90th Anniversary Celebration

2017 is the
90th Anniversary of Flamingo Groves, the forerunner of Flamingo Gardens. The
founders, Floyd L. and Jane Wray, moved to Florida in 1925.  They were thrilled with their new home and the beauty of South Florida.  He had a good job selling property in Hollywood-by-the-Sea.

Then came 1926.  It was not a good year for South Florida or the Wrays. The real estate boom was
ending, and on September 19, a devastating
hurricane made landfall.

1926 HurricaneYou can only
imagine how the Wrays felt after the storm subsided.  They were grateful they fared the storm better than most. But, with the real estate business
gone, Floyd knew he had to pick himself up and consider his options. He decided
on a venture that would take him in a whole new direction —
citrus. He believed he could make a go of it if he bought inexpensive land in the drained Everglades and grew a new
variety of summer oranges, and he was right.
By the end of 1926, the new plan was in motion. Mittie Meyers Chaplin writing about
her pioneer family noted they
sold three hundred and twenty acres of Everglade land six miles west of Davie and
somewhat higher than sea level than elsewhere to a young man. That
young man was Floyd L. Wray.
Citrus IndustryFlamingo
Groves was incorporated on January 2, 1927. The first bare-root Lu Gim Gong summer-ripening orange tree was
planted in the drained Everglades on February 22.  Forty acres were
planted that first year.
exotic botanical gardens were created with the
help of the Department of Agriculture, which provided
plants and seeds from around the world. 
A flamingo pond was added and peacocks roamed the grounds.  Flamingo Groves became a South Florida show place. Other growers began to plant citrus until
western Davie was almost a continuous citrus grove.

Broward County FL
Wray built retail outlets for his fruit and other citrus-related items, and the first modern packing and shipping plant in Broward County.  He was one of the first elected commissioners that turned Bay Mable Harbor into Port Everglades, a world-class shipping and cruise facility, in only five years.  He
continued to expand the groves and included virtually every variety of
citrus and other fruit trees suited to the climate.  Flamingo Groves covered nearly 2,000
acres at its peak. 
Florida AttractionsAlthough all
the other groves eventually made way to development, Jane Wray had the foresight to create a
foundation to preserve the best 60 acres. Today, visitors from the state, country, and all around the world enjoy the botanical gardens and native wildlife exhibits. The historic Wray Home Museum shares Floyd and Jane’s history and their legacy.    

It all began with that one tree planted so many years ago. Join
us in celebrating the 90th Anniversary at Flamingo Gardens this

More History
The First Tree Was Planted in 1927
Flamingo Groves/Flamingo Gardens: Always a great place to party!
Flamingo Gardens a Spectacular Setting with an Eventful Past


Flamingo Groves/Flamingo Gardens: Always a great place to party!

Floyd L. and Jane Wray, the founders of Flamingo Gardens, were very social people. They often hosted parties for friends, business associates, civic and church groups at Flamingo Groves. Food was prepared in the outside kitchen with its huge fireplace. Guests dressed up for the occasion. Most men wore suits and ties but removed their jackets in the heat.

Floyd, wearing an apron, is at the top right in front of the outdoor kitchen. 
His hand is on Jane’s shoulder (seated).

Sometimes the Wrays had so many guests, they had to use makeshift orange crate tables and chairs.

Jane, Floyd, and guests at a picnic on the lawn in front of Wray Home.

Jane was ready, whether there were 25 or 200 guests. Just in case you ever need 5 gallons of barbecue sauce, here is her recipe along with some 1960s grocery prices and shopping list notes for 25, 60 and 200 people.

Who did all the cooking? Everyone pitched in. Floyd barbecued wearing his apron, and even the guests were invited help with the cooking.

1932 barbecue at Flamingo Groves

When Wray was Chairman of Port Everglades in the early 1930s, the local Propeller Club cadets and their New York guests were treated to a barbecue at Flamingo Groves.

Port Everglades
Floyd L. Wray, Chairman of Port Everglades, second from left

The party for the Wrays’ 25th Anniversary, on September 1, 1935, was a huge celebration and major social event in South Florida. More than 300 friends stopped by during reception hours at their Hollywood home, and articles appeared in the local papers.

It’s a good thing Jane had a guest book ready for visitors to sign. The guest book for the Wrays’ anniversary contains signatures and good wishes, telegrams, letters, and cards from around the country, along with news clippings, so we have them to share today.

Don’t you wish there was a picture of the ladies so you could see their dresses?

Their anniversary even became the subject of a popular syndicated newspaper column.


Andrew and Imogene by Roe Fulkerson was a column distributed by the 

McNaught Syndicate (1922-1988).   It was published in papers throughout the country.

Over the years, there have been countless parties, events, and receptions at Flamingo Gardens, too. Today Flamingo Gardens hosts an annual recognition luncheon to honor its dedicated volunteers, has special openings for new exhibits, dining under the stars at the annual fundraising Gala in the Gardens and many, many other annual events to enjoy throughout the year. For more information, see Events at flamingogardens.org.

You can make arrangements to celebrate almost any special occasion at Flamingo Gardens including birthday parties, weddings, and family reunions to name just a few. And, it is a splendid location for corporate events, celebrations, and meetings. See Rentals at flamingogardens.org for more information.

Be sure to leave comments about topics of interest, and any questions you have.