Stranahan House was built in 1901 by Frank Stranahan, the father of Ft. Lauderdale and his wife, Ivy Cromartie Stranahan, the area's first school teacher. Frank Stranahan was born in New Vienna, Ohio August 21, 1865. He was the founder of the City of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and the first permanent white settler, where he established a trading post, post office and ferry. The Stranahan House, which he built, is the oldest surviving structure of Fort Lauderdale. He arrived to the New River area in 1893, where he became friendly with the local Seminole Indians and operated the ferry that traveled across and along the New River. Frank assumed management of the overland mail route from Lantana to Coconut Grove, formed the first post office, and also financed the construction of the first road from the New River to Miami in addition to being very active within the Ft. Lauderdale community.
Ivy Julia Cromartie Stranahan, Frank's wife, was born in White Springs, Florida on February 24, 1881. She graduated from Lemon City high school to become a teacher, and by 1899 at the age of 18, Ivy was hired to teach in the area's one room school house. The new postmaster, Frank Stranahan, was captivated by the young school teacher and romance ensued. They were married in 1901 and lived in the Stranahan House together until Frank's death in 1929. Following Frank Stranahan's death in 1929, Ivy began to rent out the upstairs bedrooms of the house to boarders for a small fee. By 1939, the first floor had been rented out to the Blackwell family who then turned the first floor of the Stranahan House into the Pioneer House Restaurant. Ivy never moved out of the house even when it was operating as a restaurant for forty years, and devoted most of her time to others. In addition to her love of teaching, Ivy was very active in the community and in social affairs, including women's suffrage, the Audubon Society, and the establishment of the Everglades National Park. Her most noted accomplishment was the foundation of the "Friends of Seminoles," an organization focused on helping the Seminoles to take advantage of the reservation that was rightly theirs in Dania. At age 91, she passed away on August 30, 1971 after falling asleep in the upstairs sitting room. After Ivy's death in 1971 and the closing of the restaurant in 1979, the Historical Society joined with the Fort Lauderdale Board of Realtors to restore the house to its original 1915 era and open the house up to the public as a museum. In 1984, Stranahan House, Inc. officially opened as a historic house museum.
The mission of The Historic Stranahan House Museum is to tell the story of the birth of our community through the lives of two extraordinary people and the homestead they created, in addition to serving as a model for historic preservation.
Frank and Ivy's legacy lives on as part of Stranahan House which provides tours daily, river tours weekly and a variety of special events throughout the year.
This article has been provided by Historic Stranahan House Museum. For more information please contact www.stranahanhouse.org
The Original Stranahan Home on the New River now the Historical Museum
Photo Two Quote: Stranahan's Original Fort Lauderdale Trading Post