Sunday, April 13, 2014

Those 1960s Fort Lauderdale Night Spots

Live entertainment reigned in Fort Lauderdale restaurants and clubs of the 1960s. Below is a list of hot spots, some with the entertainers they regularly showcased. A few, such as Woody Woodbury, were more familiar to people than the venues they appeared at.  Andy Bartha’s Dixieland Band was a big draw at several places in Fort Lauderdale and Pompano. There were other clubs and restaurants, but these places were landmarks.

Bahama Hotel – Woody Woodbury – See more about Woody at:

Bahia Cabana - off A1A (still there) featured lounge music

Beach Club Hotel - A1A and Oakland Park Boulevard

Captain Al Starts Showboat Belle at A1A and 36th Street

Cellar Bar on Federal Highway

Charcoal Pit – Federal and Sunrise Boulevard – Living Room Lounge

Chateau Madrid – Kennan Building – Federal and Oakland Park

Colonial Lounge – Federal Highway – any drink 48 cents

Dante’s Restaurant – Federal Highway

Fazio’s House of Prime Ribs – Federal Highway

Forum Restaurant – A1A and Las Olas – also featured lounge music at night

Gaslight Inn – State road 7 near Broward Boulevard

Heilman’s  - at one time featured duo Roger Fenton and Faye Cantrell who played drums wearing long white gloves.

Jolly Roger Hotel featured the Punchinellos.

Lamplighter – McNab Road in Pompano – Piano by Mr. Pinky

Le Dome of the Four Seasons – off Las Olas, west side of Intracoastal. Four Seasons condo still there

Mai Kai Restaurant – Polynesian revue. Still operating.

Marlin Beach Hotel on A1A showcased “Flip” Phillips

Mark 2100 - 1900 N. A1A with its Patio Bar nearly on the sand at the beach

Mousetrap – 2960 N. Federal Highway featured Pat Brown, Ed Hunt, Peggy Martin

Pier Top Lounge at Pier 66 – opened in 1965

Round Table Restaurant at Oakland Park and Federal – lounge with live music and jukeboxes with accompanying movies/videos – ahead of its time.

Rum House at the Galt Ocean Mile Hotel

Sea Shore Resort – A1A north of Sunrise featured Danny Bridge and the        Tunesmen at the Tapis Lounge

Statler Hilton Hotel on the Galt Mile

Tale O’ the Tiger – N. Federal Highway – featured Jay Wray

Tea House of the Tokyo Moon – Seabreeze Boulevard – live music

TJ's Lounge on Commercial Boulevard - jazz

Yankee Clipper featured a Polynesian Revue with Hal Aloma’s B and
       Today, home of world acclaimed mermaid show at the Wreck Bar (swimming pool with portal         windows to the bar)

Tags: Fort Lauderdale history, Fort Lauderdale in the 1960s, Fort Lauderdale entertainment history

Friday, April 4, 2014

Dooley's coffin nails - building ships for WWII in Broward County

Fort Lauderdale beach today

By Jane Feehan

Thousands of military trained in South Florida in preparation for World War II but training was only one aspect of Broward County’s contribution to the war effort. On Labor Day, Sept. 7, 1942 Dooley’s Basin and Dry Dock (later Broward Marine) launched three war craft, the largest mass launching of such vessels in Florida at the time. 

A 110-foot sub chaser (P-710) and two 104-foot rescue craft (P-150) slid into the New River in Dania. The sub chaser was to be outfitted with guns and armaments and the rescue boats with hospital facilities before deployment.

The boats were christened with bottles of wine by an employee and the wives of two other employees—one of whom had four sons serving in the war. In accord with the federal government’s War Production Board wishes, there was no other observance of Labor Day. It was back to work for the company’s 300 plus employees.

