JOURNEY THROUGH THE HISTORY & CULTURE OF WHISKEY CREEK HIDEOUT
Photograph Of: John U. Lloyd
The History of John U. Lloyd
John Umstead Lloyd was born in White Spring, a little town in north central Florida, on October 7, 1911. When he was a year old his family moved to their homestead on Old Dixie Highway, between Commercial Boulevard and Floranada Road, in Fort Lauderdale.
During a hurricane at 1926 he was injured when the wind picked up the roof of a gas station and fell on him as he was running to turn off the windmill. He successful endured a series of 14 operations, leaving him with a slight limp. When the United States entered World War II in 1941, he was able to win a commission in the U.S. Navy, even with his bad leg.
John received his LLB (Bachelor of Law) and JD (Juris Doctor) degrees from the University of Florida. His picture still hangs in the school’s hall of fame. He served as city attorney of Oakland Park, Florida, Broward County School Trustee; and was a lieutenant colonel on the staff of governor Spessard L. Holland. He entered active duty with the United State Naval Reserve as a Lieutenant and was released with the rank of Lieutenant commander. He was a former past President of the State Association of County Attorneys, and was serving on the Board of Trustee for Pune Crest School in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He was also the Broward County Attorney for nearly 35 years until his death on July 9 1975.
Due to his efforts as the Broward County Attorney, he was awarded to have John U. Lloyd State Park bear his name. It was a victory that can be looked back upon as one with far-reaching results, for today a quarter of a century after John U Lloyd recognized the need for preserving that first parcel of beach along the “Whiskey Creek”.
Whiskey Creek & Prohibition
John U Lloyd Beach State Park is rich with cultural, historical, and environmental points of significance. Scratch just below the surface, and you will find a world of fun, fascinating details that make the park one of a kind!
Bootleggers and Rum Runners – Whiskey Creek comes by its name honestly! During the prohibition Era, Whiskey Creek earned its name by offering a hiding place for small boats that was too shallow for the authorities’ vessels to pass through. Locals say you can still find the occasional antique rum or whiskey bottle settled in the creek bed.
Murf the Surf – Every great place has its fair share of drama and mystery! John Roland Murphy, aka Murf the Surf, is a champion surfer, accomplished musician, author, artist, burglar, and convicted of murder, who was involved in the biggest jewel heist in American history. After a series of run-ins’ with the law, and a little jail time, Murf the Surf found himself in deep after dumping the bodies of two accomplices in Whiskey Creek. After extensive jail time, he saw the light and was reformed! This once-upon-a-time playboy, con, murderer, and all-around talented artist, now resides in Crystal River, helping other wayward souls find a better path.
Photograph of: Murf The Smurf
Photograph of: Tequesta Indian’s in John U Lloyd Beach State Park
Tequesta Indian’s in John U Lloyd Beach State Park
The depth in history of John U. Lloyd Beach State Park goes back in time to 1,400 A.D. and Tequesta’s Indians. They lived in this region since the as a small tribe and had strong alliances with bigger tribes Jeaga, Jobe & Calusa towards the North, West and South respectively.
There is not much information about the Tequesta’s during the time as much of there history was before they made the first contact with European settlers in 1513 with Juan Ponce de Leon during his arrival to Florida coast.
It is a common belief that the Tequesta Indian’s occupied these lands as they hunted animals we can still find in the park today like sea turtles, sea turtle eggs, manatees, sharks and stingrays.
The historians attribute their extinction in the mid 18th Century among other small tribes of various creek Florida Indians due to a much larger tribe moving south from Georgia, and Alabama later called Seminoles.
The Story of the Barefoot Mailman
In the late 1800’s (Approx. 1885 to 1892), the mail was carried on foot from West Palm Beach to Miami. The barefoot mail route was so named because the carriers walked barefoot on the hard sand at the water’s edge. These men became collectively known as the Barefoot Mailmen. The beach at John U. Lloyd Beach State Park was part of the 68-mile journey.
The mail route from Palm Beach to Miami was established, and although it was a particularly long distance to walk, one mailman would walk or boat his way to and from Miami across lakes, beaches, and other various bodies of water over the course of six days. Each Monday the mailman would leave Palm Beach, row a boat to the foot of Lake Worth, and then walk five miles to the Orange Grove House of Refuge (establishment for shipwrecked sailors) in Delray Beach, where he would spend the night. The next day he would walk 25 miles, crossing the Hillsboro Inlet by row boat, then traveled on to the New River House of Refuge in Fort Lauderdale to spend the night. On the following day he would row a boat four miles, down to the south side of the New River Inlet, this is now the bridge in John U. Lloyd Beach. Then we would take to the beach again ten miles of walking, this reaching Baker’s Haulover at the head of Biscayne Bay. Twelve miles down the bay, a rowboat would take him to the post office at Miami. He would spend the night in Miami, leave the next morning and return to Palm beach by Saturday afternoon.
This was a dangerous and exhausting route, however, it did not stop school board members, county commissioners, and would-be jurors from joining the mailman on the route, each paying $5 for delaying the mail due to the extra weight in the boat and their lack of experience as hikers. United State Postal office used this route until a rail line was established in 1893 connecting Lantana and Lemon City. The post office, however, continued operating until 1954.
Photograph Of: Captain Hannibal D. Pierce, Margretta M. Pierce, Andrew W. Garnett, James (ED) Hamilton (Barefoot Mailman), Lillie E. Pierce and Charles W. Pierce
John U. Lloyd’s Role in Black History
Segregation was the law of the land through the early 1940’s, as African Americans from all over Broward County and even Palm Beach County were only allowed to swim where the Galt Ocean Mile in North Ft.
Lauderdale now stands. Even though areas along the beach North of Sunrise Road in Ft. Lauderdale were considered ‘open territories’, it was fairly common that African Americans were told to move to another area away from the whites. There was no mixing.
Dr. Von D. Mizell remains the most significant African-American figure in the life of Ft. Lauderdale and Broward County
After developers bought the Galt Ocean Mile in the early 1950s, African Americans were told they could no longer swim there. The county made promises to supply a black beach. African American petitioned for the creation of a beach for Negro citizens in 1946, a time when blacks were denied access to the area’s public beaches. Over the next seven years, they kept the pressure on until authorities finally relented and directed Lloyd to find a new location for the colored beach, which he did.
The identified spot was a swampy, out-of-the-way site just south of Port Everglades. It was inaccessible by road and could only be reached by ferryboat. In 1954, the colored beach officially opened, but for the next seven years, African Americans pressured authorities to build a road to the beach.
“I had to prove to them that the water wasn’t going to turn black.”- Dr. Mizell
Dr. Von D. Mizell remains the most significant African-American figure in the life of Ft. Lauderdale and Broward County. As a pioneer, he fearlessly confronted racism he encountered, making momentous strides for African Americans in medicine, education, politics, law enforcement, housing and parks and recreation.
However, on July 4, 1961, a small group of African Americans led by Dr. Mizell and civil rights leader Eula Johnson marched to the white-only beach near Las Olas Boulevard and staged a wade-in protest. The grouped walked through a group of police officers and went straight into the water. Dr. Mizell is famously quoted for saying afterwards, “ We had to prove to them that the water wasn’t going to turn black.”
Photograph of: Las Olas Boulevard Protest July 4th 1961
This first wave of the historical “wade-in” demonstrations was designed to integrate the area’s racially segregated beaches. Soon after county officials suddenly agreed that a road to the colored beach in Dania Beach needed to be built, presumably to discourage blacks from coming to Fort Lauderdale’s white-only beaches. This road would become North Ocean Drive that stretches the length of John U. Lloyd Beach State Park.