Saturday, September 21, 2013


It happens all too often …..
A loved one passes away and you are left to clean out their home.
Perhaps it was your childhood home, filled with warm, happy memories.
You always knew this day might come, and now, it’s here …. the task you always dreaded. Heavy-hearted, you begin the inevitable task.

What do you find?
In the back of the closet are many small boxes filled with old photos, memorabilia and/or newspaper clippings.  As you start to look through the photos, you realize some of them you have seen many times before.  However, others are unfamiliar.  You have no idea who the people are, where the pictures were taken, when they were taken or why they had been saved all these years.

Your first instinct is to keep the photos and items which are familiar to you and to discard the rest.  But, before you throw anything away, why not look for clues or information to identify those once-treasured items before you “toss” them!

The Tamarac Historical Society has been researching our history for the past four years.  We are always hoping to find an interesting new item or piece of information.  Recently, we got very lucky!

We knew of Edward Grant who had served as Secretary/Treasurer to Ken Behring, the developer of Tamarac. We felt sure he’d have interesting stories to tell.  We tried to contact him but, after several failed attempts, we moved on to other leads.

To celebrate Tamarac’s 50th Anniversary of incorporation, Ken Behring, himself, attended our  “kick-off” reception-party, in December, 2012.  Then,

They contacted us and offered a treasure-trove of articles, documents, photos (including a picture of Commercial Boulevard when it ended at State Road 7) and many other never-before-seen articles, about the inception of Tamarac, which had belonged to his late father.  The value of this material is priceless.  We were lucky this time, but, many times we are not.

Had the young Grants “tossed” away this precious material it would never have found its way to the archives of the Tamarac Historical Society.  We are grateful to them.

The lesson to be learned here is simple: before you toss away any pictures, clippings or memorabilia about Tamarac, please contact us.  The Tamarac Historical Society’s mission is to research, collect, preserve and exhibit the history of Tamarac with goals of enlightening the community about our heritage while passing on an enduring legacy for future generations.
on July 19th, we had our formal Anniversary Ceremony which touched the hearts of many Tamarac residents.  The sealing of the Time Capsule, the local dignitaries, the band and the barbeque awoke the civic pride in our people.  Among them were Edward Grant, Jr. and his wife, PJ.  They had been cleaning out the closets of his father, the late Edward Grant, Sr., who, unbeknownst to us, had recently passed away.

Tamarac Historical Society Time Capsule commemorates the 50th Anniversary

The Tamarac Historical Society compiled a Time Capsule to commemorate the city of Tamarac’s 50th anniversary. On July 19, 2013, the exact day of the city’s incorporation back in 1963, members and residents gathered with the City’s Mayor and Commissioners to dedicate the time capsule.

While many time capsules are buried in the ground the Tamarac Historical Society wanted the time capsule above ground and in plain view so it would never be lost, destroyed by the elements or just forgotten. The Public Art Committee commissioned Christopher Reisert, a glass artist and Angelo Maybin, a furniture designer to create and build an enclosure for the capsule and a one of a kind glass sculpture to capture the 50thanniversary logo. The time capsule is located a the Tamarac Community Center entryway for all to see.

The dedication ceremony consisted of comments by the Mayor Talabisco, Vice Mayor Harry Dressler, and Commissioners, Sheriff Scott Isreal, George Gadson, President of the Public Art Committee and Barbara  Tarnove, President of the Tamarac Historical Society. The program included essays written and resented by the school children who participate in the historical society’s essay contest of “What is fun about Tamarac”  and “What will Tamarac be like in 2038” 25 years after the dedication when the time capsule will be opened. It is the wish of the historical society that the tradition started on this day will continue to be honored, every 25 years with time capsule being opened and then resealed.

