Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Tamarac Pioneer: Lucille Wind

(Originally published in The Forum July 28, 2010)

by: Chad Quinn

This October the Broward County Historical Commission will celebrate their 38th annual Pioneer Days – the nominee for the City of Tamarac for 2010 is Lucille Wind. Lucille’s story about her arrival in Tamarac is very interesting…

While vacationing in South Florida in 1964, Lucille and her husband Joseph, were looking at a potential property to purchase as a vacation get-away and possible future retirement home. A realtor suggested that he show them a new development, Tamarac Lakes in the new City of Tamarac.

Lucille recalls that the development was “just starting, in fact they were going to have their grand opening the following weekend. They were busy installing the carpet and mirror in the model home.” During their first visit they met the developer (and founder of Tamarac) Ken Behring. Lucille and Joseph fell in love with the plans for the development and their future home and readily signed a contract for a home that was under construction with only side walls and no roof. The Winds’ suggested a down payment of $200 with the remainder to be paid in cash at closing. The cost was $8,990 with added features of air conditioning, a rear patio and an expanded driveway which brought the total for their new home to $10,030. In addition to the low cost, the neighborhood offered a “maintenance-free lifestyle” – Mr. Behring’s concept for his new development was to offer the convenience of a condominium lifestyle with the privacy of a single-family home. For a low monthly fee, residents would get lawn mowing, periodic house painting and roof cleaning, and access to the community’s clubhouse.

The Winds had planned to use the home initially as a vacation home, so they were in no big hurry to have their home completed and even told Mr. Behring he could take his time building theirs because they would not be back for another year. As they were traveling back home, about 45 miles outside of Buffalo in a snow storm, Joseph and Lucille came to the conclusion that they wanted to experience the warm weather and sunshine they fell in love with back in Florida year-round. Then six weeks later in March (much sooner than expected), they were notified that their new house in Tamarac was ready for closing.

In March 1964 they closed on their new home and by September, after finalizing the sale of their business and home in Buffalo, officially moved to Florida! Lucille remembers that “by September, the development was pretty much sold out and that Thanksgiving Mr. Behring gave the residents a lovely turkey dinner and party.” Joseph opened a new business, DeWind Lock and Key on Prospect Road and Andrews Boulevard. At 46 and 39 respectively, Joseph and Lucille were the youngest residents in Tamarac Lakes and were some of the few who were still working. While their neighbors social lives tended to center around the community clubhouse and the multiple activities it provided, Joseph and Lucille found that they did not have much in common with their neighbors who all tended to be much older. While Joseph ran the business Lucille worked as a substitute teacher for the school system. They joined the Ft. Lauderdale Country Club and enjoyed the activities it provided – in fact Lucille is still a member of the club!

In 1971 Joseph’s health took a turn and he and Lucille decided to sell the business (which still exists today as DeWind Lock and Safe) – they decided to play more golf, travel and enjoy an early retirement.

Joseph passed away in 1999, however Lucille has remained active in her community, at her country club, and in previous years, as a clerk for elections at her precinct. In addition, Lucille became involved in her homeowner’s association.

In speaking of Tamarac, Lucille says “It’s been my home for 46 years – I’ve lived here longer than any other place.” She has seen Broward County, and Tamarac in particular change and grow over the years. She use to get a “real thrill” when she and Joseph would drive west on Commercial Boulevard and just as they reached the crest of the overpass over the Turnpike she could look out and see all the “little white houses Mr. Behring was building.” In fact, over the years Lucille convinced several family members to buy homes in Tamarac.

Now her neighborhood is dominated by young families and children. No longer is the clubhouse the center of activity it once was – “There are more young people, there’s more diversity. I love my neighbors, but they have to work, they don’t have time to be involved in their community or the association.”

At 86 years young, and having bought a home in the City’s first neighborhood, Lucille Wind is Tamarac’s only living original resident, and our 2010 Pioneer.

