Historic Properties

A City Rich in History

Dania Beach is Broward County's First City. The historic roots of the first city in Broward County date back to the 1880’s, when much of what is now the FEC railroad line was laid through the area. In recognition of this transportation advantage, a pioneer and developer named W. C. Valentine planned a settlement called Modello and 12 Danish families moved from Chicago to settle there in 1898-1899. Three years later, 30 Danes were recruited from Oconto, Wisconsin to colonize the settlement, and the first home was built by A.C. Frost, for whom a park is now named. Frost built the first general store in 1902 and became Modello’s first postmaster. He also built and donated the Towns first two schools. The following year, Dania Methodist Church was erected, becoming the City’s first place of worship.

When the Town was incorporated in November 1904, its 35 residents, most of whom were Danes, changed the name to Dania. By 1912, Dania was a thriving community of almost 1200 people and continued to grow through the 1920’s when the City suffered tremendous setbacks. In 1925, the Dania Hotel caught on fire, and the Bank of Dania failed due to embezzlers in the Bank’s Atlanta home office. The ‘26 hurricane with its 200 mile-per-hour winds devastated the Town, destroying the first church building completely, and subsequent damage prompted residents to vote for annexation to the neighboring City of Hollywood. De-annexation came in 1927. 

Dania Beach Historic Properties

The City of Dania Beach was originally incorporated in 1904 and is the oldest city in Broward County.  The City’s historic preservation ordinance promotes the identification, evaluation, rehabilitation, and adaptive use of the City’s historic and architectural heritage.  The City’s historic preservation guidelines are located in Chapter 8 Buildings, Article IX, entitled Historic Preservation, in the City’s Code of Ordinances.

What Is Historic Preservation?

Historic preservation is often defined as the process of identifying, protecting, and enhancing buildings, places, and objects of historical and cultural significance.  This process embraces many phases including the survey and evaluation of historical, architectural, and cultural resources in an area; the development of planning and legal measures to protect these resources; the identification of public and private funding sources applicable to preservation projects; the design for the restoration, rehabilitation, and/or adaptive use of historic structures; and the ongoing maintenance of these resources.

Why Is Historic Preservation Important?

Historic resources contribute to the economic vitality, tourism experience, and quality of life in Florida as well as generating $4.2 billion in economic impact annually. 
Dania Beach Historic Seal from 2002 to 2018
Dania Beach Historic Seal before the name change from Dania to Dania Beach in 1998
Dania Beach Historic Seal 1

Economic Benefits Of Historic Preservation


The historic rehabilitation tax credit is the nation's largest federal incentive promoting urban and rural revitalization through private investment in reusing historic buildings. The credit allows the owner of a certified historic structure to receive a federal income tax credit equal to 20% of the amount spent on qualified rehabilitation costs. There is also a 10% credit for older, non-historic buildings. Since it was enacted in 1976, the credit has been widely used as an effective tool for transforming vacant and underutilized buildings into safe, decent, and – in many cases – affordable places to live and do business.


  • Division of Historical Resources
    Provides grants for the identification, excavation, protection and rehabilitation (including acquisition and bricks and mortar) of historic buildings and archaeological sites. Funds are also available for history museums and Main Street programs.
  • Division of Cultural Affairs  
    Provides grants for cultural and arts projects.  Projects include the rehabilitation of historic buildings slated for use as a cultural or arts center and education programming.
  • Department of Community Affairs 
    Most of the funding programs are catered towards local government for community revitalization and development. There is also information for individuals regarding disaster management and response.

Additional information about the benefits of historic preservation can be found in the links below.