Crudup-Hansen House, 1938

Crudup Hansen House 1938 Dania Beach Historic Properties
38 SW 5 Street

The Crudup-Hansen House was constructed in 1938 by Jake Leroy Crouch of Dania. The existing site is in good condition and has been well-maintained by its succession of owners. The foundation of the house is masonry and the principal construction of the house is frame with a horizontal clapboard exterior. The roof is shingle, as it was when originally constructed, based on early photographs of the site.

On the south, or main, façade of the house facing the street, the original decorative vertical planking with rounded tail ends that exists under the front gable and surrounding the attic vent remain in tact. The original ribbon driveway composed of two parallel concrete surfaces remains as does the original concrete walkway to the front door. The original stucco-over-masonry chimney centered along the front elevation of the house with a decorative iron s-curve wall anchor also remains intact.

As with most structures, some modifications have occurred to the house over the past 70 years. Notably, the garage on the west side of the front elevation has been closed in and converted to interior space. The change in masked by wood clapboard that matches the original exterior finish.

The original screened entry porch to the east side of the front elevation has also been closed up, as it typical of many older houses, to provide additional interior living space and the screen door replaced by a solid door with a lunette transom (door is c.1990s). A decorative iron handrail also extends up the front steps to the entry door that was not original to the structure. Additionally, although not readily visible from the street and the public view, the house has also had some additions added to the rear of the structure to further increase interior volume.

The property card from the Office of the Broward County Property Appraiser also indicates that when the building was constructed in 1938 that it had a wood-shingled roof, plastered interior walls, and hardwood floors. The roofing material today is composition (asphalt) shingles which is compatible with the former wood-shingled roofing because it is similar in appearance and because it was also a building material in use at the time of construction. Because the interior space of the house is not being considered as part of the regulated area of designation, interior modifications are not considered in this report.

Other modifications include the change of double-hung windows to metal awning windows, the removal of wooden side-shutters and replacement by metal awning shutters (c. 1950s); the addition of a low, slump-brick planter box on the south and east elevations (c. 1950s). Nevertheless, the overall character of the house, based upon the preservation of the overall look and character of the front elevation, has remained largely intact. At present, if the building was desired to be restored back to its original exterior appearance, it could be accomplished without major difficulty.

The Crudup-Hanson House is historically significant because its association with a person of local significance and for the quality of its architecture.

First, the house is significant because of its association principally with two figures who contributed to the development of the City of Dania Beach and Broward County. Edward A. Crudup (pronounced “crude-up”) with his new bride, Anne, to become the principal for Dania High School. Born in North Carolina on October 28, 1904, he had previously served as the superintendent of schools for the Town of Meigs in Thomas County, Georgia, as noted by the U.S. Census of 1930. According to the payroll records of the 1932-33 school year for the Broward County Board of Public Instruction (the School Board) that are held by the Broward County Historical Commission, he was paid $175 per month to start.

According to his son, Mr. Edward A. Crudup, Jr. (who is an attorney today in Covington, Georgia), Principal Crudup was a lifelong educator and an important figure in the small community of Dania as well as school principal and as one of the few people at the time to have received a college-level education. Principal Crudup received his bachelor’s degree from Mercer University in Macon, Georgia and his master’s degree in education from George Peabody College for Teachers (today a part of Vanderbilt University and considered one of the top- five graduate schools for education in the nation today). It was in that state that he met his wife, Anne, who was a native of Tennessee.

Principal Crudup’s son, Ed, Jr., recalls that the family enjoyed the time that they lived in Dania from 1938-1944, the latter year when his father moved back to Georgia to accept a position as Superintendent of Schools in Griffin, Georgia. In a telephone interview he recalled that although his father was the principal he never acted up. “I knew better that to get called down to the principal’s office,” he said, “because the office extended back to the house.” Crudup also recalled his father as an extremely beloved figure in early Dania.

As noted in one of the local newspapers, The South Broward Tattler, under the section “Dania News,” Mrs. Crudup was active in the local Methodist Church and its Woman’s Missionary Society and Wesley Bible Class and Principal Crudup was active in many of the activities related to his students such as the Parents- Teachers Association (PTA) and Dania Boy Scouts Troop No. 27. According to his son, he also enjoyed fishing at the swing bridge that crossed over to the beach to go on outings with the family to Greynolds Park in Dade County. With the coming of World War II and the activation of the Ft. Lauderdale Naval Air Station, his son recalls that he and other boys would go to the beach and try to collect spent cartridge shells left by the torpedo-dive bombers that flew from the nearby base and practiced over the beach and ocean. “I remember that one of the bombers flew so low on its return to base that it clipped the flagpole at my father’s school,” he said.