A barbeque and a band added to the festivities as we marked this historic occasion.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Thank you Ken Behring for creating Tamarac
Having met Ken Behring in December was a great honor. We found him to be very sincere and approachable. After doing research about our city for 3 plus years now he seemed to be someone that one would only get to know through newspaper clippings and stories. His presence at the City Hal Reception in his honor was a great success, many residents turned out to see the founder of our City. Behring was in town to help the City kick off the 50th Anniversary, as the city will celebrate the occasion with events throughout the year. July 19, 1963 Tom Ford (Secretary of State of Florida) signed the incorporation papers making Tamarac a City. This was the first time a city was incorporated for raw land, prior only well developed cities were incorporated.
Connecting Ken Behring in person, to the legend he was, makes you understand the driven, caring person he is. The fact that he started with one house and land that was only inhabited by cattle, swampy areas, snakes and orange groves and turned it into a city is difficult to comprehend.  Now, 50 years later we are a full service city of  60,000 plus residents. Thanks to Behring's vision and determination we have a great City.
This year promises to be very special as the city has worked very hard to compile events to commemorate this occasion. There will be a ground breaking ceremony for the new Mainlands Park, a great “Rock of Ages” concert, a classic car parade with Coral Springs and Parkland (who are celebrating their own 50th Anniversary), America’s largest Birthday Celebration on July 4th, and the 50th Anniversary Time Capsule Dedication on July 19th, and the events will continue throughout the year…
One additional item of note the Tamarac Historical Society has compiled a historical picture book. The book being published by the Arcadia Publishing Company, is part of the Images of America Series. The book begins with Ken Behring and how the City came about through to the vibrant City Tamarac is today.
We are looking forward to all these events so please join us.
Barbara Tarnove, President of the Tamarac Historical Society

Monday, March 5, 2012

Tamarac's Pioneers!

By: Barbara Tarnove, President, Tamarac Historical Society

Each year since 1973, the Broward County Historical Commission has sponsored an annual to honor the communities early settlers; Broward County Pioneer Day. This event recognizes individuals or groups who have made significant contributions to preservation and education, celebrating the county’s rich history while remembering the experiences that give each Broward City its unique character. The legacy of the county’s early pioneers can serve as a model for successive generations in inspiring them to preserve those essential elements that distinguish this place we call “home”.

The Historical commission also presents awards for those individuals and organizations that exemplify meticulous historical research or preservation advocacy. The Historical Commission actively promotes these ideals in its effort to educate the public about Broward County’s significant local heritage.

The City of Tamarac began naming a Tamarac Pioneer in 1998. For the past two years, the Tamarac Historical Society has been proud to play a role in the selection of the City’s pioneers. The Tamarac Historical Society’s goal is to enlighten the community about our heritage and pass on an enduring legacy for future generations by researching, collecting, preserving and exhibiting the City’s history.

We’re pleased to present each of Tamarac’s pioneers, as celebrated by our City.

Tamarac’s Pioneers are:

1998 Walter W. Falck:
Five years after moving to Florida, Mr. Falck was a member of the Tamarac City Council in 1975 and was elected Mayor of Tamarac on March 12, 1976. Mayor Falck was named Broward County Senior Citizen of the Year in 1987 and inducted into the Senior Hall of Fame in 1988.

2000 Helen Sobel
Recognizing the need to help senior citizens who could not drive to doctor’s appointments or the market, she started a volunteer group of about fifty drivers with their own cars, who provided these services without reimbursement. Eventually this developed into the Tamarac Social Services.

2001 John Elbert McKaye
Mr. McKaye became involved in civic affairs, he served two terms as president of the home owners’ association for the Boulevards. John McKaye, an associate of Walter Falck an early Tamarac Mayor, City Commissioner and later a Broward County Commissioner, was appointed in 1995 to fill a seat on the Tamarac City Commission. He ran for office and served a full term from 1996 to 1999.

2002 Herbert Wade Hayes, Jr.
Upon retiring in 1975, he came to Tamarac and settled in the Westwood Community, serving his community for more than 25 years, as President of the Tamarac Presidents Council as well as a trustee. Mr. Hayes also served as the City of Tamarac’s government liaison to the Tamarac Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.

