(Originally published in The Forum September 9, 2009)
by: Chad Quinn
History is a journey… and so too is a Society. Of course societies, made up of groups of people, have created the past and shaped the future, but the Society I refer to is the one I’ve been helping to build over the past several months – the new Tamarac Historical Society. The formation of this new Society has been quite a journey… one full of its own history.
From concept to proposal, approval to initiation, the foundation was laid like slow curing concrete – but it was the opportunity to advertise and promote the new Society that provided the first steps to the building of our super-structure. The response from the community was tremendous. Many people called to share stories and artifacts. Many more called to offer their services.
You could compare this stage to the building of a Habitat home… the more volunteers, the quicker the walls go up. Tamarac’s new Historical Society is being hoisted up and nailed together with the help of volunteers anxious to share their skills, and to learn new ones.
We’re collecting artifacts to tell Tamarac’s story… more than just a City, it’s a collection of individuals who often share similar journeys and memories.
One of the items that many of our long-time residents – more than I can count – like to ask me when we first meet is: “Do you know how Tamarac got its name?” Sometimes, depending on the level of excitement in their eyes, I tell a little white lie and say “no” because I know they want to share their knowledge of our City’s history with me, and I’m very honored by that. The sparkle in their eyes continues as they tell the story as they’ve heard, or read, it… something along the lines of:
Ken Behring, who was the founder and original developer of Tamarac, had moved to southern Florida from Wisconsin where he was a successful entrepreneur and businessman. One of his original businesses up North was a car wash called “Car-A-Mat” – spell that backwards and you have Tamarac.
I’ve read the history of Tamarac’s name in several locations; in various old newspaper clippings, on the internet, etc…. but some of those clippings, and Ken Behring himself in his book “Road to Purpose,” also mention that the name could have come from the Tamarac Country Club that he belonged to at the time and was close by, or from the name of a tree, or even an Indian chief.
Part of our journey will include more research into the exact reason Mr. Behring named his new city Tamarac and we want you along for the ride. Your stories and recollections tell our tale, so please share them with us… besides, the look of excitement in the eyes of someone who wants to tell their story is priceless.