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.


  1. The obvious question is: where did the Tamarac [Country Club]get its name?

    1. If they would have probed further, they would have discovered that the owners of the Tamarac Country Club were the ones that owned the Car-A-Mat or CarMat car washes up north. It would become confused with Behring but he had nothing to do with this he said when I interviewed him.

      So don't rule out Tamarac coming from the car wash chain, just don't associate this connection with Behring.

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