2003 Tina Celantano
The first editor of the Mainlands 7 clubhouse newspaper, “Seven”. She regularly authored a column in the Tamarac Topics, the monthly newspaper published by Behring Properties. Tina took up the cause and fought to get a pay phone installed at the Mainlands’ clubhouse. She lobbied the commission strenuously to have a city bus service creating a future bus routes that stop at the major condos.

2006 Marion Fay
Marion Fay was a founding member of the Mainlands 1 & 2 Women’s Club, attended Faith United Church of Christ, a member of the Arts & Crafts Club at the Mainlands and communicated daily with several ladies who lived alone. In 2006 when named as the city’s pioneer Marion Fay had lived in Tamarac for 42 years. At the then age of 107 she was the longest living resident of Tamarac.

2007 Leo Kaplan
Mr. Kaplan has spent his life working as an artist. He worked at a large printing firm as their Art Director. He specializes in Assemblage       Art, or “art in a box”. Acting as an unofficial historian, Kaplan used to collect newspaper stories for posterity and turned them over to City Hall.

2009 Hubert Klombers
Mr. Klombers took up the cause of starting a SHINE (Serving Health Insurance Needs of Elders) program in Broward County. He became a Charter Member of SHINE in the county and worked tirelessly as a coordinator. The program helps keep seniors informed and gets them the help they need. Mr. Klombers served as a legislative aide for two Tamarac Commissioners.

2010 Lucille Wind
The Winds’ had fallen in love and signed a contract. Their home cost $8,990 and with the added features of air conditioning, a rear patio and an expanded garage brought their total to $10,030. They left a $200.00 deposit on a new way of life and maintenance free living. In 2010 Lucille Wind was Tamarac’s only living original resident.

2011 Larry Wark
Chief Elis Devoe was responsible for forming the City’s first Police Department of which Larry Wark was hired as the first police patrolman; with badge #1! Back in my day with the Tamarac Police Department, most of the City was under construction. The majority of our police functions consisting of patrolling the City and keeping watch on the shadows of the many partially built homes. We occasionally wrote up traffic violations and on occasion deterred theft of construction materials.

Each pioneer is unique for different reasons. Please be sure to visit the display at City Hall for more detailed information about each of Tamarac's pioneers.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Our Name: Solved!

(Originally published in the January/February/March 2012 issue of the Tam-A-Gram.)
By: Chad Quinn and Barbara Tarnove

The origins of the City of Tamarac’s name have long been up for debate. Various stories, rumors and theories have been passed from neighbor-to-neighbor and written about in various newspaper articles for years. The most common story to be told is the one in which Ken Behring, Tamarac’s founder and original developer of most of the City’s initial neighborhoods, reversed the name of a successful car wash business he had in Wisconsin prior to moving to South Florida – Car-A-Mat.

Other stories have included our City was named after the Tamarack tree, or an Indian Chief, or even by Mr. Behring taking the first initial of all his top executives at the time to form the word (this new theory was only recently uncovered by the Tamarac Historical Society in an old newspaper article).

In fact, when the Historical Society is out and about in the community, manning their information tables at various City events, or their bake sale fund-raiser table at the City’s Community Garage Sales, people often stop by to say, “I know how the City got its name… do you?” As the person recalls the story, most often it is the one about “Car-A-Mat.”

The truth is, that isn’t how the City got its name.

The City isn’t named after a tree, an Indian chief, or Mr. Behring’s executives.

Right from the beginning, when the Historical Society was formed in mid-2009, the group knew that solving the origins of Tamarac’s name would be a priority. Unfortunately all of their research resulted in nothing definitive, other than the fact that there were definitely several different ideas that have all stood the test of time and been passed down through the years.

