A South Creek resident shares photos from his book on city history
Few Broward residents understand local history like Dan Hobby. The former executive director of the Fort Lauderdale Historical Society (1980-2000), the Pompano Beach Historical Society (2000-14) and the Sample-McDougald House Preservation Society (2000-16) wrote articles for local publications and books on Broward County history. He also co-wrote a book about Fort Lauderdale for the South Carolina-based historical publishing company Arcadia Publishing for its Images of America series, which explores the country’s town and neighborhood history through photographs and local expertise.
A South Creek resident since August 1980, Hobby had researched some of the city’s history, written articles for the city and was a member of the city’s 25th anniversary advisory committee in 1992. He wanted to do more research, and the perfect opportunity came when Arcadia Publishing approached him about writing an Images of America book about Coconut Creek. After about a year of research and writing, the book was published in 2012.
“So much of the history is so recent that most people wouldn’t even consider it history, so in developing the strategy of how the book would flow, I tried to give more emphasis to the older history of the city—how the city first got going—and then I slid into some of the newer development,” Hobby says.
Though finding pre-development photographs of the county’s youngest city proved difficult, Hobby managed to obtain photos from his neighbors and others.
“I’ve found throughout my career in local history that people undervalue the historical nature of their personal photographs,” Hobby says. “But often family photographs, even unintentionally, document historical [events]. There’s one photo [in the book] from a neighbor of mine who had pictures of a flood that had occurred.”
Over the years, Hobby feels the city has been true to its vision, making it a good place to raise a family. He applauds the city for planning for future density with the MainStreet initiative.
“We’ve had a range of people on the city commission and positions of authority, but they never deviated strongly from the idea that we want this to be a beautiful city, we want this to be an ecologically sound city, [and] we want parks, … which has, I think, made it a livable and stable city,” Hobby says.
Coconut Creek Lifestyle asked Hobby to share some of his favorite photos and captions from his book, available online from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Arcadia Publishing.
Editor’s Note: This is the fifth in a series of articles celebrating Coconut Creek’s 50th anniversary.