Stranahan House Museum Poised for Expansion

The Historic Stranahan House Museum, Fort Lauderdale’s oldest and most historically significant surviving structure, kicked off a $2.7 million capital campaign by announcing it has raised $1.6 million. The Wayne and Lucretia Weiner Fund at the Community Foundation of Broward ignited momentum with a $100,000 match donation.

“We are deeply grateful to Wayne and Lucretia Weiner for their extraordinary generosity and unwavering dedication to preserving Fort Lauderdale’s rich history,” said Jennifer Belt, director of Stranahan House.

Stranahan House will add The Egret Classroom, a state-of-the-art education center, and a modern catering kitchen designed by KitchenWorks. The project will also encompass ADA-compliant facilities, including restrooms, as well as an onsite archival and storage facility.

Across the newly designed Dwight & Virginia Rogers Celebration Courtyard, a new building will be erected to house a ticketing window and serve as a welcoming gateway for visitors to downtown Fort Lauderdale. This multifunctional space, funded by the City of Fort Lauderdale and Broward, Palm Beaches and St. Lucie Realtors, will feature an event pavilion and serve as the new location for Stranahan House’s gift shop, allowing for the creation of an engaging new exhibit within the historic structure.

The project will add to improvements in the neighborhood, which recently saw the completion of Tunnel Top Plaza on Las Olas Boulevard next to Stranahan House.

Stranahan House Museum Rendering

Stranahan’s pioneering legacy

Ohio native Frank Stranahan came to the area now known as Fort Lauderdale in January 1893 at the age of 27, to manage his cousin’s camp and ferry at Tarpon Bend on the New River, according to the Stranahan House website. Tarpon Bend is near the current site of Colee Hammock Park.

Stranahan established a thriving trading business with the Seminole Indians, gaining a reputation as a fair businessman.

In 1894, he acquired 10 acres for his own business and moved the trading post farther west along the river. He became postmaster of the tiny settlement and his eventual wife, Ivy Julia Cromartie, became a teacher there in 1899.

When Stranahan House was built in 1901, the lower floor served as a trading post and the upper floor was a community hall. By 1906, Stranahan’s business had expanded to include a general store and bank and he built a new building closer to the railroad, which had arrived in 1896. The old trading post was renovated as a residence for the Stranahans.

Stranahan House opened as a museum in 1984.

Pineapple Jam Celebration

The campaign announcement was made during Stranahan House’s annual Pineapple Jam when more than 250 attendees enjoyed food and music. Sandy Casteel and Water Taxi were honored for their enduring support and contributions to Stranahan House’s mission.

Donations throughout the evening totaled over $21,000, with each contribution matched by the Weiners’ generous pledge. Notable donors include Mike Osceola and Brian Hill, Ted and Kathy Drum, Debra Vogel and Eliot Kleinberg, Steve and Cindy Buckley, Whitney and Paige Dutton, Matthew McAloon, Christine and Robert Yates, Bill Walker, Renee Johnson, Norm and Pat Kublin, Tom Harman, Michelle and Joe Palmesano, John Cotter and Bob Swindell, Pat Norris, Natasha Milijasevic, Maggie Gunther, William Anastasiou, LaurieAnne Minoff, Caroline Carrara, Justin Lawrence, Pete Gosnell and I. David Byrd.

Pineapple Jam Sandy Casteel Honoree Stranahan House Museum
2024 Pineapple Jam Sandy Casteel Honoree

The match donation opportunity provided by the Weiners will be available until May 5, offering individual donors the chance to double their impact and support Stranahan House’s mission of preservation and education. Corporate and individual naming opportunities are also available. To contribute to the Capital Campaign, including the matching opportunity, visit or contact Jennifer Belt at [email protected] or (954) 524-4736 for more information.

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