Fort Lauderdale lays 28 miles north of Miami. It is the county seat of Broward County and has a population of 165,521. It is considered a principal city of the Miami metropolitan area which boasts a population of 6,012,331 residents.
Fort Lauderdale is known for its tourism attractions. The weather entices many, averaging a perfect 75.5 degrees. There is an average of 3,000 sunshine hours annually which is another big plus. Millions of visitors grace the town every year which works wonderfully to enhance the economy.
For the tourist and resident’s pleasure, there are 4,000 restaurants, 63 golf courses and 100 marinas. There are over 45 cruise ships that sail from the city’s Port Everglades as well. Twelve shopping malls are in Fort Lauderdale. In addition, there are many museums, nightclubs and outdoor recreational campsites. The World’s Largest Drive-In Movie is located in the town. There are 14 screens to choose from.
Fort Lauderdale is located adjacent to the Pacific Ocean. It has 165 miles of waterways within the city which includes seven miles of beaches. It is comprised of 34.7 miles of actual land. The city is distinguished for its networking of canals.
Fort Lauderdale acquired its name from the forts that were built there during the time of the Second Seminole War. The forts were built by the United States, Major William Lauderdale and his younger brother, Lieutenant Colonel James Lauderdale, played big roles in the war. When the city was developed some fifty years later, the heroes were remembered.
The area within Fort Lauderdale was originally inhibited by the Tequesta Indians for around two thousand years. The Spanish explorers nearly wiped the Native Americans off the map, however, with the diseases they brought along with them.
Prior to the 20th century, Fort Lauderdale was known as the “New River Settlement”. There were roughly 70 individuals settled there at that time. In 1911, shortly after the Florida East Coast Railroad was completed, the town was incorporated. It was set up to be the county seat as well.
Construction began but was wiped out with the great hurricane of 1926. Then, the Great Depression hit in the 1930’s which wreaked even more havoc. But, Fort Lauderdale overcame.
With the onset of World War II, Fort Lauderdale was initiated by becoming a major United States base, complete with a Naval Air Station. The station trained fire control operators, radar operators and pilots. A Coast Guard base was established too.
The city boomed until 1970 when the population began to spread out to suburbs like Coral Springs, Pembroke Pines and Miramar. It actually shrunk during this time by 4,000 residents. Now, it is leveling off though.
Interestingly, the section to the northwest of Fort Lauderdale is completely separate from the rest of the city. It is connected by the waterway of the Cypress Creek Canal that flows right under I-95. To the south of the city is the greater portion of Fort Lauderdale.
An artificial reef, the Osborne Reef, is located off the coast within the town. It is constructed of old, discarded tires. While the intent was good, to provide a habitat for fish in that area of the ocean. It proved to be an ecological nightmare. The local effort to remove the 700,000 tires is now in progress and is a joint effort with the Coast Guard as well as the U.S. Army and Navy.
The neighborhoods within the city are diverse. There are those with high-dollar price tags and those that could be considered slums as well. They are a direct reflection of the variety of economic classes that abide there. A plan is in place to designate and recognize neighborhoods because there are more than 25 that are not officially recognized yet are on the map. So far, over 60 neighborhoods have been given their due respect because of the endeavor.
Fort Lauderdale has a tropical rainforest climate which is likened to a tropical monsoon climate. It has very little variation in seasonal temperatures. The temperature is generally always abov 65 degrees. There is rarely a dry season with most of the rain falling in the summer months.
Not only are the people and the neighborhoods diversified, the economy is too. For the forty years spanning from 1940 to 1980, the town was flooded with spring break vacationers. That has dwindled though. The attraction of wealthier tourists has been in Fort Lauderdale’s favor. Now, the nautical recreation features and cruise ships that venture from the ports are the main source of income, tourist-wise. The convention center and exhibit halls provide good income to the town as well.
The town has a lot to offer sports fans. The Lockhart Stadium is home to the Fort Lauderdale Strikers of the North American Soccer League.
Although there are no top division pro sports teams in the city, the neighboring Dade County provides a close location to watch such events as the Panthers’ and Miami Dolphins’ games and National Hockey and National Basketball as well. Spring training for the Kansas City Royals, New York Yankees and Baltimore Orioles is held in Fort Lauderdale.
For swimming enthusiasts, Fort Lauderdale is a mecca for events, thanks to the Fort Lauderdale Aquatic Complex. Located where the International Swimming Hall of Fame is housed, it is comprised of two 25-yard pools for competition. Ten world records have been set there.
The town is known for both the attractions travelers hold dear and features that are important to calling a place home. It is a diverse place with much to behold. Indeed Fort Lauderdale is oozing with things to offer both the residents who dwell there and the tourist who visit as well.