The company’s president, Paul Dooley, said the vessels were another nail in the coffin of the enemy; he hoped there would be many more. By war’s end another sub chaser and 95 other rescue boats were produced by Dooley’s shipyard. The nation built 124,000 ships of all types during World War II. (America’s ramped-up production of military weapons and aircraft during World War II was remarkable. According to historian Stephen E. Ambrose, the U.S. produced 800 military airplanes in 1939. By 1942, it was producing 4,000 a month; at the end of 1943, the monthly count was up to 8,000.)

Dooley’s Basin and Dry Dock was recognized by the American Legion for its hiring of vets after the war. However, business did not fare well for long. Military contracts came to an end and Dooley’s government contract for pre-fabricated houses fell through in 1945. More than half its employees were laid off. The company was purchased in 1948 by Frank Denison and was then known as Broward Marine, once the county’s largest employer.

Miami News, Sept. 7, 1942
Miami News, Feb. 13, 1945
Miami News, Sept. 19,1945
Ambrose, Stephen E. D-Day June 6, 1945. New York: Simon & Schuster (1994)

Tags: Broward County history, Broward County in World War II, Broward County shipbuilding in WWII, Broward County in the 1940s

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Mackey Airlines, its colorful founder ... and Fort Lauderdale

Fort Lauderdale

By Jane Feehan

Fort Lauderdale’s Mackey Airlines played a leading role in the South Florida aviation scene from 1946 when it was established, to 1967 when it merged with Eastern Airlines.  Founder Joseph Creighton Mackey started up four airlines, including Mackey International that operated 1969-1981. His career included a colorful past that proves as interesting as that of his companies.

Convair CV-240 - one type flown by Mackey Air
Mackey (1909-1982) was known as a circus barnstormer or aerial stuntman before he served in the USAF during World War II, reaching rank of colonel. Before the U.S. entered the fighting, Mackey was recruited as a ferry pilot for the Canadian war effort. In 1941 he was pilot and sole survivor of an air crash in Newfoundland. Three died on their way to England Feb. 21, including 49-year-old Dr. Sir Frederick Grant Banting who co-discovered insulin as a treatment for diabetes.

In 1943, Colonel Mackey served as commander of the First Foreign Transport Group that flew for the Fireball Express, touted then as the world’s longest, fastest air freight line. Mackey and crew operated four-engine giant C-54 transport planes from Miami to India.  Fireball Express told Miami News reporters that they made the 28,000-mile round trip in “as quickly as six days, 10 hours and 15 minutes.” One year after the freight line started, it logged nearly 7,000,000 miles with only two fatalities.

After the war, Mackey returned to Fort Lauderdale where he had lived on Sunset Drive since 1937. He launched Mackey Airlines in 1946 with routes from Fort Lauderdale, Miami and West Palm Beach to the Caribbean and Cuba.  His Fort Lauderdale-based air carrier became one of only three in the U.S., including Pan Am, to earn a government certification as an International Airline.

After Eastern Airlines bought Mackey routes in 1967 for $19 million, the colonel started up Mackey International. Its Fort Lauderdale headquarters was bombed in 1977 by a Cuban exile group who objected to Mackey’s vice president meeting with the Cuban government to re-establish air routes. As a result, the airline withdrew from negotiations.

Joseph Mackey was inducted into the Aviation Hall of Fame six months before he died at his Flamingo Road home near Davie in 1982. Copyright © 2014. All rights reserved. Jane Feehan.

For a post about Fort Lauderdale's first aviatorMerle Fogg,  see:

Miami News, Feb. 15, 1982
Miami News, Nov. 12, 1944
Miami News, Feb. 25, 1941
   Amazon Gift Cards ... for anyone, any time

Tags: Fort Lauderdale aviators, Fort Lauderdale history, Florida airlines, Joseph Creighton Mackey, Mackey Airlines, film researcher

Monday, March 17, 2014

Naval Air Station Fort Lauderdale Museum: a salute to the missing of Flight 19 and ...