Barbara Tarnove, the president of the Historical Society, decided to go right to the source. She reached out to Ken Behring through his secretary, Annette, and we are pleased to share with you the definitive answer on this subject:

“I spoke with Mr. Behring and asked him about the name. He laughed and said there are so many stories out there and they are [all] much better than the true story. He then said that the name for Tamarac came from a very boring place, so here is the true story. When Mr. Behring bought the first 13 acres there was a country clubhouse next door called Tamarac [Country Club] (most recently, before it was closed, it was the Oak Tree Country Club), and that is where the name came from.”

So… there we have it, the definitive answer to the origins of the City’s name directly from Tamarac’s founder, Ken Behring. Pass it on.

WE NEED YOU. Help us to continue to discover our City’s history. Do you have time to donate, a story to tell, or mementos to donate? If so, contact the Tamarac Historical Society at, or call (954) 597-3523.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

2011 Pioneer: Larry Wark

Each year for the past 39 years the Broward County Historical Commission has honored pioneers from the various cities and historical organizations throughout the County. The 2011 Broward County Historical Commission Pioneer Day was held on Saturday, December 3, 2011 at the History Center in downtown Ft. Lauderdale.

The City of Tamarac's 2011 Pioneer honoree is Larry Wark.

2011 City of Tamarac Pioneer Larry Wark pictured with Mayor Pamela Bushnell and his wife Letty and her sister Lita.

Pioneer’s Name:
Lawrence (“Larry”) Bernard Wark

Place of Birth:
Albany, New York

Date of Arrival in Broward County:

Method of Arrival:
Drove down in a 1960 Oldsmobile. Was an Insurance Investigator in Albany, NY; transferred to Florida in 1964.

Name of Spouse:
Leticia “Letty” Wark

Marines: 1952 – 1955 (Served in Korean War)

Reminiscences on life in Broward County/Tamarac:
Larry, a former police officer from Rensselaer, New York had an opportunity to transfer to South Florida in 1964 as an Insurance Investigator.

In 1968 the City of Tamarac hired Elis Devoe, the ex-chief of police from Lighthouse Point, as it’s first Police Chief. Chief Elis’ was responsible for forming the City’s first Police Department of which Larry Wark was hired as the first police patrolman; with badge #1!

After approximately six months on the job, the State determined that Larry had to attend the Florida Police Academy, but unfortunately the City of Tamarac did not have the funds to send him so he had to leave the job. After his tenure with the City of Tamarac, Larry went to work as a uniformed police officer, and then detective, for the City of Lauderdale Lakes. From there he went on to be elected to the City Council of Lauderdale Lakes – during his service as Councilman, Larry served as the Chairman of the Public Safety. At the same time he started his own business as a private investigation and security guard agency.

Larry is now semi-retired, however he continues to serve as a security instructor for Corporate Security Academy in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

Larry has resided in the Mainlands Community of Tamarac for the past eight years with his wife of seventeen years, Leticia.

With regards to his time with the City of Tamarac’s Police Department, Larry recalls a couple of specific stories:

“Back in my day with the Tamarac Police Department, most of the City was under construction. The majority of our police functions consisting patrolling the City keeping watch on the shadows of the many partially built homes. We occasionally wrote up traffic violations and on occasion deterred theft of construction materials. I can remember killing 5 ½ foot rattle snake on the dirt road cutting (Commercial Boulevard) in the swampy area of now University Drive.”


“My first arrest as a Tamarac Officer was of a rape suspect who threw his victim from a speeding car. Back then we were on the same radio frequency as the Sheriff’s Office. One late night a BOLO (‘Be On The Lookout’) came over advising a suspect, driving a white Chevy, could be headed West. On patrol, I spotted the vehicle, gave chase and caught the suspect as he pulled into a dead end road. This was really exciting, and a bit nerve wracking, since it was my first arrest since working on the force back in New York!”

