Wednesday, December 23, 2009

What history has taught me

(Originally published in The Forum December 23, 2009)

by: Chad Quinn

This time of year usually brings reflection – we reflect on the events of the past year, good and bad, big and small. Perhaps, if you’re like me, you take time to think about those who are far away, or those who are no longer here.

Also, this time of year is filled with festivities – from holiday parties to family gatherings.

Recently the Tamarac Historical Society held its first ever reception – a sort of festive occasion full of reflection about Tamarac’s early years.

In five short months, our Historical Society has made great strides. Since our inaugural meeting in July we’ve formed a tight-nit group of dedicated volunteers that numbers about twenty; more of an extended family actually. These men and women, along with myself, none of which has any experience in the field of gathering and maintaining a historical record or collection, have forged ahead, learning as we go; gathering info and artifacts, to begin the definitive account of our City’s story.

We’re fortunate to be the beneficiaries of the kindness and expertise of new found friends in neighboring cities. We’re also fortunate to have new volunteers coming on board all the time – a recent addition is a retired archivist! That is truly fortunate.

Everything we’ve learned, or attempted to learn, was on display to the public for the first time at our reception held December 9, 2009. The display, “The Behring Years” attempts to chronicle the very beginning of Tamarac and the formative years that followed. As you may know, Tamarac was founded by a young and ambitious developer, Kenneth E. Behring. The years Mr. Behring was a part of our City were quite remarkable; 1962 – 1972.

In the beginning Mr. Behring wanted to develop homes with small lots that offered the convenience and care-free lifestyle of a condominium, with the privacy afforded a single-family home. The City of Fort Lauderdale would not allow him to build on the small lot size he envisioned and so he decided to buy unincorporated land and develop his own City. Tamarac Lakes was born – small single-family homes on small lots starting at $8,990 – and for a $23 a month maintenance fee owners received lawn maintenance, periodic painting and roof tile cleaning, use of the clubhouse and all activities within the community!

These homes sold quickly, appealing to snow-birds up north who cherished the warmer climates. New owners became quickly acclimated to the tropical climate, new friends and neighbors, and the easy living. In fact, the homes were so popular several more neighborhoods quickly sprung up, all using the same formula of 250 homes surrounding a common clubhouse.

Tamarac, which began around the Prospect Road bend, began its spread westward. The Mainlands were next to be developed with same basic principles, but with slightly larger homes and adjacent to golf courses. Later, in 1968, Mr. Behring began development of his City’s crowning achievement – the Woodlands, a private golf course community with estate size lots appealing to a more affluent clientele. The Woodlands is where Mr. Behring and his wife, Pat, settled, along with their five sons… that is until 1972 when he left Tamarac a “better way of life.”

Of course four paragraphs is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what we’ve learned in the past five months about “The Behring Years”… in fact, we may even have it wrong. Old newspaper clippings and second-hand stories only tell a part of the story. As Barbara Tarnove, one of the amazing volunteers we have (who took the lead on this particular project, guided us, and lived and breathed “The Behring Years” for the past couple of months), would say… “We’d love for you to visit our display, read through it and then point out that its wrong…” – I’m a little more hesitant, I’d prefer you point out maybe one or two minor details that are wrong.

The point is, you can complete our story and we depend on you.

At one of our recent outings I met Larry Wark, the first police officer hired by the Tamarac Police Department’s first Captain back in 1969. We’ve met the oldest living original resident in Tamarac Lakes, Lucille Wynn (who is a wonderful woman and we were thrilled to be able to have her with us at our opening reception). We’d like to meet you too. Come visit us, or perhaps we can come to you. Your story, your photos, your miscellaneous paperwork that you think no one would be interested in (we are) – we’d love to have them all.

“The Behring Years” display will remain in the Atrium of City Hall (7525 NW 88th Avenue) for the next couple of months. Stop by and peruse what we’ve learned and help us fill in the gaps.

To me, all history is fascinating… and over the past five months, I’ve learned that Tamarac has a unique and inspiring beginning; I’ve also learned that through history people can come together, not only did we have a great crowd at our opening reception, but Tamarac’s history has brought me together with an incredible group of volunteers who are sharing this learning experience with me.

You can reach the Tamarac Historical Society at, or (954) 597-3523.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Tamarac Historical Society

(As published in the October/November/December 2009 Tam-A-Gram.)

The first meeting of the new Tamarac Historical Society was held on Tuesday, July 14, 2009. The response from the community to the call for volunteers and donations has been tremendous – about 20 individuals have stepped forward so far to volunteer with the project and many more have made donations of photographs, memorabilia, personal recollections and more!

The volunteers have been meeting on a regular basis as they tackle the formidable task of organizing the Society’s structure as well as the existing historical data, artifacts, and new donations.

Wendy Wangberg, the Historian for the City of Coral Springs, was a guest speaker at one of the early meetings and graciously hosted the volunteers for a fact-finding, and inspirational, field trip to the Museum of Coral Springs History (located at Mullins Park, 10250 N.W. 29 St. Coral Springs, behind the Performing Arts Center), on Tuesday, August 18, 2009.

The volunteers are on track to have their first display this December at City Hall, and we need your help — whether you want to volunteer your time, donate items of interest, or share your recollections of Tamarac’s past. Please email, or call (954) 597-3523.