Tuesday, April 11, 2017

90th Anniversary Celebration

2017 is the 90th Anniversary of Flamingo Groves, the forerunner of Flamingo Gardens. The founders, Floyd L. and Jane Wray, moved to Florida in 1925.  They were thrilled with their new home and the beauty of South Florida.  He had a good job selling property in Hollywood-by-the-Sea.
Wray, Hollywood Florida

Then came 1926.  It was not a good year for South Florida or the Wrays. The real estate boom was ending, and on September 19, a devastating hurricane made landfall.

1926 HurricaneYou can only imagine how the Wrays felt after the storm subsided.  They were grateful they fared the storm better than most. But, with the real estate business gone, Floyd knew he had to pick himself up and consider his options. He decided on a venture that would take him in a whole new direction -- citrus. He believed he could make a go of it if he bought inexpensive land in the drained Everglades and grew a new variety of summer oranges, and he was right.

By the end of 1926, the new plan was in motion. Mittie Meyers Chaplin writing about her pioneer family noted they sold three hundred and twenty acres of Everglade land six miles west of Davie and somewhat higher than sea level than elsewhere to a young man. That young man was Floyd L. Wray.

Citrus IndustryFlamingo Groves was incorporated on January 2, 1927. The first bare-root Lu Gim Gong summer-ripening orange tree was planted in the drained Everglades on February 22.  Forty acres were planted that first year.

Beautiful exotic botanical gardens were created with the help of the Department of Agriculture, which provided plants and seeds from around the world.  A flamingo pond was added and peacocks roamed the grounds.  Flamingo Groves became a South Florida show place. Other growers began to plant citrus until western Davie was almost a continuous citrus grove.

Broward County FL
Wray built retail outlets for his fruit and other citrus-related items, and the first modern packing and shipping plant in Broward County.  He was one of the first elected commissioners that turned Bay Mable Harbor into Port Everglades, a world-class shipping and cruise facility, in only five years.  He continued to expand the groves and included virtually every variety of citrus and other fruit trees suited to the climate.  Flamingo Groves covered nearly 2,000 acres at its peak. 

Florida AttractionsAlthough all the other groves eventually made way to development, Jane Wray had the foresight to create a foundation to preserve the best 60 acres. Today, visitors from the state, country, and all around the world enjoy the botanical gardens and native wildlife exhibits. The historic Wray Home Museum shares Floyd and Jane's history and their legacy.    

It all began with that one tree planted so many years ago. Join us in celebrating the 90th Anniversary at Flamingo Gardens this year.   

More History
The First Tree Was Planted in 1927
Flamingo Groves/Flamingo Gardens: Always a great place to party!
Flamingo Gardens a Spectacular Setting with an Eventful Past



  1. What a wonderful blog with such great information. What a gift to all of us the Wray's left for us to enjoy.
    Thanks for such a concise article about the beginnings of Flamingo Gardens.

  2. A Beautiful Blog with Wonderful History.
    I would Love to create a Now & Then of the Wrays at their home. Do we know the address of the first photo?

    1. That is one of the earlier photos of the Wrays in Florida. They moved here in 1925. We don't know the exact date of the photo or the address of the house in the photo. We know they lived at 1813 Jefferson Street, Hollywood, FL, from 1926 through about 1930. That address no longer exists, and we have no identified photographs of that house. We think that may be the address of the hose in the photo, but have been unable to confirm it. If anyone does recognize it, please let us know. By 1932, they lived at 1615 Monroe Street, Hollywood. We know that the house in the photo is not the Monroe Street house. Hope that helps you a little.

    2. If you want to get more information, and/or photos, contact us at info@flamingogardens.org and we'll put you in touch with our Historian and archivist.

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