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Best Local Legend Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach 2008 - Frank Stranahan

In light of the economic downturn, the story of Frank Stranahan is both instructional and apropos. Long before the land boom of the early 21st Century, there was the high-flying 1920s. Broward was growing and the Ohio-born Stranahan was at the center of it all. A rather stern and extremely determined fellow, he built the county's first bank and opened a trading post on the New River. But then fate dealt Stranahan and the area two crushing blows — a devastating earthquake in 1926, and the Great Depression in 1929. Whatever the natural disaster didn't wipe out was taken from him by the economic tumult. Stranahan not only lost all his own money but the fortunes of relatives and friends throughout the area. So on the morning of June 23, 1929, the 64-year-old Stranahan tied an iron grate to his leg and jumped into the New River, drowning himself. Left behind is the home he built on the river, which is now a historic landmark — and a favorite on the haunted house circuit.

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