If you have a story to share with the Tamarac Historical Society, or photos and other memorabilia, we’d love to hear from you… call (954) 597-3523 or email

Photo Caption:
Tamarac's 2010 Pioneer, Lucille Wind, in front of the home she and her husband Joseph purchased in 1964.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Tamarac Historical Society Welcomes Cecil L. Beach!

The Tamarac Historical Society welcomed their first ever guest speaker, Cecil L. Beach, on July 13, 2010 at Tamarac City Hall.

In Broward County, Cecil Beach is best known for his work with the Broward County Library System which began in 1977 when County Administrator Lex Hestor hired him to take the job as Director of the newly created County Library. His task was to pull the System together, gain the support of the Cities, plan and institute a building program, build a collection, hire a competent staff, prepare and defend adequate budgets for operation and plan for the future. Over the next twelve years he went about achieving those goals. A world class Main Library designed by the Marcel Breuer firm was erected along with 17 branches. A professional and support staff second to none was assembled. Special appropriations enabled the collection to grow past one million volumes, and the Broward Library System was well on its way to becoming one of the best and largest public library systems in the country. In 1989 he was promoted to the position of Public Services Department Director, supervising 9 County Divisions.

Previously, Cecil had served as State Librarian of FIorida; As Director of the Tampa, Hillsborough County Library System, Director of the Gadsden Alabama Public Library, and as Director of the Piedmont Regional Library in Georgia.

In 1992 he retired from Broward County as Director of the County's Public
Services Department where he supervised 9 county divisions including Libraries, Parks, Mass Transit, Housing, Social Services, Agriculture, Consumer Services, Community Development, and Cultural Affairs. Subsequently he has been visiting professor at FSU and at USF while continuing to do consulting. In 1999 Broward hired him as Bond Project Co-coordinator for the $140,000,000 Bond Issue passed to build new libraries in the county.

CLICK HERE to view a Slide Show of pictures from the event.*

*If you are unable to use the link above to view the slide show, try going directly to the website.

NOTE: All photos are copyrighted. No photo, or portion of a photo, may be reproduced in any form without the express written consent of the City of Tamarac, Florida.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Just what we're looking for...

(Originally published in The Forum May 12, 2010)

by: Chad Quinn

“I have some photos from the tenth anniversary, not sure if you’d be interested in those.” That was the message that greeted me as I returned to the office one afternoon late last month – I dialed the number back so quickly that I miss-dialed at least three times.

Take a breath. Slow. 9-5-4-7-2-1…

“Hi, may I speak to Jane Gibbons?” That was who had left the message about the photos – an interesting woman with a great story to tell. She and her husband Tom moved into the Heathgate subdivision (one of the original in the City not to be restricted to 55+) back in the early 1970’s with their thirteen year old daughter. After talking for a few minutes we agreed on a time when she and Tom would be able to drop by City Hall the following morning.

What she brought were examples of just the type of items we’re looking for. Jane told me how Tom often would buy her the “latest” camera and she enjoyed taking pictures. Her hobby is our good fortune in that she was more than happy to donate her photos of Tamarac’s tenth anniversary parade to our Historical Society. Although faded, they show a colorful parade of costumes and floats making its way down Commercial boulevard near the Woodlands (as she remembers it).

In addition to the photos of the parade, Jane also brought with her something more recent – photos of the Everglades fires from about ten years ago and, perhaps even more valuable than her photos, she recounted how she used to work for the Behring Corporation, in insurance, and remembers being invited to Ken and Pat Behring’s home in the Woodlands for a holiday party one year. “It was a magnificent home, it even had a moat.”

I asked Jane how she heard about the Historical Society and she said she had read about it in the Tam-A-Gram, and here in the Forum, and she had seen “The Behring Years” display at City Hall. “That display brought back so many memories for us.”

In addition to Jane’s call, I also recently received an interesting old folder of yellowing news clipping from the late 1960’s that Commissioner Pam Bushnell had forwarded to me. This collection of clippings was fascinating to read – the articles all seemed to focus on one of the main selling features of Tamarac in the early days, the “maintenance free lifestyle.” For a relatively small monthly fee residents enjoyed lawn maintenance, roof cleaning, house painting – everything that made condominium living so attractive to many, in the convenience and privacy of a single-family home.