Fort Lauderdale News, Dec. 6, 1945.
 Thirteen more airmen were lost in a search for
the missing squadron
Naval Air Station Fort Lauderdale Museum
4000 West Perimeter Rd., Fort Lauderdale, 33315
Open Thursday, Saturday and Sunday, 11:30 am to 3:30 pm
Staffed by volunteers - call first

By Jane Feehan

There’s a slice of World War II military history sitting near Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport that draws visitors from around the world. They pay homage to those who trained here, including President George H. W. Bush, and to the 27 men of the Lost Squadron or mysterious Flight 19 and its rescue plane.

The Naval Air Station Fort Lauderdale Museum houses the Link Trainer Building #8, which was added to the National Register of Historical Places in 1998. Navy vet Allan McElhiney, who served at the NASFL, founded the Naval Air Station Fort Lauderdale Historical Association in 1979. The group saved the landmark building, so called after the Link Trainer, a flight simulator widely used in WWII. 

Broward County Property Appraiser Lori Parrish took interest in the NAS and was instrumental in finding a Department of Transportation grant to move Building #8, the remaining building of the WWII campus, in 1999, to its present location off Perimeter Road. The move saved the structure from demolition, paving the way for creation of the museum.

The building was one of more than 200 constructed at the site in 1942 to serve as a training center, part of
Work order for building #8
the Navy Air Operational Training Command, specializing in TBM/TBF Avenger aircraft. U.S. Navy and marine personnel as well as some of the British Royal Navy graduated from the facility. Nearly 1,700 pilots and thousands of air crewmen passed through this NAS, one of 257 across the nation at that time.

Broward County turned over the old Merle Fogg Airport to the military shortly after Pearl Harbor (1941). The training facility went up in five short months for about $6 million. It was expected to be used for five years. The NAS was decommissioned in 1946 and turned back over to the county in 1947.
Nineteen year-old Ensign George H.W. Bush trained at the NAS in 1943. His instructor was Thomas “Tex” Ellison, uncle of Jim Naugle, Fort Lauderdale’s mayor 1991-2009. A recreation of Bush’s room is featured in the museum.

The museum also serves as memorial to the men who went missing on the mysterious Flight 19. On Dec. 5, 1945, at 2 p.m., five TBM Avengers carrying 14 crew set out on a routine training mission over the Atlantic near Bimini. Ninety minutes later, flight leader Lt. Charles C. Taylor made the first of several radio transmissions to the NAS reporting that he and the other four planes were lost. When nothing more was heard from the flight several hours later, a PBM Mariner flying boat with 13 onboard was sent to look for Flight 19. It too, was lost. A three-day search in the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico failed to yield any clues to the disappearance of the 27 men, igniting the Bermuda Triangle controversy. The navy closed its investigation into Flight 19 citing loss of fuel in bad weather. Since then, the incident remains a tantalizing mystery.

Replicas of the missing planes are on exhibit as well as more than one hundred handmade wooden
Replicas of the Lost Squadron plus its missing
rescue plane
models of different aircraft. Also displayed are a Link Trainer, uniforms of the period, documents, books, photographs, personal memorabilia, and paintings by late artist Bob Jenny.

A Link Trainer (flight simulator)
In 1992, before the museum was established, President George H.W. Bush visited Building #15 (since destroyed) where he lived as an ensign and signed several Bob Jenny paintings, one a 27-foot mural now at the Link Trainer Building #8.

WWII vets and a few relatives of the lost crewmen of Flight 19 visit the NASFL Museum as well as donate diaries, artifacts and other memorabilia to be placed on display or archived. Visitors also include those who appreciate the role played by the NASFL during WWII and in Broward County’s history.  Many who trained at NASFL returned after the war to make Fort Lauderdale their home, contributing to the explosive growth of the city in the 1950s.

The NASFL played an important part not only in the city’s history but also in the readiness of the nation during WWII. The navy was hesitant in giving the training station up in 1947 and in fact, ordered it re-activated the same year. The order was soon rescinded. The navy said they had been reluctant to turn the NASFL back over to Broward County “because of the uncertainty of future military requirements together with the important position the Fort Lauderdale station occupies in the navy’s mobilization and readiness plans.”

