What's A Better Name: Broward Or Lauderdale?

Jan 4, 2013

Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca wants to transform Broward County by changing its name.  LaMarca says many outside Florida don't recognize "Broward" and associate Fort Lauderdale with fun in the sun. He plans to propose the name Lauderdale County, an idea that will be debated next week in a function hosted by the Tower Forum, a Broward (soon to be Lauderdale?) non-profit business organization. Miami-Dade changed its name in 1997.

WLRN social media editor Danny Rivero points out the less-than-noble actions of some whose names were adopted by counties: Napoleon Bonaparte Broward drained the Everglades and Francis Dade fought against Seminole Indians. Beyond that history, the decision whether to change the name of a place often reflects broader issues: what defines our community?  How do we want to be known?   

We asked Public Insight Network members who live in Broward what the words "Broward" and "Lauderdale" mean to them.  Below is a graphic showing what responses were most popular.  

First, "Broward":

And "Lauderdale":

Broward did not conjure up as many distinct or positive associations.  But as Rob Vango from Hollywood points out: 

People go to a certain place or destination, not a county. When people go to South Beach, they don't say, "Hey, I'm going to a beach in Miami Dade County." Or when they go to Key West, they don't say "Hey, I'm going to Monroe County"....Leave it alone, this county has been named this for 100 years. Let each individual city in the county worry about its own tourism advertising.

So, perhaps a county name is less relevant.  Given that public money will be required to change letterheads and signs, we'll see if boosters can build up enough momentum this time for an identity change that some view as unnecessary.