These articles from the Miami Herald and Sun-Sentinel chronicled a particularly controversial time between the City, the Behring Corporation, and the residents . Unfortunately the articles do not tell the whole story, but through them I now know that the original City Hall was not even in the City’s limits; the Behring Corporation headquarters’ original address, and reaffirmed some of the key players within the community by the use of their quotes in some of the writings.

Interesting. Fascinating, and exactly what the Tamarac Historical Society is looking for. Do you have pictures from parades gone by. Can you fill in some of the details of those contentious maintenance fees or the early growing pains of our great City? If so, then you are exactly what we’re looking for and we’d love to hear from you. Please call (954) 597-3523, or email

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

We need you… we really, really need you!

(Originally published in The Forum March 31, 2010)

by: Chad Quinn

Perhaps that headline may come across as a little desperate, but it’s true, we really do need you – the Tamarac Historical Society is in need of what you have. Time? We’ll take it. Photographs? Those are great too. Odds and ends, old memorabilia, original documents, diaries – everything is important to us and at this stage in our development, we’ll take just about anything as we continue to build our collection – uh, actually that’s your collection; the City of Tamarac’s collection.

The Tamarac Historical Society is comprised of volunteers from throughout the community, but even though we have some amazing individuals who give tirelessly and unselfishly of their time – for the greater good of their City – it isn’t enough. We need more. We need you. We need your help. If you’ve been looking for a way to give back to your community, a way to share your skills, or for a chance to learn new ones, you’re perfect for us. We have a need for everything from clerical help to research. We meet regularly, but our volunteers also come in at their leisure to go through old scrap books, organize the items we’ve already been given, and some of our volunteers even do work from home.

People are the key to passing on our history. Not just the people who founded the City, developed the neighborhoods, or those who played a role in its politics… but the people who are, and will, help us gather those stories, fill in the details, and write the chapters of the proverbial book that will tell Tamarac’s tale. Like many of our neighbors, such as Coral Springs, Pompano Beach, and Delray, some day we hope to have an actual book… but that’s a long way off in the future at this point. The original photographs and documents we need to write a definitive history of our City are still missing.

The stated mission of Tamarac’s Historical Society is to research, collect, preserve and exhibit the history of Tamarac with goals of enlightening the community about our heritage and passing on an enduring legacy for future generations. Sounds relatively simple right? We’re only forty-seven years old… it isn’t like we have to go back centuries. But, this journey is proving to be a little more difficult than we may have anticipated. So far we have not uncovered the items we were hoping for… those afore mentioned originals. Sure, we’ve gotten some great stuff such as a few amazing scrapbooks, original sales brochures, some family photographs and the like, but we really need a LOT more. We need photos of the people who shaped this City, shaping the City… council meetings, ground breakings, parades, and such. Do you have those? Does your neighbor? Do you know a relative of one of our founding fathers, or perhaps one of the influential neighborhood activity directors from the early years?

We may only be forty-seven years old, but we are a City that was founded as an active retirement community… well, you do the math – unfortunately many of those early pioneers are no longer with us. In many cases we lack the generations of families passing on their own histories that help build the history of other cities. We have friends and neighbors… but what happens to the items left behind? Help us find out.

Speaking of people, the Historical Society’s next exhibit will focus on influential people who helped to shape the future of our City in the beginning – this exhibit will complement our first exhibit “The Behring Years” in that it will be about people from the same period of time – the first decade or so of Tamarac’s history. Be on the lookout for the new display in May at City Hall.

