First settled in the 1840s, Fort Lauderdale was incorporated in 1911 and designated as the seat of government for the newly-formed Broward County in 1915. The area became a growth center during the mid 1890s when the Florida East Coast Railroad laid tracks through the area. Major development began with the Florida land boom of the 1920s. Post World War II many service members — who had been stationed at the U.S. Navy Base — returned to settle in the area. Since that time Fort Lauderdale developed as a major yachting and tourist center. Greater Fort Lauderdale was home to nearly 2-million residents according to the census of 2010. [wikipedia.org, accessed March, 2013]
The City contains more than 160 miles of (man-made) canals resulting in its nickname, "Venice of America." The canals weave their way through both downtown and residential areas. In some neighborhoods, the canals have become a kind of surrogate driveway in which residents "park" their boats.