Flamingo Gardens was originally founded as Flamingo Groves, a citrus orchard, by Floyd L. and Jane Wray. The Wrays came to Florida in 1925 and were deeply intrigued with the horticultural possibilities of the subtropical locale. They purchased land around and including Long Key in the Everglades, beginning what was to become one of the first botanical gardens and tourist attractions in South Florida. Here are ten facts you should know about the Wrays and their residence that is now the Wray Home Museum:
- The Wrays built the Wray Home in 1933 as a weekend home and used it for relaxing and conducting business and to entertain business associates, civic groups, and friends.
Early photo of the Wray Home circa 1930s.
2. The Wray home is the oldest residence in Broward County west of University Drive.
3. Floyd and Jane Wray were significant to the growth and development of Broward County and the Broward County citrus industry. Floyd was instrumental in the establishment of Port Everglades.
Floyd and Jane Wray at the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce
4. Floyd purchased 320 acres of land at less than $5.00 an acre and Flamingo Groves was incorporated in January of 1927. The first orange tree was planted on February 22, 1927.
Floyd L. Wray (right) plants the first tree at Flamingo Groves
5. 5-acre parcels of land planted with 66 trees to an acre were sold to investors for about $3750. At its height Flamingo Groves had 2,000 acres of citrus groves, growing many types of citrus, and five shipping locations with stores throughout Broward County.
Investors in Flamingo Groves circa 1930s
6. The Botanical collection was started in 1928 with rare tropical plants and trees from around the world, created with specimens provided at no cost by a Dept. of Agriculture program until the 1940s.
Cluster Fig planted in the 1930s through a U.S. Department of Agriculture Program.
7. In 1928 the Flamingo Tangelo was developed at Flamingo Grooves. Jane wrote a poem to the Flamingo Tangelo that hangs on the wall in the Wray Home.
8.The house was converted into a history museum in 1975 and in 1991 the interior of the building was restored to depict a typical South Florida country home of the 1930s to 1950s.
Wray Home Museum circa 1990s
9. The house has been added to three times. The most recent addition was completed in the early 1950s when they added air conditioning.
10. The Wrays had no children, but Jane’s nephew helped run the groves and raised his children on the property. Jane’s grandnephew is still involved with Flamingo Gardens and currently resides on the property.