It took 50 years, but Parkland’s tale has finally been told.
The first ever book on the city’s history — “The History of Parkland, Florida” — takes the reader on a nostalgic journey to the early days of the city. It also chronicles, with the help of pictures, facts and anecdotes from some of the city’s pioneer residents, the growth of the city from a rural community to a modern city that treasures its small-town feel.
Having accomplished the goal of publishing the book during the city’s yearlong 50th anniversary celebrations, there is a quiet sense of achievement in his voice as Jeff Schwartz, the president of the Parkland Historical Society, speaks. Adding to the joy is the fact that the community has responded enthusiastically to the book; more than 100 copies have been sold already.
“It took us a couple of years to do the research,” Schwartz said. “It helped that we had an archivist working with us. We wanted to come out with a book that everyone would be proud of. I think we have succeeded in doing that.”
Writing the book presented James Weiss with an opportunity to interact with many of the city’s pioneers. “I talked to a lot of people who had very, very interesting stories to tell about the history of the city. The book is 150 pages, but I have learned a lot more. It is truly an honor to be the author of the first book to be written on the history of the city. “
Harold Bockhold, who moved to Parkland in 1965 and served as mayor from 1972 to 1978, has written the book summary. “It was interesting learning from him,” said Weiss. “We also spoke to the daughter of Van Coggins, the first official mayor of the city. We found documents written by Lois Blount, wife of the founding mayor Bruce Blount. I went in wanting to understand the history of the city. It was a rewarding experience.”
The book is not the society’s first attempt to chronicle the city’s history. Since 2009, the organization has built, erected and dedicated several historical markers called the “Portals of Parklands Past.” Working on the project made writing the book easier, Weiss said.
“I have been doing research and writing about the city’s history for the last 4 to 5 years,” he said. “The idea, all along, was to put the stories together in a book. The book is out, but I have not stopped writing. I have another chapter ready.”
The book, edited by Ira Goldman and with an introduction by Mayor Michael Udine, takes the reader on a journey from the founding of the city in 1963 by Bruce Blount, who was mayor of Pompano in 1956, to recollections of life in the fledgling city. The reader will learn about the draining of the Everglades to make living on the land possible, as well as the inspiring story behind the designing and building of Liberty Park by residents.
Schwartz, who has lived in the city since 2000, says he continues to be charmed by its country-town feel. “The city has grown, but we have been able to retain the small-town feel to a great degree. Growth is inevitable; we just have to handle it correctly. I think our officials have been able to do just that.”
“Parkland is country elegant,” Weiss said. “It is a wonderful city to live in. It has a rich history, as well. We have tried to capture it as much as possible in the book.”
The book costs $15 and can be obtained by contacting the society. All the proceeds go to the society that has a long-term plan of opening a historical museum. To obtain a copy of the book, visit http://www.parklandhistoricalsociety.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Contact Jeff Schwartz at 954-295-6676.