Preservationists Scramble

      News that the only Historic Preservation group in Fort Lauderdale was going out of business by the year’s end struck a nerve in the preservation community, and might have changed the group’s plans!

     The Broward Trust for Historic Preservation was out of money and out of steam, and decided their only option was to go out of business, according to the group’s President, Diane Smart.

     Enter a group of citizens to the rescue!


     After I reported the possible folding of the Trust in a blog post a few weeks back, a group of about fifteen residents, concerned with preserving Fort Lauderdale’s dwindling history, and hell bent on saving the group or starting a new effort, met in the 1916 Annie Beck House, (that was saved from the wrecking ball and moved a few years back from off Las Olas into the Middle River Terrace Park) to strategize. 

     For some background, the Broward Trust has been fighting to preserve some of Fort Lauderdale’s historic structures for over a decade. 
                                           Lauderdale Beach Hotel

     One example, the City’s oldest beachfront hotel ( circa 1939) was slated for demolition, and the Trust and the developers came to an agreement to save the important front of the structure, and let the developer go ahead and remove the rear portions of the building for their mega Condo behind.

     But not all of the Trust’s work has been as collaborative with the development community.
     The biggest fight between the two lasted about a decade and centered around the oldest house in the City (1905), the Stranahan House. 

                                      Frank and Ivy’s pad on the river

     A new Condo was planned to go on the north side of the House, and a long protracted fight and lawsuit ensued. Though the development planned on keeping the House, even “showcasing” it, the preservationists felt it would “loom” or obscure the cherished house.
     The developers won in the end, but the battle ran right up to the recession, and that scuttled plans for the development ( at least so far). Neither the development community or the preservationists have truly trusted each other since.

     But these possible new members of a reworked Broward Trust just might give preservation a fresh start.

     Steve Glassman , Vice Chair of Broward County’s Historical Commission, says historic preservation has always been perceived as an “us VS. them”  
mentality, but thinks it’s been mostly “fueled by the media” . He says he thinks a new effort can bring the two sides together .

     Here are just some of the “resources” some activists would like to see saved.    

                                       Jolly Roger Hotel on the beach

                                                        Oakland Park mall

  Pier 66

                                                          Sheraton Yankee Clipper

The group plans on meeting again in September to nail down their plans. 

     I’m curious what you think – add a comment ( just choose a pseudonym if you want to remain anonymous, and I won’t give you up!)


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