Buzz Renews For Renaming Broward County

Dec 31, 2012

It's been 15 years since Miami-area voters changed the name of their county from "Dade" to "Miami-Dade" so everyone would know where it is and that it's the container of a really famous city.

A similar buzz is arising again in Broward County where some local boosters think their county name is doing them no good at all and that a much better and more recognizable one is available: Lauderdale County.

NAMED FOR HIM: Napoleon Bonaparte Broward, drainer of the Everglades, as lampooned in 1905.

The merits of a name change will be the breakfast agenda for the Tower Forum in Fort Lauderdale Monday at 7 a. m. And Broward County Commissioner Chip LaMarca says he may be ready to introduce an ordinance to change the county's name.

For you newcomers, Broward was the name of a turn-of-the-century Florida governor whose major "accomplishment" was an act that would have gotten him indicted today: draining the Florida Everglades for development purposes.

State legislators were set to name the place Everglades County but there was an insurgency that led to choosing Broward for a name after the governor's death.

A BETTER NAME? This statue of him in western Davie commemorates the nine days Maj. William Lauderdale actually spent in the area.

Lauderdale was Maj. William Lauderdale, who fought in the Seminole War. His name stuck to Broward's major city. The Indian fighting Army major whose name became a problem was  Francis L. Dade, who actually died in the Seminole War but left his name on Dade counties in Florida and two other states plus a city in Florida's Pasco County.

As the Sun Sentinel reports, there are obvious arguments for changing Broward's county name, but obvious reasons not to, as well:

The county's main tourism agency already calls itself the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention and Visitors Bureau and why the Broward Alliance economic development partnership changed its name to the Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance four years ago.

Name changes can be hard. Dade County voters rejected at least five name changes over the years before agreeing to become Miami-Dade County in 1997.

Nicki Grossman, president of Broward's visitors bureau, said a name change would be helpful, but is not critical.

"If they keep the name of the county, we're still selling greater Fort Lauderdale," Grossman said.

It's not the first time the topic has come up. Sun Sentinel columnist Michael Mayo wrote about it last year.