Friday, February 8, 2013

Fort Lauderdale's Galt Mile - Who was Arthur T. Galt?

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By Jane Feehan

Most who live in or have visited Fort Lauderdale know of the Galt Ocean Mile - that strip of land along the beach between Oakland Park and Commercial boulevards with shoulder-to-shoulder, high-rise condos blocking the ocean view.  But for whom is it named?  

Chicagoan Arthur T. Galt, son of Fort Lauderdale pioneer Hugh Taylor Birch’s law partner, bought 8,000 acres of land during the 1920s in the city. He sold it soon after to the American British Improvement Society (see: When the company went bust in 1928, Galt took the property back. He sold most of it in the 1940s to Coral Ridge Properties. That land includes acreage now part of Oakland Park and Fort Lauderdale’s Coral Ridge.

But Galt held on to one last parcel, one mile along the beach.  He didn’t want to see his beautiful land turned into a housing development. By 1953, things changed. Pressed by estate tax issues, and reluctant to have his last remaining tract of land annexed by Oakland Park (he preferred annexation by the more prestigious Fort Lauderdale), Galt sold his ocean side parcel to Coral Ridge Properties partners Joseph P. Taravella and James S. Hunt. The hefty sales price of
$19, 389,000, made it the “single most expensive land purchase in U.S. history at that time.”(Gillis, Susan. Fort Lauderdale: Venice of America. Charleston: Arcadia Publishing, 2004. Pg. 104.)

The Galt Ocean Mile, developed in the 1960s and 70s, though one of the swankiest parts of the city, stands as cautionary reminder about over-development.Copyright © 2013. All rights reserved. Jane Feehan.
Gillis, Susan. Fort Lauderdale: The Venice of America. Charleston: Arcadia (2004).
Weidling, Philip J., Burghard, August. Checkered Sunshine. Gainesville: University of Florida Press (1966).
Miami News, Apr. 23 1960, pg. 48.


Tags: Fort Lauderdale history, Fort Lauderdale real estate history, Jane Feehan, Arthur T. Galt, 
Coral Ridge Properties, Fort Lauderdale in the 1960s, film research



  1. Interesting developments, history of Galt Ocean Mile...
    Thanks, Jane.

  2. I never knew this, very interesting! Thanks Jane.