The Lady of the house shows loving care to both the living and the dead.
The spirits here have a variety of personalities.
They all interact true to themselves. Death hasn’t changed them.
Tom and I took a tour of the Stranahan House when we were on our road trip through Florida. The Stranahan House is “an excellent example of Florida vernacular architecture in a tropical wilderness setting.”
Beautiful and well made, this two-and-a-half story, Dade County Pine structure with verandas on both floors has been restored to its 1915 state, which was quite impressive for the time. It had electricity, indoor plumbing, running water, interior stairways, bay windows and wide porches.
On the first floor, one sees owner Frank Stranahan’s office, the parlor, dining room and kitchen. An old trading post was once in the office area, and there are artifacts from that era on display, as well as his desk, with a candy jar on the top corner.
There is a lovely staircase in the parlor that leads up to the second floor.
The second floor has six rooms:
A master bedroom
Two smaller bedrooms
One large guest room (now the gift shop)
One small guest room (Albert’s room)
and a sewing room
The bathroom is on the second floor, as is the narrow stairway to the attic.
During the restoration of this structure, all the woodwork, paneling and floors were refinished, and the outside of the house was painted the colors that Frank and his wife Ivy had originally painted the house, white with green trim. A hurricane-proof roof was put on the structure in 1996. The interior rooms are furnished with Victorian era furniture, and other interesting pieces, such as Ivy’s china, other artifacts of the family, and turn-of-the-century decor and furniture. The kitchen had an old-fashioned ice box, a water pump, and other items found in early 20th century houses.
Stranahan house has a fascinating history, as Frank and Ivy were movers and shakers, flowing with the punches of life, facing problems and making decisions, and evolving as people through the years.
The first floor of the house was built in the 1890s. The other parts came later, between 1902-1915, as the structure changed to meet the needs of its residents. Through the years, it has been through many renovations.
From its beginning it has been a commercial/private residence. Frank Stranahan, born in 1864, was an early founding father of Fort Lauderdale, who did much to build this city. He donated land, established commerce, and had his hand in several enterprises himself. In 1893, he came to Ft. Lauderdale, to manage the overland mail route, starting a ferry/barge service to get people over the New River, to the new road, that connected Lantana to North Miami. The Ferry also took folks directly to Miami, taking only two hours, instead of the usual six hours, if one drove around the long way.
Frank’s first version of this house served many purposes. It was a waiting area for the ferry, a post office, a temporary town hall, and a trading post for new settlers and the Seminole Indians as well. Frank was well liked by everyone, as he was a fair man, with a giving spirit.
Eighteen year old Ivy Julia Cromartie Stranahan, born in 1881, was persuaded in 1899 to move to Fort Lauderdale, to teach school. Her brother, Bloxham was a merchant here, and her family followed her to Fort Lauderdale as well. Frank fell in love with Ivy, and asked her to marry him. She accepted under two conditions: Frank needed to shave his beard and needed to agree that they wouldn’t have children. Ivy had a traumatic experience as a younger teen, when she had to attend her mother during a terrible delivery of the child, which didn’t end very well at all, causing guilt feelings in Ivy, though she had been given no training in childbirth.
After their marriage in 1900, Frank, who must have had architectural skills as well, added a second floor to the house with not only a master bedroom, but also a sewing room, three or four other bedrooms, a bathroom, and an attic. Another wrap-around veranda on the second floor, with a glorious view of the river, was the finishing touch!
Ivy lived a life of service to others. She taught school for 17 years and unofficially taught the Seminole children for 15 years. She was involved with her 7th Day Adventist Church, women’s suffrage, the Audubon Society, and helped to establish the Everglades National Park. Her love for the Seminoles fueled her efforts to create the foundation of the “Friends of the Seminoles.” She played a successful role in persuading some of the Seminoles to move to the newly created reservation at Dania.
