The Wilton Manors Historical Society was originally formed in 1975. The Society was re-launched as an independent entity in 2002 following periods of activity and dormancy. On November 15, 2002, the State of Florida formally recognized us as an incorporated non-profit organization. In 2011 the Historical Society was approved by the Internal Revenue Service as a 501(c)(3) charitable organization.
Our Mission Statement starts off with the fact that we are "To collect, preserve and interpret Wilton Manors history and promote public awareness and appreciation for the rich past of the Island City." The “Mission” link in the menu bar above will take you to the entire Mission Statement.
In recent years, the Society has felt that it was not enough to simply "preserve and interpret" the past. We actively promote Wilton Manors as a current and vibrant city with “small town” charm. The Historical Society also maintains a focus on the future. We have an excellent working relationship with the City and try to provide both perspective and vision to help the City with initiatives to enhance the quality of life in Wilton Manors
In partnership with the City, we have essentially completed the project to restore and repurpose the ground floor of the mid-1920’s Willingham Carriage House at Richardson Historic Park and Nature Preserve. We’ve worked with the City to add additional venue amenities to both the Carriage House grounds and the Manor House to enhance the utilization of the property. And, we look forward to working with the City to obtain funding to restore and repurpose the second floor of the Carriage House.
We have published a history book, Wilton Manors: From Farming Community to Urban Village, which won the Stuart B. McIver Historian's Award from the Broward County Historical Commission in 2012.
To "preserve and interpret" the past, we continue to interview long-time residents and gain access to "old homes" to document Wilton Manors life in the 1940's and 1950's
We have begun sorting and categorizing our archival documents in preparation for digitization--and ultimately, on-line access. The first major outcome of that effort can be found in the “Newspapers” section of our “Research Library” archive (see link in the menu bar above). There you will find nearly 150 complete editions and over 125 individual columns from weekly publications focusing on life in Wilton Manors during the early-to-later 1950s. All the documents are searchable by word/phrase or date.
The Society is staffed entirely by volunteers--who annually contribute hundreds of service hours in the pursuit of the above activities. We have a seven-member Board of Directors elected by the general membership and we are supported by membership dues, donations, program fees, fund raising events, and government and foundation funding.
Our Board of Directors usually meet in the City Hall Commission Chambers on the third Thursday of the month (except July and August) at 7:00p.m. Our Annual Meeting for the general membership is held in January at the Richardson Historic Park Manor House. All are welcome to attend any of these sessions.