History Happened Here

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Wilton Manors

Broward County

Year Founded: 1947

History

Wilton Manors, called the Island City, is located on the high ground of the Florida Eastern Coastal Ridge between the north and south forks of the Middle River in Broward County. The area was home to first the Tequestas, and then the Seminoles. William C. Collier arrived in the early 1890′s. The Seminoles called the area Colohatchee, meaning “Collier’s by the River.” A small settlement grew with the completion of a road to the City of Miami, as well as the arrival of the Florida East Coast Railway in 1896. In 1925, Edward J. Willingham, a wealthy Georgian entrepreneur who had arrived in the Fort Lauderdale area a couple years before, laid out an ambitious plat as an upscale community for the soon-to-arrive wealthy entrepreneurs taking advantage of the imminent economic boom. However, when the boom turned to bust in 1926, Willingham returned to Georgia, leaving a couple houses and the magnificent entrance gates at Five Points, which were designed by Francis Abreu. In 1937, George Richardson built the third golf course in the county, a portion of which is now the flagship of the city’s parks system. An extraordinary group of volunteers emerged to incorporate the area as the Village of Wilton Manors in 1947; a charter change later renamed it the City of Wilton Manors in 1953. Wilton Manors continues to flourish because of the commitment of its residents to the city.

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