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The Stranahan House, Fort Lauderdale.


The Stranahan House, Built in 1906, for Pioneer Floridian Frank Stranahan, This is one of Haunted Fort Lauderdale's most haunted houses. Built in 1906, for Pioneer Floridian Frank Stranahan.

The Stranahan House has served as a trading post, post office, bank and town hall. Restored to its 1913, it's a "must see" in Haunted South Florida.

by John Carr
Frank Stranahan was born in Vienna, Ohio August 21, 1864. In 1890, he relocated to South Florida for health reasons, settling first in Melbourne. Moving again in 1893, Stranahan relocated to Fort Lauderdale to assume management of the overland mail route from Lantana to Coconut Grove.

Stranahan established the first post office in Fort Lauderdale, and the location also became a popular trading post and ferry service. By 1895, Stranahan’s Trading Post was a well-known South Florida landmark. Stranahan also established the first banking institution in Fort Lauderdale and financed the construction of the first road from the New River to Miami. He became one of the largest land owners in the area but gave away large portions of his land for public welfare, including sites for the memorial Hospital and Stranahan Park.

Frank Stranahan married the lovely Ivy Cromartie and used his newly acquired wealth to build her a home whose charm and beauty would endure into the 21st century. Today Stranahan’s labor of love serves as a unique – and haunted – museum.

Stranahan died in the city on June 23, 1929 but his life story had a sad end. Legend tells that he committed suicide after having sunk into financial ruin in 1927 when he lost most of his wealth and holdings in the aftermath of a devastating hurricane and then being further victimized by the arrival of the Great Depression. Stranahan lost a battle with depression, compounded by the fact that it was not only his own money and assets that were lost, but also those of his family and friends who had entrusted their life savings to his financial management.

Stranahan's demise was his own doing and remains an oddly unique departure: He methodically strapped a large iron gate to his ankle and threw himself into the nearby Intercoastal Waterway. The weight of the gate assured that he would not be able to alter his course of action even if he had wanted to. But many say that Stranahan may have found his way back to the home he knew in life, returning as a ghost from the watery depths that claimed him.

Locals say that Frank Stranahan is still in residence at the home he built with such loving care. Reports of strange apparitions and ghostly noises have come from rattle staff members. Because Stranahan is considered one of the founding fathers of Fort Lauderdale, ghostly happenings at his former residence still make the news. Reports about the Haunted Stranahan House have been featured on local radio stations and in the local newspaper, the Sun-Sentinel News.

But its not just Frank Stranahan who remains an unseen resident at this historic haunted home. As many as six family members have died in the house. The ghost of Ivy Cromartie Stranahan, who died in an upstairs bedroom in 1971, is reported to appear accompanied by the strong scent of an antique fragrance. The uneasy ghost of her father, Augustus Cromartie, who died in that same bedroom years before, is reported to make his presence known on occasion; other ghostly residents include Ivy’s brother and sister and the apparition of an Indian servant girl seen outside the rear of the building.

Reports of unearthly activities are made by employees, guests and visitors from time to time. Even vagrants who used to habitually sleep on the expansive exterior porch area (now fenced off) reportedly didn’t have to wait for employees or security guards to drive them away. Accounts from the squatters tell of encounters with an angry spirit who shows his displeasure by banging on the walls of the building preventing the vagrants from getting any rest. One homeless man reported being chased away from the home by an unseen but angry spirit that only broke off the pursuit once the vagrant had reached the property line.

The third floor attic space is the site of much activity. Employees who sometimes have to go to the attic have reported the presence of a spirit in the area and sometimes the cold touch of a hand upon their back. Reports seem to support the contention that this is the ghost of Ivy Cromartie Stranahan attempting to assure that the employee does not fall from the attic. Apparently, the possibility of an employee being injured was one of Ivy’s great fears in this area. In the bedroom where Ivy died, the beds are made and re-made. Every time the bed is straightened the housekeeping staff will inevitably return the next day to find an imprint as if someone had sat down and steadied themselves with a heavy hand on the bed. This occurs even though the bedroom is off limits most of the day, and the last staff members to be in the room work the evening shift.

Guided tours of the Haunted Stranahan House are available! For more information on the Stranahan House or other Haunted Fort Lauderdale ghost filled destinations, please their visit Official haunted Web Site at: www.fortlauderdaleghosttour.com or click the link below!

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The Haunted Fort Lauderdale Ghost Tour with John Carr.  The 60- to 90-minute walking tour of the ghosts of historic Fort Lauderdale begins on Southeast Sixth Avenue and Las Olas Boulevard and ends near the Broward Center for the Performing Arts. 7:30 p.m. and 9:15 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 4 p.m., 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. Sunday Cost: $15 for adults; $10 for children under 10; and free for children 5 and under. Info: Call 954-290-9328 or go to the official website.

Fort Lauderdale Ghost Tour
In one tour, local paranormal enthusiast John Carr leads his 60-90-minute walking tours that can spook even the most jaded non-believers. He tells the story of visitors spotting an adorable eight-year-old girl with blond, curly hair and vintage white dress strolling alone through the historic section of Fort Lauderdale. A second glance, however, and the little girl vanishes without a trace.

The tour also visits the New Rivers Sailboat Bend, site of the infamous Cooley Hammock Massacre of the 1830s. The legend begins with the murder of a local Native American chief by white settlers. In revenge, a Native American raiding party descended upon the home of William Cooley, the Justice of the Peace. The band killed Cooley, his wife, their three children and the children's tutor. To this day, the family's screams echo through Sailboat Bend each January.

Available year-round, the Fort Lauderdale Ghost Tour departs from Southeast Sixth Avenue and Las Olas Boulevard twice each Friday and Saturday evening and three times each Sundays. Prices are $15 for adults and $10 for children. For reservations call 954-290-9328

Stranahan House

Turn-of-the-century riverside museum. Intriguing insight into early Haunted Fort Lauderdale life. Originally a trading post for Seminole Indians from the Everglades.

Frank Stranahan Married Ivy Cromartie and with his wealth and love begin building her a home so charming and enduring it serves today as a unique haunted South Florida museum.

Guided tours of the Haunted Stranahan House are available! For more information on the Stranahan House or other Haunted Fort Lauderdale destinations, visit the link below!

Official Web Site


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