In 1941, Crudup is also credited with convincing former professional football player, Joseph “Phoney” Smith – a former Mercer University classmate of his – to join him on staff of Dania High School. Smith is said to have recalled that prior to coming to Dania High School the team had not won a football game in ten years and that the athletic program was very poor. Smith would continue to coach football at Dania High School, which later merged into the new South Broward High School after Crudup’s departure. Smith stayed with South Broward until his retirement in 1967 after a celebrated career coaching the football team and serving as the school’s athletic director.

Following the ownership of the Crudup family home, Lawrence O. and Clara E. Hansen purchased the property in 1944. Both Lawrence and Clara Hansen had been born in Wisconsin of Scandinavian parents. Lawrence Olaf Hansen is best known for his more than three decades of service as the Broward County Tax Assessor, an office that he was successively re-elected to and served in from 1933-1961. Then Hansens were part of the first 50 families of Danish and Scandinavian extraction from Wisconsin that settled in Dania by 1904 – when it was part of Dade County – because of the entreaties of Mr. A.C. Frost. Frost, a business man and state Legislator from Wisconsin, is considered the father of the City of Dania and moved to Florida in 1899 and settled in Modelo, the name under which the Florida East Coast Railroad first platted the town now known as the City of Dania Beach.

In November 1904, Peter Hansen, Lawrence’s father, was appointed Dania’s first tax assessor, a position later taken over by Lawrence. By the time of the 1910 census, Lawrence was listed as living with his parents and working as a farm laborer. Though his voter registration of March 15, 1916 listed Lawrence as working in real estate, at the time of draft registration in June 1917, Lawrence is still noted as working as a farmer. He is also listed as married to Clara by this time and having two children. By the time of the 1920 Census, though, Lawrence had become the city’s Tax Assessor. The Hansen family’s close ties to Mr. A.C. Frost, who controlled Dania’s politics in the early years, likely led and allowed Lawrence to succeed his father as tax assessor.
In 1920, Lawrence and his wife, Clara, and their children were still living with his parents, while his father remained involved with farming and his mother was listed as running a dry food mercantile business.

The 1926, Ft. Lauderdale City Directory indicates that Hansen was doing some real estate work in the 1920s and that he was a partner in the firm Hansen, Moore and Tubbs, Inc., with partners Messrs. F.J. Moore and H.T. Tubbs. Tubbs was one of the founding electors of the City and the time of its incorporation in 1904. He was elected as one of its first five aldermen and was serving as mayor in 1926, prior to its brief incorporation into the City of Hollywood.

Together, the three men also platted the Hansen-Moore-Tubbs subdivision on the north side of the Dania Cut-Off Canal, which was later subsumed within the Melaleuca Gardens neighborhood, though it appears that the real estate crash that followed the 1926 hurricane put an end to its successful development. A 1941 map of the area in the collection of the Broward County Historical Commission has notes indicating that is was still vacant land at that time.  Hansen also platted the Hansen-Nelson subdivision directly across the canal and this did become slowly developed and is situated today between NW 3 Street on the south, the Dania Cut-Off Canal on the north, the FEC railroad tracks on the east and the alley just west of NW 6 Avenue on the west.

Hansen seems to have had considerable business skills as well. According to an article in the Fort Lauderdale News, of March 11, 1929, Hanson was by this time on the ten of Dania’s largest and most successful tomato growers. Not  surprising, both on the January 1924 and the September 1934, Sanborn Maps of the City of Dania also show the Hansen family held interest in packing house west of Federal Highway adjacent to the Florida East Coast Railway track which would facilitate the packing and loading of his family’s crops for shipment to markets. H.T. Tubbs was Hansen’s partner in the 1924 parking houses.

The 1930 US Census for the 9th Precinct of the City of Dania, also lists Hansen as residing on North Dixie (Federal) Highway with his four children, Maynard, Arlene, Dorothy, and Joyce, and his father, who by this time was a 72-year-old widower still operating a truck farm. His wife, Clara, would later run the Dania Tourist Home in the area at 147 North Federal Highway in the late 1030s and 1940s. One member of the Dania’s prominent Frost family, Clara Frost, was noted as a lodger with the Hansens at this time as well.

