Las Olas Boulevard
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Las Olas Boulevard is a popular thoroughfare in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, United States that runs from Andrews Avenue in the Central Business District to A1A and Fort Lauderdale Beach. The easternmost section of the boulevard is interlaced with canals and waterfront homes. The commercial stretch, approximately 1-mile (1.6 km) in length, features cool sub-tropical breezeways and courtyards with bars, nightclubs, bridal stores, shops, boutiques, art galleries, restaurants and the Riverside Hotel. The name "Las Olas" means "The Waves" in Spanish. The road once carried the designations of State Road A1A Alt. and State Road 842.
Las Olas has its own historic house, a museum of art, a nearby IMAX cinema and an art house movie theater within a short walk. Las Olas Boulevard can be accessed by the Fort Lauderdale water taxi. The boulevard is a popular dining and shopping destination for locals and visitors as it is situated close to Fort Lauderdale Beach, Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport and Port Everglades.
The boulevard was constructed in 1917, when Las Olas was just a dirt road that crossed the swampy wetlands to the barrier island at Fort Lauderdale Beach. The Las Olas Isles were dredged in the 1920s to create land for the areas most picturesque waterfront residential district. The modern commercial segment of Las Olas Boulevard was constructed during the Post World War II era. The westernmost downtown segment was entirely reconstructed since the 1970s. The boulevard begins at the famous Elbo Room bar where the beach meets the boulevard and ends in the west at the Museum of Art Fort Lauderdale.
In the early 1980s Las Olas went through a major renovation program to enhance property values. The land was worth much more than that of the standing homes. It was decided that anyone who wished to buy property on one of the isles would have to tear down the existing home and build a home of equal or greater value than the land. There were a few celebrities who already lived on Las Olas, but new homes and waterfronts made it more appealing to move to the area. Professional tour companies provide tours that take people down the waterways to show off the celebrities homes and yachts.
A few of the most notable (past and present) are:
- Johnny Weissmuller, actor who played Tarzan and invented the signature yell.
- Wayne Huizenga, CEO of Waste Management, Inc, Blockbuster Video and AutoNation.
- David L Cook, Christian music star and entrepreneur.
- Connie Francis, actress and movie star who was featured in the movie, Where the Boys Are which was filmed on Las Olas Blvd at the famed Elbo Room.
- Dan Quayle, former Vice President of the United States.
- Lee Majors, actor who played The Six Million Dollar Man and former husband to Farrah Fawcett.
- Sonny and Cher, singers and actors.
- Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, television and movie stars. Stars of I Love Lucy fame.
- Gloria Vanderbilt, designer and socialite.
- Preston A. Wells, Jr, Owner of much of the Las Olas Blvd real estate, including the Riverside Hotel, and the owner of the development company, The Las Olas Company.
- Frank and Ivy Stranahan, founding pioneers of Fort Lauderdale and the first residents of Las Olas Boulevard. Their trading post Stranahan House is located between the boulevard and New River.
- "Fort Lauderdale Sightseeing Cruises, Tours, and Private Charter Cruises on the Carrie B of Ft Lauderdale, Florida". Retrieved 2010-11-04.Las Olas Tours of Celebrity Homes
- "Genealogical Society of Broward County (GSBC) - Biographies". Retrieved 2010-11-04.Johnny Weissmuller
- "Wayne Huizenga selling Fort Lauderdale 2BD for $1.55M | BlockShopper South Florida". Retrieved 2010-11-04.Wayne Huizenga sells Las Olas home
- "ci.ftlaud.fl.us". Archived from the original on 2010-11-24. Retrieved 2010-11-04.Connie Francis Celebrates the 50th anniversary of Where the Boys Are on Fort Lauderdale Beach
- Hilton, Spud (2010-03-27). "Travel | More elegant Fort Lauderdale sheds rowdy spring-break past | Seattle Times Newspaper". The Seattle Times. Retrieved 2010-11-04.
- Historic Stranahan House Museum. Retrieved 21 June 2013.