Lesson 2: A walk into history at the Stranahan House
Built in 1901, the Stranahan House as it stands today is the oldest surviving structure in Broward County. It was built by a man named Frank Stranahan. Let's take a walk into history to learn more about Mr. Stranahan...
Frank Stranahan moved to Fort Lauderdale in January 1893 at the age of 27. This was during a time where settlement was just beginning in South Florida. He was hired to manage his cousin’s camp and ferry service crossing at an outpost along the New River. He quickly established himself as a successful businessman, forming a trading post amongst other settlers and the local Seminole Indians. As this outpost on the river grew, so did the need for a school. Ivy Cromartie, a young teacher, came into town to take up a position teaching the nine students in town. Attracted to her beauty, Frank Stranahan began courting Ivy. On August 16, 1900, Frank and Ivy got married.
After their honeymoon, Frank built a two-story house made of Dade County pine near his trading post. It had wide porches around its two floors, so that the Seminoles would have a place to sleep when they came to trade. This new trading post quickly evolved into a post office, community center and town hall. By 1906, he built a new building closer to the railroad, which had arrived in 1896. The old trading post was renovated as a residence for the Stranahans. Between 1913 and 1915, an interior staircase, electric wiring and plumbing were installed. Frank became a major landowner in the region. He donated property for many public projects and both he and Ivy took on leadership roles in the social and civic life of their developing city.
After Ivy Stranahan’s death, the house was left to the Seventh Day Adventist Church, of which Ivy had been a member since 1915. It was purchased by the Fort Lauderdale Historical Society in 1975 with the idea to renovate it to its former glory. Construction was completed in 1984, and the house opened to the public as a historic house museum later that year.
The building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974.
Today, the home is a historic house museum open to the public, receiving approximately 10,000 visitors a year.
Have you ever visited the Stranahan House?
Historic Preservation: A preservationist is one who advocates to preserve architecturally or historically significant buildings, structures objects or sites from demolition. The Stranahan House is a perfect example of a place who would hire a preservationist to handle antique items as such.
Historian: Historians are academics and researchers who study events of the past. Their primary duties include obtaining historical data form libraries, archives, artifacts determining the authenticity of historical data and teaching or researching at universities. Visit the Stranahan House if you haven’t done so, to learn more about the history of Broward County.