Broward News

How 23 Broward Neighborhoods Got Their Names

Cities, like children, are sometimes named after important individuals (or old-timey developers); other times, they’re just given names that sound pleasant (better for marketing!). After a while, names are accepted but no longer questioned, so it’s totally possible to live your entire life with no idea how your hometown got its name. But that’s sad – because some have really interesting backstories, especially in Broward County. (If you’re from Tamarac, you’ve really been missing out!)

To rectify the situation, we’ve rolled up our sleeves and dug deep into the dusty internet to share with you how 23 Broward cities and towns got their names. (There are 32 municipalities in the county, but we spared you the boringly named ones.)

Coconut Creek: This municipality was named after the many coconut trees planted in the area by the city’s founders. But there aren’t any creeks here. Given that our ancestors just decided to name things half for the fun of it, let’s consider ourselves lucky this place wasn’t called Swampy Boogertown.

Cooper City: Morris Cooper immigrated to the United States from the Ukraine when he was 18, after his father had been robbed and beaten to death by a band of Russian peasants. He worked in factories until he saved enough money to open his own shirt company in New Jersey. When his luck started to change, Cooper invested his profits into a Florida orange grove and acres of surrounding land. Hence, Cooper City.

Coral Springs: You might know Coral Springs as the place your mom drags you to when you have to visit your grandma. The area was named after Coral Ridge Properties, the company that developed the community in 1963. It’s a bit of a misnomer since the nearest spring is hundreds of miles away, in the middle of the state.

Dania Beach: In 1904, this area was settled by a group of people with Danish ancestry. They called the area Modello for a while but changed it to Dania — after the people, not the pastry.

Davie: The land that is now called Davie was once part of the Everglades ecosystem and mostly underwater. A developer named Robert Parsell Davie bought up a bunch of land and built a school. Apparently the townspeople were so grateful, they renamed the town after him. Too bad his name wasn’t R.P. Funkytown or else we could all git down to Funkytown to see the rodeo.

Deerfield Beach: Named quite literally in 1898 after deer that grazed in the fields along the Hillsboro River.
Fort Lauderdale: The 1830s was a tumultuous time along the New River. Settlers were just arriving, but Seminole Indians were already there. By 1838, in the throes of the Second Seminole War, the United States built its first stockades there, part of military encampments named Fort Lauderdale after Major William Lauderdale, who led the soldiers who constructed them. Lauderdale died shortly after, and the forts have long disappeared, but if drunk spring breakers don’t quit with the litter and binge-drinking, they might have to come back.

Hallandale Beach: Back in the 19th Century, developer and railroad magnate Henry Flagler couldn’t get anyone to actually stay and live in the area now known as Hallandale. So Flagler recruited the brother-in-law of one of his workers. His name was Luther Halland, and he praised the area’s cheap land and nonexistent winters. By 1900, a dozen families were living in “Halland,” which was later changed to Hallandale. These days, the area is known for the biggest fire-breathing Pegasus outside of Greek mythology: a $30 million sculpture at the Gulfstream Park racetrack.

Hollywood: Joseph Young was a real estate developer from California with big dreams for all the new land he was purchasing on the east coast of Florida. Young envisioned his city to be a motion-picture colony and even named the town “Hollywood by the Sea” after the West Coast La-La-Land. But if Jimmy Buffett has his way, we’ll be calling it Margaritaville by 2020.

Lauderhill: Herbert Sadkin was Lauderhill’s founding father. In 1959, as the area was being incorporated, Sadkin planned to call the area “Sunnydale.” But Sadkin’s close friend, New York Times journalist William Safire, convinced Sadkin that the name would remind residents too much of the Sunnydale neighborhood in Brooklyn. It’s unclear why, but Safire liked the wordplay of “hill” and “dale” and proposed to name the community “Lauderhill.” Sadkin explained that there were no hills here, to which Safire replied, “There are probably no dales in Lauderdale either!” (A dale is a valley, by the way.) Sadkin was convinced… and now you have something to tell spring breakers who are lost on their way to Fort Lauderdale.

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Jess Swanson is a staff writer at New Times. Born and raised in Miami, she graduated from the University of Miami’s School of Communication and wrote briefly for the student newspaper until realizing her true calling: pissing off fraternity brothers by reporting about their parties on her crime blog. Especially gifted in jumping rope and solving Rubik’s cubes, she also holds the title for longest stint as an unpaid intern in New Times history. She left the Magic City for New York to earn her master’s degree from Columbia University School of Journalism, where she spent a year profiling circumcised men who were trying to regrow their foreskins for a story that ultimately won the John Horgan Award for Critical Science Journalism. Terrified by pizza rats and arctic temperatures, she quickly returned to her natural habitat.
Contact: Jess Swanson