Sunday, June 30, 2013

A Sunday afternoon ride to Melrose Park ...

Fort Lauderdale beach

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By Jane Feehan 

While Miami made headlines during the 1950s for its growth in tourism and housing construction, people were discovering Fort Lauderdale. News about Fort Lauderdale’s shopping centers, hotels and subdivisions found its way into New York and Miami papers. 

One reporter suggested a Sunday ride to look at a booming area west of town. A large yellow sign at Broward Boulevard and Florida Avenue, east of State Road 7, beckoned prospective buyers to one of Fort Lauderdale’s fastest growing subdivisions: Melrose Park. It did not have a park, and would not have one until the mid-1990s, but buyers were lining up to plunk down their money on one of those cookie-cutter, easy-living, Florida-style houses people were talking about “up North.”

A property search reveals that the first house in Melrose Park probably went up in 1950. Miami realtor Ted King started building there in 1952 or 53. By 1954, he made real estate news with his construction activities in Melrose Park.

King built many houses there, including one “attractively designed” home at the corner of Florida Avenue and Campus Circle. The three-bedroom, two bath house on a lot 80 feet by 100 feet was constructed with an attached carport. Terrazzo floors were standard those years as well as aluminum jalousie windows. King installed a 25,000 BTU wall heater in the home and a “bar”  or counter separating kitchen and living room. The house’s one linen closet was in the “big bathroom.” Going price: $13,600. Demand for homes in the neighborhood drove prices up a bit; King built another nearby and upgraded it to 1,450 square feet and $15,500.

Construction continued in Melrose Park until at least 1970. Once a census-designated place in Broward County, Melrose Park was annexed by Fort Lauderdale in 2002. By that time, the community’s population had grown to more than 7,100. Today, houses are appraised there from about $66,000 to $299,000.

I wonder what happened to that large yellow sign …

Copyright © 2013. All rights reserved. Jane Feehan.

Broward County Appraiser’s Office
Miami News, Feb. 7, 1954

Tags: Fort Lauderdale subdivisions, Fort Lauderdale during the 1950s, Melrose Park

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