The Historical Society is pleased to announce that The History Press has published:

Wilton Manors: From Farming Community to Urban Village

The starting point was Stuart McIver’s 1997 history for the City’s 50th birthday, updated by Cynthia Thuma’s 2005 pictorial history, and was further encouraged by Cindy’s unpublished 2008 update to McIver’s book.  The new book breaks new ground, uncovers new facts, reveals local characters, puts Wilton Manors in national, and international perspectives, debunks established myths, interviews heretofore unheard from sources and, in a scholarly way, has a good time.

Wilton Manors is a gem which has been surrounded by the occasional flashy object.  Huge enterprises north and south crashed in flames in the teens and 1920’s.  The carefully thought out, elegant Wilton Manors failed to launch, but Ned Willingham made good on all his debts.  He left us with the gracefully curved Wilton Boulevard (now Wilton Drive).  He also left us with memories of the Abreu Towers at Five Points, the grand entrance to Wilton Boulevard and a pretty good palette from which to paint a future.

The 1940’s and 1950’s saw a bunch of dedicated, high intensity movers and shakers pull the community together and fend off attempted takeovers by both Oakland Park and Fort Lauderdale.  From a small group of farms, these entrepreneurs platted subdivisions, sold house lots cheap in hopes of building a community faster, and shrewdly fronted money for retail establishments to help the community along.  They donated land to the City for public buildings.  They had secret meetings; they attempted a takeover of rival civic groups by ballot box stuffing.  They embarked on a Dickensian “Bleak House” journey which had the Broward County Supervisor of Elections confessing, in print, “A judge would have to settle it.”

Pitchforks and Torches have come out a number of times in Wilton Manors History.  Citizens are interested, they are involved, and they will not be railroaded.  The latest example is the new City Hall, which has amazing parallels with the construction of its predecessor.

Read all about it in Wilton Manors: From Farming Community to Urban Village.  It is available to purchase at the Wilton Manors Library and various retail establishments in Wilton Manors.  It is also available from “big box” book retailers and on the internet.

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