Fort Lauderdale is an American city that is located in the state of Florida. It covers an area of thirty-six square miles and has a population of one hundred and eighty-three thousand residents. Fort Lauderdale is the seat of Broward County and has become a very popular tourist destination. Over ten million visitors come to the city each year, and Fort Lauderdale has been called the Venice of America because of its expansive system of canals. Fort Lauderdale is also a major center for yachting enthusiasts, with over forty-two thousand resident yachts and over one hundred marinas. As if all that wasn’t enough, the city is also known for its vibrant nightlife and the city contains over one hundred and twenty nightclubs and forty-one hundred restaurants.
Fort Lauderdale can trace its history to the nineteenth century. In the 1830s, the area on which Fort Lauderdale is located was known as the New River Settlement. It was during this time that there were approximately seventy settlers living in the region. The local Justice of the Peace, William Cooley was a farmer and salvage wrecker who traded extensively with the local Seminole Indian tribes. In Jan of 1836, William Cooley was salvaging a wrecked ship, when a band of Seminoles Indians attacked his settlement and killed his wife and children. None of the other white families were attacked, but it caused a panic that caused these residents to abandon the settlement. Two years later, the United States army erected Fort Lauderdale to secure the area against the Seminoles. In 1842, the fort was abandoned after the end of the Second Seminole War. The fort and the surrounding area would remain virtually desolate until the 1890s, when a ferry was opened up to traverse the New River. In 1896, Florida East Coast Railroad completed a route through the area and development began thereafter. In 1911, Fort Lauderdale was incorporated and four years later it became the county seat of Broward County.
During World War II, Fort Lauderdale became a major American military base and had facilities to train radar operators, fire control operators and pilots. There was also a Coast Guard base located here. After the war, there was a large influx of servicemen into the city. Between 1950 and 1960, the population of the city rose by over two hundred and thirty percent. During the next ten years, the population would double again. After the 1970s, development of the city began to grind to a halt and during the 1980s and 1990s, the population of the city shrank a little. Since then, the city has rebounded and the population is once again on the increase. Today, its a premier tourist attraction with many different attractions to lure visitors.
A popular attraction in Fort Lauderdale is the Museum of Art. It was founded in 1958 as the Fort Lauderdale art center. It is in a seventy-five thousand square foot building that was designed by Edward Larrabee Barnes. The building in which the Museum of Art is currently located, was built in 1986 and a ten thousand square foot wing was added in 2001. The main gallery of the building has twenty-one thousand square feet and a twenty-eight hundred square foot sculpture terrace. The Fort Lauderdale has a collection of over sixty-two hundred works of art from over one hundred and twenty-five artist. Past and current exhibitions located here include “Photographs of Auschwitz by Susan May Tell”, “The High Style of Dorothy Draper”, “Matthew Schreiber: Platonic Solids” and “Pablo Picasso ceramics and Carlos Luna paintings”.
Another popular attraction in the city is the Bonnet House Museum and Gardens. This museum was founded in 1919, when the property was given as a wedding gift to Chicago artist Frederic Clay Bartlett. Bartlett and his wife began construction of a winter retreat the following year. Five years later, his wife died from breast cancer. Bartletts visits to the property became few and far between. In 1931, he married Evelyn Lilly and returned to rebuilding the site. In 1953, Frederic died, but his wife Evelyn continued on with the work. Fifty years later, Evelyn gave Bonnet House to the Florida Trust for Historic Preservation. Today, the site is a museum that has full accreditation by the American Association of Museums. It made the National Register of Historic places in 1984 and the Fort Lauderdale’s Historic Registry in 2002.
The Museum of Discovery and Science is another prominent attraction in the city of Fort Lauderdale. It is one of the biggest museums of its kind in the state of Florida and attracts more visitors than any other museum in Florida. The museum has native Florida animal specimens, a simulated ride to mars and a sixty by eighty foot IMAX theater. The museum has over two hundred interactive exhibits in all. Permanent exhibits that are located here include Minerals Rock Exhibit, Great Gravity Clock, Gizmo City, Living in the Everglades, Runways to Rockets, Florida Ecoscapes, Sound Exhibit and the Discovery Center.
Other attractions in Fort Lauderdale include Spirit of Lauderdale Catamaran, Water Taxi, Sawgrass Recreation Park, Carrie B. Cruises, Tradewinds Park, Laffing Matterz, Anne Kolb Nature Center, Hugh Taylor Birch State Park, Stranahan House, Fort Lauderdale Stadium, International Swimming Hall of Fame, Las Olas Boulevard, Broward Center for the Performing Arts, Fort Lauderdale Beachfront, The Africa Adventure Company, Grande Oaks Golf Resort, Everglades Holiday Park, Secret Woods Nature Center, Galleries of Seldom Seen, Old Dillard Art and Cultural Museum, Fort Lauderdale Antique Car Museum, Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, Harrison’s Wine Gallery, Pompano Square, The Gallery at Beach Place, Broward Mall, Xtreme Indoor Karting, Las Olas Gondola Tours, 15th Street Fisheries, Davie Five Star Championship Rodeo, Fashion Avenue, Independence Brewery, Lord & Taylor’s Clearance Center, Dania Antique Row, Quiet Waters Park, Shades of the Past Antiques, Greater Fort Lauderdale & Broward County Convention Center, Pocock Fine Art & Antiques, Joe Picasso’s, Exit 66 and Grand Bahamas Scuba. Fort Lauderdale also has many fine hotels which include The Atlantic Hotel, Lago Mar Resort and Club, and the Hilton Fort Lauderdale Grande Hotel & Yacht Club.