Everglades Biographies

Frank Stranahan

Frank Stranahan was born in Vienna, Ohio on August 21, 1864. He relocated for health reasons to Florida in 1890, settling in Melbourne. In 1893, Stranahan moved to Fort Lauderdale to assume management of the overland mail route from Lantana to Coconut Grove. He established the first post office in Fort Lauderdale, along with a trading post and a ferry service for crossing the New River. By 1895, Stranahan’s Trading Post was a South Florida landmark.

Stranahan also established the first banking institution in Fort Lauderdale and financed the construction of the first road from the New River to Miami. He became one of the largest land owners in the area but gave away large portions of his land for public welfare, including sites for the memorial Hospital and Stranahan Park. Due to his extraordinary early efforts in the area, Stranahan is known as the founder of Fort Lauderdale. He died in the city on June 23, 1929.

Biography prepared by Ruthanne Vogel, University of Miami

Excerpt from 'Statement of Mr. Frank Stranahan', Conditions of the Florida Seminoles: hearings before the Committee on Investigation of the Indian Service, House of Representatives, 1917.

"At the present time I am president of the Fort Lauderdale State Bank. I located at Fort Lauderdale here January 27, 1893. At that time the Indian camp was about a mile east of here. My camp was pitched within about 300 feet of it. I might say that they were located in a heavy hammock where there was a large field, and they had plenty of corn, Indian pumpkins, sweet potatoes, and Lima beans. They were living in no want whatever at that time. I was in the mercantile business here for 18 years and had considerable experience trading with the Indians in alligator hides and others, and at one time the plume bird also. That part of it was cut off by the Government along about 1899 -- the killing of the plume bird.

"...At one time Osceola had a camp here. He is dead now. In one season he grew tomatoes and shipped them. He shipped enough to buy a horse and wagon. I helped him out with the fertilization proposition then. Then he could go out and grow stuff on one piece till the soil gave out, and then move somewhere else. But later, as fast as they they clear a piece of hammock and work it two or three years, some white man comes along and takes it."


Photo of Stranahan Home, 1906.

Stranahan Home on New River, Ft. Lauderdale, 1906.

Photo courtesy of Florida Bureau of Archives & Records Management, Florida Photographic Collection

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