Las Olas Boulevard
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 alive with bars, nightclubs, bridal stores, shops, boutiques, art galleries, restaurants and the Riverside Hotel—this is referred to as the "Riverfront" area of downtown Fort Lauderdale. The name "Las Olas" means "The Waves" in Spanish. All but the westernmost fourteen blocks are also signed as 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 attraction for locals and visitors, being ideally situated close to Fort Lauderdale beach, Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport and Port Everglades. It is known as a dining and shopping destination.
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, noted as an actor who played Tarzan and invented the signature yell.
Wayne Huizenga, noted as the CEO of Waste Management, Inc, Blockbuster Video and AutoNation.
David L Cook, noted as a Christian music star and entrepreneur.
Connie Francis, noted as an 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, noted as the former Vice-President of the United States of America.
Lee Majors, noted actor who played The Six Million Dollar Man and former husband to Farrah Fawcett.
Sonny and Cher, noted singers and actors.
Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, noted television and movie stars. Stars of I Love Lucy fame.
Gloria Vanderbilt, noted designer and socialite.
Frank and Ivy Stranahan. Regarded as 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.