Today, the NASFL Museum retains an “important position” in recognition of the area’s contribution to the war effort and serves as a salute to those who gave their lives in that conflict.
See on this blog:  Mystery of Flight 19:
Miami News, April 20, 1943
Miami News, April 30, 1947
Miami News, Dec. 8, 1948
Spartanburg Herald-Journal, Dec. 19, 1985
Bloom, Minerva. Naval Air Station Fort Lauderdale: a Catalyst for Growth. Morrisville (2013).

Tags: Fort Lauderdale in the 1940s, Fort Lauderdale during WWII, Flight 19, Link Trainer

Monday, March 10, 2014

Broward County reaches milestone in 1966

From Broward County-Planning 2003
Broward County reached a milestone in 1966. By the end of March that year, 500,000 people claimed the county as permanent residence. The headcount rose at an estimated rate of 90 people a day: 20 being born, 12 dying and roughly 80-85 moving to the area each day.   That rate began in 1964 and continued through 1966.

The 1966 population number doesn’t seem impressive when compared to that of 2012, which points to an estimated 1,815,137 in Broward. In contrast, the 1950 population was counted at 83,933 persons; in 1960 the U.S. Census recorded 333,946. The rate slowed during the next decade; in 1970 the U.S. Census tallied 620,000 residents.

Broward County, established in 1915, is comprised of 30 municipalities within 1,196.9 square miles, including about 787 square miles (65 percent) of conservation area. (Little wonder that land values continue to soar.) The county’s boundaries, which extend 50 miles west and stretch 25 miles north to south, include 23 miles of sandy white beaches and 126 miles of navigable canals.

Copyright © 2014. All rights reserved. Jane Feehan.

Fort Lauderdale News, March 16, 1966
U.S. Census

Tags: Broward County history, Broward population

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Mystery of Flight 19 and the Bermuda triangle myth - Fort Lauderdale

Palm Beach Post, Dec 7, 1945
By Jane Feehan

One of the most enduring stories of Fort Lauderdale and World War II is that of missing Flight 19.  

Lieutenant Charles Taylor led a squadron of five TBM Avenger torpedo bombers that took off from the U.S. Naval Air Station, Fort Lauderdale, at about 2 p.m. December 5, 1945. This mission was to take 14 crewmen (an additional member was to participate but remained ashore because of a hangover) on its last training flight. The planes were to fly 77 miles due east to Great Stirrup Key, then 84 miles north to Great Sale and home to Fort Lauderdale. Another squadron was on the same route 30 minutes ahead.

At around 4 p.m. Taylor radioed that both his compasses were not working. He said he was in the Keys but didn’t know how far down and wasn’t sure how to get back to Fort Lauderdale. The last discernible radio transmission was about 5:25 p.m. when an estimated location was given at about 200 miles north of Miami.

The dark blue 14,000-pound Avenger, built by Eastern Aircraft under license from Grumman, was the largest single-engine plane ever built and proved to be reliable during World War II. On the December 5 mission, Flight 19 had enough fuel until 8 p.m. that night.  If ditched, the planes would have sunk immediately.

A sixth plane with 13 on board tasked as a rescue team took off off at 7:30 p.m. and was never heard from again. A ship reported having seen a mid-air flame, possibly an explosion and later an oil slick. For five days hundreds of planes searched for the 27 missing crewmen. Nothing more was ever found of the rescue plane or the five Avengers of Flight 19.

The U.S. Navy assumes Flight 19 ran out of fuel east of Florida and sank in storm-churned waters. Lieutenant Charles Taylor was absolved of responsibility for its fate; bad weather was deemed as probable cause.  Some of his peers thought Taylor was not a good navigator. A news story written years after the disappearance reported that he once got lost flying out of a base in the Keys and wound up on a raft in the Caribbean for five days.