1929 was a rough year for Ivy and Frank. The market crash wiped out a lot of Frank’s assets. A hurricane wiped out his farming ventures. Finally he got the bad news that he had terminal cancer and had only six months to live. After a failed attempt at suicide in the hospital, he was sent to a mental institution. Ivy petitioned the authorities with vigor, to persuade them to let Frank come home and die with family, allowing Ivy to take care of him. The hospital finally relented, and Frank came home, still fighting depression. Uh Oh! Rather than fight to the end, Frank, a devastated man, gave in to his despair, and wound up killing himself in the New River waters, a sad end indeed for such a pillar of the community.
After Frank died, Ivy rented out the rooms in the house to make extra income, when she needed money, as she couldn’t collect any insurance because Frank had killed himself. Toward the end of her life, she leased the first floor to a restaurant, that kept going strong until 1979, when the house was sold.
Ivy carried on, taking in family members, renting a room to her youngest brother, Albert, and continuing to work for the causes she felt strongly about, living her faith. She became the president of the Historical Society of Fort Lauderdale as well. She died in 1971, peacefully in her sleep.
The Stranahan House was given to the 7th Day Adventist Church, which sold it in 1979 to the Fort Lauderdale Historical Society. They carefully restored the house to its 1915 state. The Stranahan House, Inc., a non-profit corporation, has been keeping this old home, now a museum, in fine shape, raising funds through tours, events and gift shop sales.
HISTORY OF MANIFESTATIONS
People who kill themselves sometimes are afraid to go to the other side, because of what may await them there. They relive their suicide, or wander around, as lost souls.
Frank Stranahan, the son of a minister, suffered from depression, and a broken spirit, not only because of his financial losses, but from the guilt of letting down his investors, mostly friends and family. He was also dying of cancer, unable to do anything to start over again to repay those who had always helped him. He tied himself to a heavy metal object, and threw it into the river. Ivy’s relatives, who lived in the family home just across the river from them, saw Frank jump, and tried to save him, but he drowned.
People who die before their time sometimes stay in this world, not ready to go to the other side for a variety of reasons.
The spirits of children in other stories on this website have chosen to stay where they are familiar.
A very young Seminole girl came to see Miss Ivy, but collapsed in the doorway and died.
People who have unfinished business with this world often choose to ignore the light and stay.
Ivy’s sister, Pink, who was seven months pregnant, came to stay with Ivy because her husband was on a business trip. She had lost her last three pregnancies and had hoped that this pregnancy would result in a live child. Upon hearing that her husband was a two timer and had another woman who was the real wife, she went into premature labor, and once again the baby was stillborn. She died a week later in the parlor of Stranahan House, because of bleeding. She had refused to go to the hospital. Paranormal investigator John Marc Carr, in his book, HAUNTED FORT LAUDERDALE, speculates that perhaps she is still trying to get her husband arrested because of the EVPs he recorded in the parlor.
People who can’t let go of the unfairness of their deaths, sometimes stick around to do what they were doing before they died. In some instances they complain, are resentful, or get chuckles by teasing the living.
Brother Albert loved the fact that his room (the small guest room), had its own entry. Being a bit of a black sheep in the family, he got involved with a wild crowd, enjoying the party scenes, the drinking and the loose women. An unintended consequence was that he caught TB from a prostitute. He died six months later in his room at Stranahan House. His spirit is still sulking, and resentful that his choices led to his end, but he can be playful, and a bit inappropriate.
Sometimes people stay in this world after their deaths because loved-ones are staying, and they want to care for them.
Ivy was a very giving person, living what she believed, using her gifts to benefit others. She took care of her family members. As so many members of her family have decided to spend their afterlives here, she has chosen to do so as well.
Augustus Cromartie — Ivy’s father. When he was very sick, Ivy took him in, and had him stay in the large guest room, where he died. He was rather fond of Ivy.
There are six entities that make Stranahan House their home: one little girl and five members of the Stranahan Clan. For a full account of their stories, visit Haunted American Tours Top Ten Haunted, read John Marc Carr’s book, HAUNTED FORT LAUDERDALE and visit his web site
Upon entering the Stranahan House, there is a welcoming aura, a friendly, cordial atmosphere, as both entities of Mr. and Mrs. Stranahan are in residence.
