In the late 1910’s until 1926, South Florida experienced its first real estate boom. Many cities we know today like Coral Gables, Opa Locka, Miami Springs, Hollywood and… Wilton Manors are children of that real estate craze. Excessive speculation and a devastating hurricane on September 18, 1926 put an end to it.

Edward J. “Ned” Willingham was the Father of Wilton Manors (“Wilton” stands for “Willingham’s Town or may be also WILlingham/FelTON the latter being his wife’s maiden name). The “Manors” refer to 2 entry towers on the northeastern tip of Wilton Drive (today’s Five Points).

Wilton Drive was envisioned as a grandiose artery of mansions by Ned Willingham. The collpase of the real estate market in 1926 put an end to his dreams. The Richardson Estate at the south entrance of Wilton Drive is the oldest structure in town and dates back those years.

The depression years of the 1930’s and subsequent World War II kept things stagnant for two decades. Then after World War II the population exploded once again. As many as 25% of all US troops trained at one point in time in South Florida during the war and many fell in love with its beauty and climate and returned to settle with their family after the War.

In 1947, Wilton Manors incorporated as a Village but did not include “Highland Estate” which wanted to be a separate entity. By 1952, the city reincorporated as a city and this time it included Highland Estates.

While there are some properties built before 1950, the vast majority of homes in Wilton Manors were built between 1950 and 1969. By then the city was built out.

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The “Manor Grove” complex was built in the early 1970’s on a former golf course (part of the former Richardson’ property).

In the 1980 and 1990’s the city stagnated and fell in somewhat disrepair but by the late 1990’s and since the 21st century started, the city has experienced an amazing renaissance, partly due to a strong influx of a gay population that spent a lot of money renovating properties.

If you look at Wilton Drive in 2005 and then again in 2010 after the collapse of the real estate market of 2008 which wiped out approx. 50% of real estate values (the first big bust since 1926), you would not believe this area went through a huge drop in prices. By 2010, the City had a brand new City Hall, a brand new Police Station, the “Island City lofts condos” as well as the “Gables” complex which is a rental community. Right now, the “Metropolitan” is being built across the train tracks as a luxury rental community where once was a run down trailer park that was the backdrop of a Demi Moore movie from 1996.

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Today Wilton Manors is a thriving city with a strong identity where the private sector (individuals and corporate buyers) is investing a lot of money renovating older properties or redeveloping those who could not be saved.




Wilton-Manors-Homes-For-Sale / Your Wilton Manors Real Estate Expert Olivier