Flight 19 has been the subject of myth since 1945, and at times, attributed to Bermuda Triangle energies—especially after the idea was first floated in the Miami Herald, Sept. 17, 1950.  One certainty prevails: it hasn’t been the only flight – military or civilian – that’s gone missing in those waters or in other oceans of the world.
See Naval Air Station Fort Lauderdale Museum, A salute to Flight 19:

Copyright © 2014. All rights reserved. Jane Feehan.

Miami News, Dec. 5, 1985, pp. 1, 20.
Palm Beach Post, Dec. 7, 1945. p.1.
Miami News, Dec. 7, 1945, p. 1.
Weidling, Philip J. , Burghard, August. Checkered Sunshine. Gainesville: University of Florida Press (1966).

Tags: Fort Lauderdale in the 1940s, lost military flights, Fort Lauderdale Naval Air Station, Fort Lauderdale during WWII, World War II in Fort Lauderdale, Fort Lauderdale history, 
film researcher

Friday, March 7, 2014

Prohibition and the only legal hanging in Fort Lauderdale

Alderman, from Miami News

By Jane Feehan

Rum running from the Bahamas to southeast Florida seemed an adventurous profession during Prohibition (1920-1933). That perception changed for South Floridians in 1927 when a federal agent and two U.S. Coast Guarders were murdered at sea after chasing down a boat carrying rum.

Aug. 7, 1927, Secret Service Agent Robert K. Webster was on his way to Bimini aboard Cutter 249 from U.S. Coast Guard Base Six in Fort Lauderdale to investigate a counterfeiting ring. Along the way, he and the crew stopped a suspicious-looking boat skippered by James Horace Alderman. 

                                     Miami News, Aug. 16, 1929
Alderman and his mate, Robert Weech, denied they had liquor but 160 cases-a small load-were found. After they were arrested and brought on board the cutter, Alderman found a gun and shot Webster and Boatswain Sidney Sanderlin in the back, severely wounded Machinist Victor Lamby (who died later that day) and shot cook Jodie Hollingsworth (who survived).  Alderman told the remaining Coast Guard crew he was going to take them out to the Gulfstream and make them jump into the sea. Weech broke a fuel line and threw a match into the patrol boat but it failed to ignite.

The Coast Guard crew managed to subdue the rumrunners when their boat wouldn’t start. With assistance from Base Six, the surviving Coast Guarders brought the two back to Fort Lauderdale where they were charged with piracy and murder.

It took two years to convict the rumrunners; Weech testified against Alderman and received a sentence of a year and a day. Alderman was sentenced to death by hanging. A new federal piracy law of the time required that the death sentence be carried out in the port city the “pirate” was brought. Broward County did not want to perform the execution, so the Coast Guard agreed to carry out the sentence.

While incarcerated, Alderman found religion and wrote a book about his life. His wife appealed to the White House for executive clemency three times but was denied (or ignored). As the hanging day approached, the media were blocked from covering the event.

A few civilians and Dr. Elliot M. Hendricks, a Fort Lauderdale physician and Public Health Service and Quarantine Officer for Coast Guard Base Six, witnessed the execution at the base’s seaplane hangar Aug. 17, 1929. It stands as the only legal hanging ever held in Broward County.

Copyright © 2014. All rights reserved. Jane Feehan.
Miami News, Aug. 16, 1929, p.1, 2
Miami News, Aug. 17, 1929, p. 4.
Miami News, Aug. 9, 1929.
Gillis, Susan. Fort Lauderdale: The Venice of America. Charleston: Arcadia Publishing, 2005.
Weiding, Philip and Burghard, August. Checkered Sunshine. Gainesville: University of Florida Press, 1966.
Willoughby, Malcom, Commander USCGR. Rum War at Sea. U.S Government Printing Office, 1964.

Order from Amazon (link below) - PBS special by Ken Burns: Prohibition. 
Episode 1, A Nation of Drunkards

Tags: Florida Prohibition history, Fort Lauderdale Prohibition history, Fort Lauderdale history, Florida history Fort Lauderdale, rum runners, bootleggers, film researcher