Town Fun Facts
We'll be sharing fun facts about our town all year long- stay tuned by following our social media pages on Facebook, X, and Nextdoor.
A Visit From England
In 1979, Harry Richard, Lord Mayor of Coventry, England, paid a visit to our quaint town. He was hosted by then mayor, Jack Forrest. During his visit, Harry Richard was presented with keys to the Town.
Jack and his wife Shirley later paid a return visit to the Lord Mayor during which he referred to LBTS as "that wee charming town from overseas."
Did you know LBTS used to have organized alligator hunts? Hunters would gather at a designated meeting place and then set out to lasso as many alligators as they could. Sometimes this number was as many at fifteen in one day! The alligators were then relocated unharmed into the marshes west of the Town.
Melvin Anglin, LBTS's original founder, worked for ten years to build the Town's first pier, which was completed in 1941. The original pier extended almost 800 feet out from the beach and lasted for almost 20 years before wind, weather, hurricanes, and other natural effects had it crumbling into the waters. Frank Myatt, along with Everett Sorenson, took on the task of rebuilding a new pier in 1960. The new pier was formally dedicated on November 22, 1963.
The Lauderdale Beach Bank, established in 1961, was the first bank in Town. This building later became the Sun Bank in 1976. Renovations and expansion have transitioned it into the Suntrust Bank that stands today.
Benihana is Born
In 1969, Architect Arthur N. Hosking designed the Benihana restaurant located on Commercial Boulevard and the Intracoastal Waterway. The roof tiles were imported from Japan, while the landscaping along the water was brought in from California. Hosking sought to mimic a traditional Japanese garden in its design.
If you've spent some time around town, you likely DO know the Bocce Boys. These gentleman can often be found enjoying a spirited game of bocce at Friedt Park, located behind Town Hall.
The beloved bocce courts were officially opened in 1983 after the Town responded to senior citizens' needs by building a park where they could relax and enjoy a variety of games.
Mayor Jack Forrest, police chief Joe Fitzgerald, and commission members Michael Spicola, Wally Kilday, and Tom McKane attended the ribbon cutting for the new park.
Commercial Bridge Ribbon-cutting
On October 16, 1965, the ribbon-cutting ceremony was held for the opening of the Commercial Bridge. The bridge connects our seaside town to the area west of the Intercoastal. Mayor Gilbert H. Colnot had the honor of representing our Town for the ceremony. The Pine Crest School band, along with others, put on a patriotic display during the opening ceremonies.
An expansive coral reef system, living beneath Anglin's Pier, is one of the most popular fishing spots in South Florida.
In our town's early years, fisherman and divers would find blue fish, snook, tarpon, grouper, Spanish mackerel, pompano, and much more. Crabs and spiny lobster also called this reef home. Many of these species can still be found here today!
In 1961, LBTS made it illegal to display and gut fish in public and to catch shark and barracuda. A number of arrests were made off this offense as Mayor Colnot and the Town Commission stood firm on the matter.
Jarvis Hall, the building where we hold Town Commission Meetings and other community events, was named after Ernest Jarvis in 1965. Ernest was a dedicated resident of LBTS and then Mayor Gilbert Colnot decided to build Jarvis Hall in his honor.
LBTS Theme Song
Did you know LBTS has its own song? That's right! In 1956, Joe E Howard wrote a musical interlude for the Town. The caption to one of his music sheet covers quotes "One of America's Most Romantic Spots to Swim, Ski, Dance, and Love Life!" 68 years later and this still rings true!
In June 1956, the Lion's Club celebrated its birthday.
The Lion's Club's original mission was "Sight for the Blind," at the suggestion of Helen Keller. The Club campaigned for eye conservation, glasses for those unable to afford them, braille typewriters for applicable individuals, and more.
Their first community service project included placing of flags on national holidays throughout the existing Town businesses and are credited with hosting the Fourth of July fireworks display. Both of these tasks were later passed off to the Volunteer Fire Department.
They Lion's Club also sponsored a Youth Week in town, which included a "Junior Official Night" during which the chosen young people occupied the chairs of real officials and conducted the business of the Town.
"Pelicans in Flight" Sculpture
Did you know the Pelicans in Flight sculpture that lives in the heart of our downtown was unveiled at Pelican Square in October 1990? While our downtown has been updated since this photo, Artist Carl Wagner's bronze sculpture remains a notable landmark and is a welcome symbol of our charming coastal community.
It took the Chamber of Commerce four years to raise the $30,000 necessary to cover the costs of the monument.
While it was never found, there are tales that pirates buried treasure right here in town! In 1956, work broke ground for the Women's Club's new location, off the Intracoastal, just North of Commercial Boulevard. It is in this very spot, that the treasure was alleged to have been buried.
Our Town's official police department dates back to the early fifties. During that time, a single officer, Chief George Garland, was in change. Little by little the force grew so that in 1974, the force had a complement of 14 members. Now, the Broward Sheriff's Office provides law enforcement services to our town.
Roots in Swamp Land
The Town of LBTS, before formally founded, was on the fringe of the original Everglades, and home to semi-tropical vegetaition, alligators, and more.
You have Ms. Lorna Perks to thank for the Town Topics we publish every quarter. In 1957, then Commissioner Lorna Perks introduced the first Town Topics. At that time, Town Topics was a semi-monthly newsletter that advised residents on details from the commission meetings, town affairs, social and church events, and more.
The first edition of Town Topics was a single sheet of yellow legal paper. During its early days, former Garden Club President Elsie Montgomery had a regular feature titled Leaves from the Gardener's Notebook. The column, first introduced in 1963, ran for 25 years.
You may know that the Town gets its water from Fort Lauderdale, but what may come as news is that this was initially made possible by Glen Friedt, Sr., one of the Town's earliest residents. Glen Friedt, Sr. is responsible for digging a trench from the north to south borders of town, thus enabling Town to acquire its water supply from Ft. Lauderdale.
Women's Club's First Event
In 1949, the Women's Club's first event at their newly constructed Civic Center was masquerade Halloween party. A four-piece band provided the background for some good old-fashioned square dancing, while hot dogs, rolls, apples, and spiked cider were served. The cost to attend this soiree? Fifty cents!
Women's Club Home Base
The Women's Club originally called a building at the intersection of A1A and Bougainvilla, called The Civic Center, home in 1949. The founding women raised the funds for the construction materials and the Men's Improvement Association, formed in 1947 when LBTS officially became a municipality, volunteered to provide the labor.
Eventually, the Women's Club built a new location, off of the Intracoastal Waterway. The old Civic Center was given to the Chamber of Commerce, from which it still operates today!