We’re lucky in that the King Cromartie House still survives as it is one of the earliest homes in Fort Lauderdale and was built by one of the very first pioneers. Ed King came to the New River Settlement with his wife and young family to find that there was just a smattering of people living here.
Ed set to work becoming our area’s first building contractor. It was Ed who built the (also still existing) Stranahan House. The early settlers began to raise their families and by 1899, there were nine children in the New River Settlement, including those of Ed and his wife. This entitled them to a schoolteacher – provided they had a schoolroom. Ed and other pioneers set to work and built a tiny, wooden one-room schoolroom. When the teenage schoolteacher arrived from Miami, it was Ed who picked her up at the station and took her – by boat along the New River – to his home where she lodged with his family. This schoolteacher was called Ivy Cromartie.
The next year, she became Mrs Ivy Stranahan. Ivy had strong family ties and persuaded members of her family to move up to the New River from their home in Lemon City. One was her brother, Bloxham.
Ed King build his home in 1907 in what is now Smoker Park. Bloxham Cromartie and Ed’s daughter Louise were married, hence the name given now to the house. Ed himself died in the forgotten hurricane of 1928. Rather spookily, this was on the anniversary of the 1926 hurricane that had wreaked such havoc in Fort Lauderdale in 1926. Ed was in Okeechobee when the hurricane struck – the area was very badly hit. Ed was trying to rescue two children when he was hit by flying debris.
His memory lives on in the King Cromartie House.
The house was moved to its present location at 229 SW 2nd Avenue and preserved as a museum which can be visited every day except Monday. Tours are at 1. 2 and 3pm.