Legacy of ‘Little Florida’ carries on into 21st century – Sun Sentinel

While you won’t find it in the National Register of Historic Places, there’s a little slice of old Florida nestled along the New River in Fort Lauderdale.

This venerable estate and its grounds, located at 900 SW 5th Place, is affectionately known as “Historic Little Florida” because it looks strikingly similar to the Florida peninsula. Sitting on the divide of the North and South forks of the river, it is also a landmark for passing vessels.

“This is probably the most unique property in South Florida as far as design and shape,” said DND Associates agent Dale Atkins, who along with Dennis Stevick and Jill Johns, form the Fort Lauderdale-based luxury real estate team affiliated with ONE Sotheby’s International Realty.

“If you were to look at the home from an aerial perspective, the pool would [have the location of] Lake Okeechobee,” Stevick said during a recent tour of the property. “In the fifties you could actually send a post card just by labeling it Little Florida.”

The home, currently listed for $2,599,000, features four bedrooms and three bathrooms, and is situated on 29,597 square feet of land.

The gated estate also features lush landscaping and gardens reminiscent of a private arboretum, complete with trees and plant names displayed, and opens onto more than 650 feet of waterfront.

An 81-foot wooden dock is located on one side, with room for a larger dock on the other side.

“There are no fixed bridges in this area and along with the deep water access, you can have a boat of any size,” Johns said. “And with water on both sides, you’re always getting a breeze on the grounds.”

Originally built in 1937, just two owners have called the estate home. The current homeowners added a second story during a renovation in 1990, but the charm and heritage of the estate was retained.

Atop the second-floor balcony, guests can view rooftops of buildings along Las Olas Boulevard, yet still feel sequestered from the bustle of urban living.

The original owners, Fletcher and Grace Burrows (listed as Barrows in city directories) chronicled the home’s history with an album containing photos of the house under construction, as well as Florida’s expansion during the mid-20th century.

An album entry dated with the year 1940 details a visit by directors from the Ocean Spray Cranberry Co. of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, and other guests, with a note that the group was “greatly impressed by the beauty and growth of Fort Lauderdale.”

That’s not the only historical aspect of the property.

“The land in that area between the forks was originally farmed by the Lewis family from approximately 1783-1819,” said Todd Bothel, Deputy Director and Supervising Curator at Fort Lauderdale Historical Society. “William Cooley later farmed it in the 1830s and the original Fort Lauderdale was built just north of this area (just north of the North fork) in 1838.”

jboehm@sun-sentinel.com, 954-356-4527 or Twitter @SSPrimeProperty

Source: Legacy of ‘Little Florida’ carries on into 21st century – Sun Sentinel