Founding a City
The City of Oakland Park is one of the older municipalities in Broward County. It was originally chartered as the Town of Floranada in December, 1925. This was to be no little village. The boundaries went from the ocean west to what is now U.S. 441, and from the north fork of Middle River north to Cypress Creek.
All of south Florida was bursting with development, but the September 1926 hurricane, which devastated the area, burst the prosperity balloon. By late spring of 1929, it had become apparent that the number of residents who had returned to their homes elsewhere and the businesses which had closed, drastically depleted the population.
The few who were left tightened their belts and decided to make some major changes. A referendum abolished the Town of Floranada and established the City of Oakland Park. The boundaries were reestablished to approximately the west side of U.S. 1 west to NE 3rd Avenue and the north fork of Middle River north to what is now Prospect Road. A very unusual thing about the demise of Floranada - all bills were paid, there were no debts left.
The little City of Oakland Park was mostly the home of area farmers. The small Oakland Park Methodist Church (the only church in town at that time) was the hub of social activities. The Oakland Park Elementary School (which, incidentally, is on the National Register of Historic Places) had been built in 1925, and remains open. Originally, grades 1 through 6 were taught. Later it was grades 1 through 4, with 1st and 2nd grades in 1 room with 1 teacher and grades 3 and 4 in another room with the principal as teacher. Children rode school buses into Ft. Lauderdale for all the higher grades.
Modern Oakland Park
Gradually the City began to grow. A few new homes appeared and the population increased. As the years passed, the size of the town also began to expand, both in residents and in area. Although it will never cover as much territory as Floranada, today it is a little over 8 square miles, and approximately 43,000 residents call Oakland Park home. It has a notable recreation program, its own excellent library, expansive parks, and much, much more.
Oakland Park Historical Society
The Oakland Park Historical Society was founded in the 1970's and is endeavoring to preserve some of our heritage. There is a small house on NE 6th Avenue just north of NE 38th Street that is designated as an Historical House and Museum. It is, at the present time, undergoing very necessary repair work. When this is completed, it will once more be open to the public. There will be copies of photographs of the early days, old voting and tax books, etc.
Darleen Mitchell: About the Author
Darleen Mitchell was the 1st resident born in Oakland Park after its incorporation in 1929. Mrs. Mitchell served as City Clerk for more than 30 years and is a founding member of the Oakland Park Historical Society.