A New Downtown Destination Emerges

In the early 1900s, Las Olas made its mark in Fort Lauderdale as a thoroughfare between the mainland and the beach. However, it was more than 70 years ago that Las Olas Boulevard became an American icon.

The charming yet upscale destination that we know today — filled with boutiques, restaurants and art galleries — started as a vision of the enterprising Wells brothers, Preston and John. In the 1930s, these Chicago businessmen fell in love with the warm and sunny winters of Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The Wells brothers soon launched The Las Olas Company, which still owns Riverside Hotel and many Las Olas retail buildings.

Back then, well-known politicians, well-heeled tourists and Hollywood celebrities immediately became fans of Las Olas Boulevard and Riverside Hotel — and a new cosmopolitan crop of fans strolls the casually sophisticated promenade every day.

Today, The Riverside Hotel presides over the heart of downtown Fort Lauderdale and Las Olas Boulevard with a combination of traditional and new accommodations and the most spectacular views of the grown up city including the New River.

Here are some pictures from our proud past we thought you would enjoy...