Broward County Historical Commission Celebrates 40th Annual Pioneer Day Event at Historic Oakland Park Elementary School

 Historical Commission Chair Betty Cobb.

Historical Commission Chair Betty Cobb.

Pioneers William and Claire Crawford.

Pioneers William G. Crawford, Jr. and Pioneer Claire Marie Crawford.

DATE: November 8, 2012
Maria Munoz

The Broward County Historical Commission celebrated four decades of honoring Broward County pioneers at its 40th Annual Pioneer Day Event, which was held on October 20, 2012. The Broward County Board of County Commissioners and the Broward County Historical Commission joined the City of Oakland Park and the Oakland Park Historical Society in co-sponsoring this event.

The celebration was held at the historic Oakland Park Elementary School. The Pioneer Recognition Ceremony was presented in its beautifully restored auditorium. The Oakland Park Elementary School is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is the oldest operating school in Broward County. This lovely venue was made available by the Broward County School Board and school principal Joanne Krisel.

Over 250 people attended the free event. Prior to the ceremony, Pioneers and guests were treated to refreshments provided outside on a gorgeous afternoon. A violinist provided beautiful music which added great ambiance to the afternoon gathering, while a Good Humor man provided ice cream from his cart. The City of Oakland Park wishes to thank their contributors to Pioneer Day including By Word of Mouth Restaurant and Caterer, Home Depot, Marge’s Garden Restaurant, Pearl Paint, Peter Pan Diner, Publix and Sal’s Towing.

The Master of Ceremonies was the Chair of the Broward County Historical Commission, Betty Cobb. The program opened with the Oakland Park Elementary School Children’s Choir singing an arrangement of God Bless America. Speakers included Robert E. Cannon, Director of the Broward County Libraries Division, Anne E. Sallee, Mayor of Oakland Park, Helen Landers, Broward County Historian, and Marcia Norris, President of the Oakland Park Historical Society.

The Broward County Historical Commission is pleased to announce that 29 men and women were selected as Broward County Pioneers. They joined a distinguished group of over 2,000 other Pioneers the Commission has honored since the beginning of the program. The following is the list of those individuals who were recognized and the historical groups or municipalities who selected them for this honor.

Pioneer/Nominated By
Dr. Claire M. Crawford, Broward County Historical Commission
William G. Crawford, Jr., Broward County Historical Commission
Ira B. Rubinstein, Oakland Park Historical Society
Andrew E. Buchta, Oakland Park Historical Society
Dennis A. Buchta, Oakland Park Historical Society
Merceda Edwards Dykes, Oakland Park Historical Society
Robert A. McCarty, Jr., Oakland Park Historical Society
Robert W. Holmes, Black Historical Society
James L. Jones, Black Historical Society
Darcia B. Drago, Broward County Retired Educators’ Association
Bob Fleischer, City of Cooper City
Vincent J. Costa, Coral Springs Historical Advisory Committee
Sandra L. Costa, Coral Springs Historical Advisory Committee
Richard A. McCall, Davie Historical Society
Paul H. Wunderlich, Davie Historical Society
Martha L. Butler, Deerfield Beach Historical Society
Margaret Haynie Birch, Elders Council African-American Research Library & Cultural Center
Samuel F. Morrison, Fort Lauderdale Historical Society
Teresa B. Sjogren, Fort Lauderdale Historical Society
Jerry A. Dobak, City of Hallandale Beach
Maudie L. James, City of Hallandale Beach
Robert C. Scott, Naval Air Station Fort Lauderdale Historical Association
Charles W. Byron, Parkland Historical Society
Herman Freedman, Pembroke Pines Museum
Dr. Helen R. Ackerman, Plantation Historical Society
Emma R. Sheaffer, Southwest Ranches Historical Society
Simon Lewenberg, City of Sunrise
Dorothy K. Willis, Tamarac Historical Society
Virginia Pearce, Wilton Manors Historical Society

It is the mission of the Broward County Historical Commission to recognize, protect and support the interests of the communities of Broward County and to serve as an advisory board to the Broward County Board of County Commissioners. Its archives, research facilities and exhibit gallery are located at the Broward County Historical Commission Building, formerly the West Side Grade School, at 301 Harmon (S.W. 13th) Avenue in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Their website is

The award-winning Broward County Libraries Division, founded in 1974, is the ninth largest library system in the nation by population served and one of the busiest, with more than 9 million walk-in customers visiting its 40 locations annually. The library has more than 3.4 million items and 2,000 computers for public use and offers hundreds of events and programs to meet the needs of the Broward County's diverse community. The library continues its strong emphasis on literacy, after-school programs and electronic access. In addition to our comprehensive Web site,, which provides information about library activities, links to online catalogs, reference information and databases, customers can visit BCL WoW – Broward County Library Without Walls – for free eBooks, music, audiobooks, apps and more. Customers may also follow Libraries on Facebook and Twitter. Libraries Division also administers the services, programs, collections and exhibits of the Historical Commission.

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