FORT LAUDERDALE HISTORY

Snakes and gators greeted
Imperial Point's earliest residents
 

The late Joseph Jamrog does some yard work in 1961, the year he and his wife Liane moved into their Imperial Point home. Click anywhere on the image to see a blowup.

A 1979 aerial view of Imperial Point taken by a NASA high-altitude aircraft. Click for a blowup.

 

White sand, as far as you could see

The author is Imperial Point's first homeowner and wrote this article in 1994 for that neighborhood's newsletter.

By LIANE WOOD

ON MY FIRST FLORIDA TRIP IN 1946, hunters with hip boots and rifles left our Miami-bound bus at about where Imperial Point exists today. I asked them what they were hunting, and they replied: alligators and snakes!

In January 1961 my husband and I came to Pompano and decided to buy a house as a winter residence. A real estate agent directed us to Imperial Point, which had just opened its model homes. We had the choice of a lot from a map. I decided on the "Cavalier" model because I did not want a large home like my home on Long Island. Bart Haft (Haft-Gaines was the builder and developer of Imperial Point) was most accommodating and told me I could have any extra features I wanted as I was the first buyer!

At this time there was only Imperial Point Drive and the model homes, all beautifully finished, and white sand as far as one could see. Where 62nd Street is today, that entire area was a large pond and I could see small fish and sea birds in the water.

My house was immediately started and I saw the deep cement foundation poured and the concrete blocks, with strong steel supports through them, laid. Building inspectors were very strict and every day they closely supervised the work. We were told on the first of March that the house was ready. When we arrived the house was spic and span, as Mr. Haft maintained a crew to clean each home for the new owner!

Green squares of grass surrounded the property and the rest, as far as you could see, was white sand. Two days after moving in, my husband went outside and came rushing back in. "Don't go out -- there is a large alligator!" My curiosity made me rush out and, lo -- there were TWO alligators on my cement patio. lt took the police two hours to catch them and take them back to the Everglades.

One day in 1962, I noticed a crowd on Imperial Point Drive. A large rattlesnake had coiled itself around a decorative rock in front of a model home. Finally, one of the workmen killed the snake with his spade and announced he'd take the remains home to eat!

At first it was a struggle with the sand which blew into the house. But as more homes were built the neighbors came to visit and warm friendships grew. I went swimming in the 62nd Street pond until Mr. Haft warned me that the pond was no longer clean. The streets were drained and crews worked in shifts to drain 62nd Street.

A Welcome Wagon representative came and brought little gifts and ads of stores. The developer arranged for barbecues, friendly get-togethers and bridge parties, and a most friendly atmosphere developed.

In 1968 I started the Imperial Point League, a social club, and many of my neighbors and friends joined. Last year we had to disband. As the years passed many of the original members passed away or moved away.

But Imperial Point has survived beautifully.