Living in Ft. Lauderdale has its staples: Sandy beaches, great nightlife, and restaurants for miles. What many rarely realize, however, is that part of South Florida’s charisma is tied to its many quirks. From a sandy Santa to swashbuckling pirates, these unusual stories will help you understand Broward County’s charm (and serve as some very amusing table talk!)
The “Venice of America,” a phrase once uttered by a New York investor and later credited to Commodore Auylan Harcourt Brook, is now synonymous with Ft. Lauderdale. The plethora of canals and waterways are a result of mangrove swamp dredging during the city’s boom in the 1920’s. Finger island subdivisions were built to accommodate new landowners, leaving behind over 165 miles of waterway! Compare that to Venice’s 26 miles of waterway, and you’ll be glad you have paradise right in your own backyard!
Just because South Florida doesn’t have snow, doesn’t mean Christmas is any less festive! Santa on the Beach, one of the area’s most unique traditions, is held on Ft. Lauderdale Beach every year. The event starts with a motorcade and ends with a candy cane giveaway on the beach featuring Santa Claus himself. Full North Pole gear and a South Florida winter are never a good idea, but they sure make for a one-of-a-kind experience!
Speaking of a winter wonderland, it didn’t snow in South Florida until 1977! Lucky residents of Broward County awoke to snow flurries early morning on January 19, 1977. Temperatures dropped to the low 30’s, leaving residents wondering if they were in the right place. Maybe it will snow in South Florida again someday; maybe it’s wishful thinking. It does make for a cool story though!
The stories that shroud Ft. Lauderdale are fantastic. Not legends of fairies and gnomes, but of pillaging pirates with treasures and gold. The Abinaki, a coastal tribe known for living along the sea, once inhabited Ft. Lauderdale’s waterways. They used the land’s resources for survival, and all was well. Pirates pushed the tribe out, took over their lands, and began using the rivers and canals to ransack Spanish ships filled with gold brought over from Central America. Luckily, there are no pirates lurking in Ft. Lauderdale’s waterways today, but there are curiosities hiding in every corner.