Friday, August 19, 2011

Tamarac's Public Art

The Tamarac Historical Society is proud to present a new display at City Hall (7525 N.W. 88th Avenue): Public Art in Tamarac. We invite you to stop by to see the new display in the atrium… and to learn about our City’s impressive art collection!

The Public Art Program was approved by the City Commission in May 2004. The intent and purpose of the City’s Public Art Program is to further the commitment of the city to provide art to beautify the appearance of the city, commemorate the city’s history and to enhance cultural opportunities throughout the city.

A public art in Tamarac is paid for using the Public Art Fund, which established as part of the Public Art Ordinance. This ordinance requires that 1% of the construction value of new projects or improvements be set aside for public art. These funds can not be used by the City for any other purpose and, if they go unused, must be returned to the developer or property owner.

The city’s current art collection includes 2 murals from Broward County Public Art and 6 additional sculptures placed around the city. These include:

Moment in Time: From Whence We Come and Moment in Time: To Whence We Go: both of these murals are located inside the Tamarac Public Library (8701 W. Commercial Boulevard). These two large murals are composed in fresco glass with ceramic tile borders. The artist, Raymond Olivero, states “In many public art projects inspiration often comes from the historical references of the community. In the case of Tamarac, this was a bit difficult because of its short history.” Mr. Olivero managed to document the day-to-day life in Tamarac as his inspiration.

Egretta Thula (Snowy Egret): Located at Tamarac Commons Park (Corner of McNab Road and Pine Island Road), this sculpture is by local artist George Gadson who also happens to be the current Chairman of the Tamarac Public Art Committee. Egretta Thula serves as a reminder of the importance of preserving our wildlife and natural environment. The idea for the design was developed through a community participation process that solicited feedback from members of the business community, residents and children. Gadson’s states that through his sculptures he seeks to bring back to life the forgotten history found in many communities and capture civic memories through creative design works for public spaces.

Illusion: This modern stainless steel sculpture, was donated to the city by longtime Tamarac residents, Paul Yelin and Sally Robbins. Mr. Yelin stated “I [wanted] to bring some peace and beauty and diversion to the city.” The sculpture, which was originally located in front of the Tamarac Community Center on Commercial Boulevard is now located in front of Tamarac City Hall (7525 N.W. 88th Avenue). Leonardo Nierman, the artist, was interested in both physical and mathematical sciences, which he has applied to his art.

Eternal Flame, “In The Spirit of Peace”: This large installation is located at Tamarac’s Veterans Memorial Park (7825 Southgate Boulevard). The sculpture, by Beth Ravitz, was created to symbolize an everlasting flame, with each of its 5 abstract branches representing each branch of our Country’s armed services. The sculpture is silver in color during the day but transforms into a glowing flame by night.

Dawn and Dusk: These two sculptures are located between the Tamarac Community Center (8601 W. Commercial Boulevard) and the Tamarac Public Library (8701 W. Commercial Boulevard) were created by Jane De Decker. “I believe that art in public places has the power to create connections both among people and between people and their environment. Public art opens community dialogue and creates channels for reflection. It is my hope that my artwork will echo the identity of this culturally rich and pulsating community,” states the artist. Dawn and Dusk are bronze sculptures designed to celebrate the community rising to greet the day and then nestle in repose to put the sun to bed.

Under The Shadow Of A Big Tree: This large sculpture, located in Tephord Park (10003 Southgate Boulevard), was designed by Ilan Averbach. The artist’s vision was to create a sculpture/environment that creates a place with striking visual forms. The sculpture, which is on a raised area of the park, reaches out beyond itself by creating harmony with its immediate space. To quote the artist “I make artwork that transforms spaces into imaginary worlds. They shift scales, combine materials, and create forms to produce a sense of memory, dreams, imaginations and movement in space”.

Each work of these works of art are unique in their own right. Armed with this brief description of each, we hope you now have a keen desire to see each one in person for yourself. That is the best way for them to be truly appreciated.