And of course, when I speak of influential people I need to mention those who stepped forward early in the formation of the Historical Society, pioneers in their own way. Barbara Tarnove, our first president, Ann Salomon, our first secretary/treasurer, and Phyllis Bonfoey, Rita Botwinick, Sharron Callahan, Bunny Cohen, Ruth Cohen, Joel Davidson, Carol Fortin, Real Fortin, May Goldberg, Claudia Krysiak, Miriam Marin, Rea Mills, Gertrude Mishkin, Lillian Pabon, Amy Redman, Helen Sivelle, Miriel Stein, Mary Ann Ziccinolfi, and Ralph Zicchinolfi. Unfortunately several of these people have already had to leave the Society for one reason or another – some have moved away, others have had to focus on other things in their lives, but they will always be a part of our history… and we’d like you to add your name to that list.

To volunteer, or to donate, please call (954) 597-3523 or email, and don’t forget to come out to the Tamarac Community Garage Sale on Saturday, April 10, 2010… you’ll find us in our usual spot, at the northeast corner, from 7:30 am – 12:30 pm raising funds for the Historical Society with our bake sale – this is also a great time to share your stories, and to hear ours!

Pictured above: Back Row (Left to Right): Real Fortin, Lillian Pabon, Ann Salomon, Helen Sivelle, Rea Mills, Chad Quinn (Founder), Barbara Tarnove, Joel Davidson, Mary Ann Ziccinolfi, Ralph Zicchinolfi, Carol Fortin; Seated (Left to Right): Bunny Cohen, Miriel Stein, Sharron Callahan, Gertrude Mishkin, Ruth Cohen; Not Pictured: Phyllis Bonfoey, Rita Botwinick, May Goldberg, Claudia Krysiak, Miriam Marin, Amy Redman.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

History has many ties; or How Tamarac is connected to Michael Jackson.

(Originally published in The Forum March 3, 2010)

by: Chad Quinn

You may not realize this, but Tamarac is forever tied to a legendary pop icon by way of an unassuming Colorado woman. Jane DeDecker, the artist who created two of Tamarac’s newest public art sculptures, Dawn and Dusk, is a highly sought after artist who was commissioned by the late Michael Jackson on several occasions to create artwork for his Neverland Ranch in California.

It’s an interesting story… sort of our own six degrees of separation, and it’s stories like these that make up our history. Some of those stories are more interesting, more juicy, or more salacious, than others (and over the past several months I’ve heard a couple, but those will have to wait until another column, or venue) for now, I’d like to tell the story of how Jane DeDecker and her sculptures, not necessarily in that order, came to Tamarac.

You may have previously read about the unveiling of Dawn and Dusk in the Forum, or in the Tam-A-Gram, the City of Tamarac’s official quarterly publication – how these two amazing new sculptures, located in between the Tamarac Community Center and Tamarac Branch of the Broward County Public Library, to paraphrase Ms. DeDecker, represent the community rising to greet the day (Dawn) and then nestling together in repose to put the sun to bed (Dusk).

The sculptures are part of Tamarac’s Public Art Program which is paid for by the Public Art Fund which was established by the City Commission in 2005 with the passage of the Public Art Ordinance (the ordinance requires that 1% of the construction value of new projects or improvements be set aside for public art).

In May of 2008 the Tamarac Public Art Committee put a call out to artist for the two areas overlooking the pond in between the Community Center and Library. The Committee narrowed down the 130 entries to 5 finalists and then decided upon Dawn and Dusk which they recommended to the City Commission (on March 11, 2009). The Commission unanimously approved the Committee’s recommendation and installation of the sculptures took place over a two-day period in October and was oversaw by Ms. DeDecker’s brother, David. Unfortunately, neither Ms. DeDecker, nor her brother, were available to return for the November unveiling but, they were able to return earlier this month (on February 11, 2009) for the dedication of the newest public art installation, “Under the Shadow of a Big Tree”, at Tephford Park.

After the dedication of this latest art piece, Ms. DeDecker participated in a discussion about her artwork – everything from the conceptualizing, design, creation, molding, and installation of new commissions. It was this trip that truly solidified Ms. DeDecker’s tie to our community – the shared experience and the filling in of the details in Dawn and Dusk’s story, and it was here that she recalled her work for Michael Jackson.

