Modern high rises make up the bulk of Fort Lauderdale’s riverfront. But if you look closely, you will discover a gem from the old days. Right by the water, the Stranahan House takes guests on a journey to the early 20th century, when Fort Lauderdale was still in its infancy. If you are interested in historic architecture and relics from Florida’s pioneer era, you have come to the right place.
History of the Stranahan House
The Stranahan House was built in 1901 as a trading post to exchange goods with the Seminole Indians. This makes it the oldest building in Broward County. With time, the city of Fort Lauderdale grew around the house and became a sprawling metropolis.
The builder, Frank Stranahan, lived in this house until his death in the year 1906, together with his wife Idy. Before the Stranahan House was given landmark status in 1973, it served as a guesthouse and restaurant. In 1980, the original interior was restored, and since 1984 the Stranahan House has been a historical museum.
Attractions at the Stranahan House
The Stranahan House has retained its nostalgic charm, not only on the outside. The interior still looks like in the early 20th century when the Stranahans were living here: Elegant wooden furniture, lace doilies, expensive china and hunting trophies speak volumes about the privileged life of the Stranahans. In the kitchen, you will see how people used to prepare meals 100 years ago. Other exhibits include old trading goods, antique typewriters and Stranahan’s gramophone – a masterpiece designed by no other than Thomas Edison himself.
One thing becomes clear when you tour the house: Frank Stranahan was more than a gifted merchant. As the only vault-owner for miles, he took on the job as Fort Lauderdale’s banker. In addition, the pioneer from Idaho also ran the post office. You can still ring its bell today.
The walls are adorned with countless pictures and photos from the early days of Fort Lauderdale. But Frank and Ivy not only aimed at developing the city. They also had fruitful, life-long relations with the Seminole Indians. At a special exhibition, you can admire Indian clothes, blankets, dolls and jewelry.
Opening Hours and Ticket Prices at the Stranahan House
Group tours are the only way to explore the Stranahan House. They take place everyday at 1, 2 and 3 pm. Some of the tours are reserved for school classes, so you should call the Stranahan House in advance and ask about available tours.
Tickets cost 12 USD for adults, 11 USD for seniors and 7 USD for students. If you are visiting the House with groups of 10 or more people, you have to make a reservation.
Events at the Stranahan House
Several times a year, the Stranahan House serves as a venue for entertaining events. On Christmas the estate is beautifully decorated with lights and a colorful Christmas Tree. Then, you can join a boat trip on the New River and admire festively lit houses on the shore.
In April, the Pineapple Jam draws in guests with delicious, fruity cocktails and live music. On Halloween it is time to discover the spooky past of the Stranahan House. Among ghost hunters, these estates are considered one of the most haunted places in the US. Legend has it that the ghost of Frank Stranahan still dwells here. No matter if you believe in such things – touring this old house at night is a spooky experience. If you want to listen to costumed guides telling scary stories from Fort Lauderdale’s past, you should join the Ghost Tour.
In addition, guests can also book the Stranahan House, or rather its extensive riverside garden, for their own events like weddings, birthday parties or corporate events with up to 200 people.