Stranahan House, Ft. Lauderdale

  • By: Timothy Rose
  • Date: 30 July 2023
  • Time to read: 5 min.


In the heart of bustling downtown Ft. Lauderdale, the Stranahan House stands as a tranquil oasis. It’s not just the age-old charm of this historic home that captivates visitors, but also the spine-chilling accounts of paranormal activity and spirit manifestations that make this house an intriguing destination for history and ghost enthusiasts alike.

History of the Stranahan House

The Stranahan House, built in 1901 by pioneer Frank Stranahan, holds the title of being the oldest surviving structure in Broward County. Originally functioning as a trading post, it later served as a community hall, post office, and eventually the Stranahan family residence. The house saw a fair share of joy and tragedy, notably the untimely demise of Frank Stranahan himself, who drowned in the river adjacent to the house.

Frank Stranahan: Pioneer, Entrepreneur, and “Father of Fort Lauderdale”

Frank Stranahan (August 21, 1864 – June 23, 1929) was an American businessman, entrepreneur, and pioneer hailed as the “Father of Fort Lauderdale”. His contributions to the growth and development of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, have left an indelible mark on the region’s history and infrastructure.

Born in Vienna, Ohio, Stranahan moved to what is now Fort Lauderdale in 1893, when the region was little more than a wilderness. His initial purpose was to operate a ferry and trading post at the New River, providing goods and services for the local Seminole Tribe and early settlers.

Stranahan House
Stranahan House

In 1900, Frank Stranahan married Ivy Julia Cromartie, a local schoolteacher. Ivy, who was the first schoolteacher in Fort Lauderdale, is also recognized for her significant contributions to the region. The couple were a formidable team and were deeply committed to the progress and welfare of their community. Their home, built in 1901 and known as the Stranahan House, still stands today as the oldest surviving structure in Broward County and operates as a historical museum.

Sadly, the Great Depression took a significant toll on Stranahan’s finances. Burdened with debt and declining health, he tragically took his own life in 1929. Despite his tragic end, Frank Stranahan’s pioneering spirit and influential contributions to Fort Lauderdale have cemented his legacy as one of South Florida’s most notable historical figures.

Haunting Legends and Supernatural Phenomena

The first ghostly encounters were reported shortly after Frank’s death. Staff and visitors have claimed to see his apparition, often near the spot where he took his own life. His spirit is said to wander the house, especially around his old room and the upper floor.

Stranahan House
Stranahan House

Frank’s wife, Ivy, also allegedly haunts the Stranahan House. She lived in the house for nearly three decades after Frank’s death and is said to have been deeply attached to it. Sightings of a female ghost, believed to be Ivy, are commonly reported. Witnesses have described seeing her apparition in period clothing, often accompanied by the smell of her favorite perfume.

There have been accounts of objects moving of their own accord, such as a vintage clock that’s known to stop and start inexplicably. Witnesses have reported hearing strange noises, like unexplained footsteps, doors opening and closing on their own, and voices in empty rooms.

Another legend involves the spirits of Seminole Indians, who Frank traded with at his post. Some visitors have claimed to see the apparitions of Seminole tribespeople on the property, usually near the river.

Popular Culture and Media Coverage

The Stranahan House, located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, boasts a prominent role in both the local history and the lore of the supernatural. This historic house, once a trading post and town hall, and now a museum, has captured the imaginations of the public through its captivating blend of history and reputed hauntings.

Its rich narrative has been brought to life in popular media through appearances on TV shows like the Travel Channel’s “Mysteries at the Museum” and “Ghost Stories.” These portrayals, showcasing reported paranormal occurrences and the history of the Stranahan family, have added an element of intrigue and mystery to the site, attracting a diverse range of visitors.

Following an exploration of pioneering figures and their influence on local history, those with a keen interest in Florida’s heritage will find great value in reading “The Stranahans of Fort Lauderdale” by Harry A. Kersey Jr. This book focuses on the Stranahan family, key pioneers in the development of Fort Lauderdale and the New River area. Kersey’s in-depth research and engaging narrative chronicle the Stranahans’ endeavors, contributions, and enduring legacy in shaping the region.

Investigation and Research Efforts

Several paranormal investigations have been conducted at the Stranahan House. Investigators have captured potential evidence of the paranormal, including EVPs and unexplained photographic anomalies. However, skeptics propose that the house’s age and historical significance may be contributing factors to the perceived supernatural phenomena.

Visitor Experiences and Urban Legends

Visitors often share personal accounts of eerie encounters, from inexplicable chills to sightings of spectral figures. These experiences, coupled with the house’s historic backdrop, have given rise to urban legends, making it a favored destination for thrill-seekers.

Credit – FPANSoutheast

Preservation and Tourism

Today, the Stranahan House is meticulously maintained as a historic museum. Guided tours not only educate visitors about early life in South Florida but also regale them with tales of the property’s ghostly encounters, attracting both history buffs and paranormal enthusiasts.


The Stranahan House stands as a remarkable blend of local history and otherworldly tales. Its captivating narrative of early pioneers, coupled with the whispered accounts of hauntings, makes it a unique and enduring symbol of Ft. Lauderdale’s vibrant past and present.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Stranahan House, Ft. Lauderdale

Q1: Where is Stranahan House located?
Stranahan House is located in downtown Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

Q2: Can I visit Stranahan House?
Yes, it is open for guided tours.

Q3: What kind of paranormal activities have been reported at Stranahan House?
Reports include apparitions, objects moving independently, unexplained noises, and a feeling of being watched.

Q4: Has Stranahan House been featured in any media?
Yes, it has been covered in various books, documentaries, and paranormal-themed TV shows.

Q5: Who were the notable past residents of Stranahan House?
The most notable past residents were the house’s builders and original owners, Frank and Ivy Stranahan.

Q6: Are there skeptics about the hauntings at Stranahan House?
Yes, some skeptics suggest that the perceived paranormal phenomena could be influenced by the house’s age and historical context.

Q7: How is Stranahan House preserved today?
The Stranahan House is preserved as a museum that educates visitors about the early days of Ft. Lauderdale, offering guided tours that feature both the house’s history and tales of its reputed hauntings.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Previous Post

Fort East Martello Museum, Key West: A Bastion of History and Hauntings

Next Post

Cuban Club, Tampa