By: Sharon Aron Baron
Back when the City of Tamarac was celebrating their tenth anniversary, a new wave of residents joined the good life and made the city their home.
In the early 1970’s, Tamarac was known as a retirement community for active lifestyles which typically didn’t include young children. A few neighborhoods would change the 55 and over rule and establish a place for all ages. One was the Woodlands Country Club Section Two and the other two were Sunflower and Heathgate.
Tom Huben’s grandparents who shot the video seen here, lived in the Mainlands. Huben’s parents purchased a home close to them in Sunflower back in 1974.
In the video, which Tamarac Historical Society President Barbara Tarnove called invaluable for the Historical Society archives, Huben’s grandparents filmed several landmarks including Sunshine Plaza on 441 and Commercial Boulevard which was then called Grants Plaza. Also shown is the furniture company Mangurians, which Tarnove say was the one and only upscale furniture store in Broward County, as well as Levitz Furniture. Hopkins Smith which was a large appliance store, is also seen. The footage of the large stores was shot near Powerline Road and Federal Highway.
Other landmarks are seen as well, like Tubby’s Convenience store on McNab Road, what appears to be the Colony West Country Club, signs for Mainlands 14 and 16, United Methodist Church, and model homes for Sunflower.
The Sunflower and Heathgate communities are divided by a lake with Sunflower to the North and Heathgate to the South.
Huben said he has fond memories of growing up in Tamarac back in the 1970’s and the 80’s. “I was four years old when we moved here,” said Huben. “It was an open community…when the sun came up, we went outside and played until the sun went down.”
Huben enjoyed playing in the community pool all day with his friends or riding bicycles to Tamarac Park on University.
“We would go up there for baseball and soccer,” he said,“it was a bike ride away…we would also ride our bikes to elementary school.
Huben attended Tamarac Elementary School a few years after it opened, and went on to Silver Lakes Middle before graduating from J.P. Taravella High School in 1987.
After graduating from the University of Florida, he started dating his current wife, Debbie Payne, who grew up near him in Heathgate.
“I was best friends with her brother and we eventually started dating after college.”
They’ve been married for 16 years and have two daughter ages 13 and 15 and now reside in Coconut Creek where Huben works as a computer programmer.
The Historical Society’s office in Tamarac is full of photos and newspapers, but old video is a rarity. Tarnove would love to see more early video footage of Tamarac.
“I venture to guess that there are more videos that our 60,000 residents have.”
Tarnove urges anyone with old video to call 954-597-3629.
“If you have a video, call the historical society, we would love to see it.”
Here is a rundown of local landmarks on the video
.07 Grants Plaza (now Sunshine Plaza) which held Publix, Grants, Eckards
.22 Mangurians -Upscale furniture store in Broward County it was in Fort Lauderdale, near Powerline Road.
.30 Hopkins Smith – the appliance store where they sold GE appliances.
.35 Levit Furniture store around or on Powerline Road
.59 Unidentifiable sign
1:08 Colony West sign or building. It could be part of the country club
1:27 Tubby’s Convenience Store on McNab Road
1:31 United Methodist Church
1:37 Sign for Mainlands Section 14 and 16
1:40 Driving North on NW 70th ave
1:56 Model homes for Sunflower