A History of Wilton Manors
History of Wilton Manors, Fort Lauderdale
Wilton Manors is a town in Florida that has a population just under 15,000 residents. It officially had its start in 1925 with the aim of being a residential area of wealthier individuals. This was the dream of Edward Willingham. Slowly, but surely the town has become a bustling hub of queer, LGBTQ culture. This city island has a Pride Center, AIDS Museum that educates on the struggle of the queer community to demand humanity as a virus threatened its livelihood and a gay a mayor.
With various parts of the city, such as Highland Estates, shifting in economic purpose, this city island is working with the waves of interest in Wilton Manors. This article will take you through some of the most interesting things to do in this bustling city island. From guesthouses to beaches, Wilton Manors is surely a place to check out.
1. Stonewall Street Festival and Parade
Wilton Drive, Wilton Manors, FL 33305, USA
Easily one of the most notable events in Wilton Manors is the parade that happens every June. Stonewall, a bar in New York City, was known as the start of the modern gay rights movements after a crowd of LGBTQA people faced off against police harassment and gained international recognition on June 28, 1969. 19 years later, Broward Country, where Wilton Manors is located, made history by electing its first gay public official.
In 2014, Wilton Manor’s pride in the resistance that occurred at Stonewall led to the Stonewall Museum choosing to expand a part of their museum to include work at the Wilton Manors Gallery.
The yearly parade that is usually in June has over 100 food trucks and booths that sell food, clothes, offer free HIV/AIDS testing, or educate on safe sexual intercourse. The 2017 parade plans to have more than 30,000 people in attendance.
2. Colohatchee Park
1975 NE 15th Ave, Wilton Manors, FL 33305, USA
Named after what the town was called before it was Wilton Manor, this park is a popular destination on this city island. It is almost 9 acres and has space dedicated as a mangrove preserve. The park includes Middle River, which is beautiful to visit when the sun is high in the sky and wetlands are glistening. Residents can often be seen taking their dogs to the play area in this park. It also houses a basketball court, volleyball court and open space for birthday parties or barbeques.
Stop by here if you want to have a nice and relaxing day in the sun outside.
3. The Galleria
2414 East Sunrise Boulevard, Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33304
If you want a good binge of upscale shopping while near Wilton Manors, The Galleria is the place for you. It has over 100 stores and restaurants that can fulfill all of your needs, as well as being minutes away from the infamous Fort Lauderdale Beach. Stop into Godiva Chocolatier to pick up something for your sweetie on Valentine’s Day, or simply buy yourself a new bag.
4. Rosie’s Bar and Grill
2449 Wilton Dr, Wilton Manors, FL 33305, USA
It is mostly known as a gay friendly destination for locals and visitors, but really it should also be known for its menu. Often known for not having empty tables and always having a lively atmosphere, the menu is a delicious array of classic bar food. Google reviews recommend that you try the potato salad, the Cheeseburger Omelet or simply stop by for one of their amazing mimosas.
They host about two events a month on their Facebook page, so be sure to check it out if you ever plan to drop by for a visit.
5. World AIDS Museum and Educational Center
1201 NE 26th St. Suite 111, Wilton Manors, FL 33305
When visiting a place that’s known for a strong LGBT presence, it’s probably a good idea to learn about one of the largest struggle to have faced the community. It was the brainchild of a support group, Pozitive Attitudes, for people facing HIV, and soon expanded raising awareness as a whole about HIV and AIDS. As a safe space to unpack the history of institutional violence allowed against the gay community throughout the 1970’s, 80’s, and 90’s as mass protests demanded a medical response from the government, it is worth a visit to understand the past and the present of the struggle towards safe sex and understanding of those who are living positive.
Chris Lavin, The Rockstar of Epoxy.