It was also during this discussion that Ms. DeDecker discussed the artwork she has created for other communities across the country – an interesting juxtaposition against the types of binds that have most recently tied cities across the country together, mainly revenue shortfalls and cutbacks. Despite the trying times we find ourselves in, Dawn and Dusk will be here to comfort our community for years to come, to greet us in the morning, and tuck us in at night. Challenging times will come and go, but art and the intentions it represents, can have a positive and lasting effect.

Jane DeDecker, and by extension Michael Jackson, are now part of Tamarac’s story.

What role do you play in our City? You are the key to preserving Tamarac’s history – it’s as easy as donating an old family photo or document, or volunteering your time. If you have something to share, contact the Tamarac Historical Society at, or (954) 597-3523.

Photo Captions:

Top Photo: Dawn overlooking the pond in-between the Tamarac Community Center and the Tamarac Branch of the Broward County Library on Commercial Boulevard.

Bottom Photo: Renowned sculptor Jane DeDecker discussed her art at the Tamarac Recreation Center on February 11, 2009.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Trotting into history

(Originally published in The Forum January 27, 2009)

by: Chad Quinn

“Does Tamarac have any history?” a friend recently asked me over lunch as we exchanged updates on what we’ve been up to lately. Initially speechless (for once), I was at a loss for something [witty] to say in response to what I perceived to be an incredibly short-sighted, if not na├»ve, question. Yet, it wasn’t the first time – I’ve heard similar comments over the past several months as I’ve embarked on this pet project turned full-blown mission.

Tamarac is just about forty-seven years old. Within that same period of time we’ve landed on the moon, great leaders have tragically been assassinated in their prime, wars have been fought, elections have been won and lost, entire countries have been born in the aftermath of their predecessors failure, the personal computer has become a staple of everyday life as have cell phones and other technologies we could never imagine living without – Apollo missions; MLK and RFK; Vietnam and the Gulf War; the Soviet Union and a united Germany; Apple and Microsoft; the Razor and Blackberry; and everything in between. Incredible highs, and dismal lows. Forty-seven years of life-changing history.

Life has occurred around our City, and perhaps even if Ken Behring had never settled on that first plot of land in 1962; dreamed up a vision for his innovative approach to “maintenance-free living”; and incorporated a new City in the ever-changing South Florida sun, all of the events of the past four and half (and some change) decades would have gone on unaltered – but what has happened here, in these 11 square miles, is our history.

A similar comment and a similar situation a few weeks later had a slightly different outcome. (Perhaps I could learn from my own history, and stay in better touch with my friends… but that might be more appropriate for a different column.) Catching up with a former co-worker, he mentioned how he used to run in Tamarac’s Turkey Trot when he was growing up. Jackpot! “Matt, do you have any photos of you at the event?” I asked anxiously. “I think so, I’d have to look.”
This year, Tamarac’s Turkey Trot will be in its thirtieth year. Thousands of runners from all over the region, if not the world, have woken up incredibly early on Thanksgiving morning over the past twenty-nine years to take part in one the City’s most popular annual events. Untold trophies have been handed out to serious competitors over the years. And like my former co-worker, many more families have enjoyed the cool morning air as they ran, or walked, together around the course.

Tamarac’s Turkey Trot has become a comfortable tradition, not just to the City, but to the individuals who train and compete regularly; the families who enjoy the friendly competition; and those who simply like to take advantage of the programs and events their City has to offer. Tradition begets history, and vice versa.

I was anxious to receive Matt’s photos, not just to see that someone else’s parents have kept embarrassing photos of their kids sporting tacky 80’s fashion, but because the Tamarac Historical Society had yet to obtain any photos or memorabilia from those early years of the run.

Events are just a small portion of Tamarac’s history, but anything that has happened in the past is part of our story, the story we’re attempting to gather for future generations.

Do you have something to share, photos of you and your family enjoying an event, a park, or an activity here in Tamarac? We’d love for you to share. Contact the Tamarac Historical Society at, or (954) 597-3523.