by Mary Dickinson
December 21, 2003
When we were there in December of 2003 there were six buildings in the group. Only two were open, the New River Inn and the King-Cromartie House. The New River Inn (1905), listed on the National Register of Historic Places, featured twenty-five guest rooms and a dining room in its day. Now it is a museum. There are exhibits about the Seminole Indians featuring their lifestyles and their crafts. Shirttail Charlie is a nickname given to the men of that tribe because of the knee-length shirts they wore.
More displays show how the town developed in the hotel industry following the installation of the railroad in 1896. Then, during WW I and WW II the area was used as a training camp for recruits. After the war a lot of the men came back and settled there. One display explains how close the Germans came to our shores during WW II. Their submarines were blowing up our shipping within sight of land.
Then Connie Francis starred in Where The Boys Are and college students all over the country found out about "Spring Break" and came to be part of it. They loved warm in the winter and came back and settled there. It seems once anyone experiences the climate they want to stay no matter how they found out about Florida.
The King-Cromartie House (1907) is an example of the way the early settlers in Fort Lauderdale lived. The six-room (150-ton) house was moved down the river by barge to its present location in 1974. It was built by Ed King out of Dade County Pine and wood from old ships. The walls are made of plaster and the floors are the original wood. The house is furnished with items used by most people in the early 1900s.
Riverwalk, another Fort Lauderdale tropical attraction, maintains fantastic old landscaping and runs right in front of the old "village".
The New River Inn is open 11-5 Tu-F and 12-5 S-S. The King-Cromartie House is open S-S. The admission price depends on if you guide yourself of if someone else gives you a tour.
From journal Birds in Flight