The entity of Frank Stranahan
He must be pleased to see his labor of love in such good condition, and that it is now a museum. Frank had hosted many events at his house, so tourists coming in to look wouldn’t upset him, though vagrants don’t fit that category.
When homeless people have tried to sleep on the first floor veranda, an angry male spirit has been known to bang on the outside of the house and sometimes literally chase them off the property.
Both Staff and visitors have seen the apparition of Frank Stranahan. He must have the need to supervise the living, just as he did while alive.
Some of the apparitions seen inside the house have been attributed to him, perhaps keeping the staff on their toes, as he perhaps keeps on eye on the living.
The apparition of Frank Stranahan has been seen jumping into the New River, as he relives his suicide.
The entity Ivy
Still a gentle spirit, and a gracious hostess with a courageous mind to serve others. She is very active indeed.
Always a gracious hostess, caring for people in her home.
The third floor attic has very narrow, difficult steps with no rail leading up to the attic. Staff who have had to go there to retrieve items needed below worry Ivy, who doesn’t want them to fall.
Staff feel an unseen presence close to them, and sometimes feel a cold gentle hand on their back, to steady their way up and down the stairs. While alive, Ivy always worried about folks falling from the attic.
The friendly unseen presence of Ivy, and her actual apparition, are accompanied with the aroma of her favorite perfume.
Ivy shows her dislike to some by blowing in their ears and will give others whom she likes “a warm feeling”.
The entity known as Augustus Cromartie
A bit of a quiet, but stern grump!
He likes to hang out in his old bedroom, the gift shop, and closely supervise the staff who work there.
He shows his displeasure by startling the gift shop staff when they annoy him by changing things.
Throws books on the floor and makes the room cold.
The entity known as Pink, Ivy’s sister
She is finally enjoying motherhood!
Her unseen presence has been noticed in the parlor. it is thought that Pink and her newest baby are together here. If she couldn’t have a live baby while on earth, she has this little baby in her afterlife and can finally experience motherhood at The Stranahan House. She also yearns to get back at her unfaithful husband.
Two bright orbs travel around together in the parlor.
In a parlor seance, led by John Marc Carr, leader of South East Florida Ghost Research, Pink came forward, and in EVPs, she cheerfully announced her presence and asked where Clark was. Clark was the name of the Fort Lauderdale Sheriff.
The entity known as Albert
Being dead hasn’t improved his character, his maturity or his manners.
Albert likes to play around, teasing the staff of Stranahan House, much to their discomfort.
He knocks things over, moves objects, shuts doors and shows a lack of respect for the living.
If he doesn’t like a person, he has yelled, VP — “GET OUT!”
He doesn’t just bother the staff, he also likes to tease visitors.
He has made his room cold for men and warm for women.
He has been rather cheeky and forward with some women visitors.
When John Marc Carr and his group tried to get him to move on, at the request of the staff, Albert replied snidely in an angry EVP, “You need suffrage!” (Haunted Fort Lauderdale)
The entity of the young Seminole girl
Her sweet little voice has been picked up on an EVP, answering a question from an investigator. Also, EVPs of her singing and chanting have been recorded as well.
Death hasn’t affected her sweet tooth! She likes to take candy out of the candy jar that sits on Frank’s desk in his office, though she can’t eat it. It is found in a pile in the attic.
The personal experiences of the staff and visitors have been backed up by hard evidence gathered by The Stranahan House official paranormal investigators, SEFG.
335 Southeast 6th Avenue
Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33301
The Stranahan House can be found in downtown Fort Lauderdale, off of East Las Olas Blvd via South Federal Hwy. / SE 4th Street on the shores of New River, just across the New River from Smoker Park. The Stranahan House is “the eastern anchor of River Walk.” River Walk is described as being a “linear waterfront park connecting Fort Lauderdale’s historic district with the cultural district.”
- HAUNTED FORT LAUDERDALE
by John Marc Carr
Haunted America publisher
- The Stranahan House Wikipedia page
- “Reclaiming the Everglades” article on everglades.fiu.edu
Our Haunted Paranormal Stories are Written by Julie Carr