travelers who spent about $1.5 billion in area restaurants, hotels, attractions and shops, according to the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Although Fort Lauderdale does not host any top division professional sports teams, the Florida Panthers of the National Hockey League play at BB&T Center in suburban Sunrise. Major League Baseball’s Miami Marlins, the National Football League’s Miami Dolphins and the Miami Heat of the National Basketball Association all play in neighboring Dade County.
The New York Yankees, Baltimore Orioles, and Kansas City Royals used to conduct spring training in the city at Fort Lauderdale Stadium, and NCAA Division I college sports teams of Florida International University and University of Miami play in Dade County. Florida Atlantic University’s athletic programs are located in neighboring Palm Beach County.
Fort Lauderdale is also home to the Fort Lauderdale Aquatic Complex, which is located at the International Swimming Hall of Fame. It contains two 25-yard (23 m) by 50-meter competition pools, as well as one 20 by 25-yard (23 m) diving well. The complex is open to Fort Lauderdale residents, and has also been used in many different national and international competitions since its opening in 1965. 10 world records have been set there, from Catie Ball’s 100 m breaststroke in 1966 to Michael Phelps’ 400 m individual medley in 2002.
compLexity Gaming’s Dota 2 squad is currently based in Fort Lauderdale.
Hugh Taylor Birch State Park is a 180-acre (0.73 km2) park along the beach, with nature trails, camping and picnicking areas, canoeing, and features the Terramar Visitor Center, with exhibits about the ecosystem of the park. Hugh Taylor Birch came to Florida in 1893. He purchased ocean-front property for about a dollar per acre, he eventually owned a 3.5-mile stretch of beachfront. The Bonnet House is a historic home in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, United States. Bonnet House’s modern history began when Birch gave the Bonnet House property as a wedding gift to his daughter Helen and her husband, Chicago artist Frederic Clay Bartlett in 1919. The site was listed on the National Register of Historic places in 1984 and declared a historic landmark by the City of Fort Lauderdale in 2002.
Henry E. Kinney Tunnel on U.S. Route 1 is the only tunnel on a state road in the state of Florida. It was constructed in 1960, and its 864-foot (263 m) length travels underneath the New River and Las Olas Boulevard.
The Florida Everglades is one of the most popular sites of interest among visitors to Fort Lauderdale. There are numerous services available to bring visitors from Fort Lauderdale Beach to the Everglades. Just minutes from the beach is the Riverwalk Arts and Entertainment District in downtown Fort Lauderdale, home to cultural attractions, shops, parks and restaurants. Along Riverwalk, the brick-lined meandering promenade, discover the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, Museum of Discovery and Science with its AutoNation 3D IMAX Theater, Florida Grand Opera, Fort Lauderdale Historical Center, Stranahan House and the Museum of Art.
Las Olas Boulevard is a popular thoroughfare in downtown Fort Lauderdale that runs from Andrews Avenue in the Central Business District to A1A and Fort Lauderdale Beach. The boulevard is a popular attraction for locals and visitors, being ideally situated close to Fort Lauderdale beach, Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport and Port Everglades. It is considered to be South Florida’s most architecturally unique, authentic, and eclectic shopping and dining district.
In addition to its museums, beaches, and nightlife, Fort Lauderdale is home to the Fort Lauderdale Swap Shop, a large indoor/outdoor flea market and the site of the world’s largest drive-in movie theater, with 13 screens.
North Woodlawn Cemetery, an African-American cemetery located east of Interstate 95 near Sunrise Boulevard, was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2017. Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale is an evangelical megachurch in Fort Lauderdale.