The skills that Hansen acquired while serving as Dania’s tax assessor and in his local farming and real estate business interests served him well. By that time on the 1930 Census he is listed as working as one of the county’s tax assessors.  His title was likely a “deputy” tax assessor, since he served under Tax Assessor Bloxham A. Cromarti (the brother of Ivy Cromarti Stranahan), whom he would later succeed upon his election in January 1933.
In 1932, Hansen is again noted as serving as the city’s tax assessor and attending meeting of the Florida League of Municipalities in Hollywood with City Commissioner A.J. Ryan, Sr. A history of the town prepared by the former Historic Broward County Preservation Board, a state agency noted that during that same year Hansen prepared the tax roll for the city and showed that the assessed value of property for Dania amounted to $1,287,339.

By the time that Hansen retired in 1963, he was Broward County’s longest serving tax assessor, having served for 30 years. Lawrence Hansen died in  1965 and later his wife, Clara, sold the property to the Fasce family, who were antique dealers in town, for $20,000 in 1970. She died in 1978 and both are buried in Dania Memorial Cemetery, along with many other members of the City’s pioneer families.


The house was constructed by a local carpenter turned contractor, Jake Leroy Crouch. Mr. Crouch was born in Leesville, South Carolina in 1903 and moved to Dania in 1925, the year before the end on the “boom” period of urban growth in South Florida that had followed World War I. Not long after moving to Dania, Mr. Crouch met Viola Burrell, the daughter of another Dania Family and soon thereafter married her. In the 1930s, Mr. Crouch became the main carpenter for Martin Frost, one of the principal founders of Dania, for his many properties. Crouch would later be the contractor for the Frost’s Katherine Hotel (Pirates Inn) in downtown Dania, built in 1940.

Some of the Frosts, such as the Lincoln “Dink” Frost family, were neighboring property owners to the lot at 38 SW 5 Street; and it appears that the Frosts likely recommended Mr. Crouch to Principal Crudup as the contractor for his new house. Though he was a small child at the time, Ed Crudup, Jr. recalls in the 1994 letter that be believes that his father paid $8,000 for the house.

The house is significant because it is a well-preserved example of the small, plain and affordable middle-class houses that were built with more traditional styling with greater frequency in the mid to late 1930s and into the 1940s and 1950s. The style and materials used were quite distinct from the more ornamental Mediterranean Revival, Art Deco and Art Moderne houses of the 1920’s and 1930s. This style of housing, which often incorporated vernacular features of frame-built houses of Florida and the Southeast, is frequently called Minimal-Traditional Cottage. Houses similar to this, constructed with frame or stucco exteriors, and are found in the North Shore Crest Historic District in Miami-Dade County, just east of Biscayne Boulevard at NW 87 and 88 Street.

It is not surprising that this structure exhibits Southern vernacular influences. Mr. Crouch was born and raised in South Carolina and lived the rest of his life in Florida and Georgia. He became field-trained as a carpenter while working the Frost farming operations of Dania where many of the fellow employees with whom he came into contact and worked – both white and black – were fellow Southerners, frequently from northern Florida, Georgia and South Carolina. His “vocabulary” of what a house should look like and the elements that should contain and the skills with which to build such a house were, thus, transmitted largely from these experiences and influences.

Characteristic of the Minimal Traditional Cottage style, this house originally was built on a small footprint, was one-story in height, had a dominant front gable with shallow eaves, asymmetrical massing, and had a mixed use of materials for construction (masonry foundation with pierced vent openings, a stucco-over- masonry chimney, and wood clapboard siding). Traditional building details originally included wooden window shutters and the decorative s-curve wall anchor found on the exterior of the chimney. Characteristic of its Southern vernacular influences, the house originally had a covered entry porch (now enclosed) and was constructed of wood clapboard siding, which are ubiquitous on Cracker Cottages throughout Florida and the Southeast in general, rather than the more prevalent use of stucco siding for the time.

A fairly novel original design feature for the Minimal Traditional Cottage is the Crudup-Hansen House’s use of an attached and enclosed garage. It is more common for housed of this period to have either completely detached garages or attached, but open, carports or porte-cocheres. Though the garage has been enclosed, its use on a house built in 1938 remains a significant element of the original design because it predated the more common incorporation of garages into homes construction by several years. Built-in garages became more common feature of residential construction in the 1940s. It may be that the builder, Mr. Crouch, relied on the purchase and use of a pre-designed house plan by an architect, as such plans were starting to become popular at that time, but modified it for his clients budget and for local aesthetic tastes

Some of the changes that occurred to the house following its construction appear to have been made during the time of the Hansen family’s ownership. These changes include the building of a low, slump-brick planter wall and the installation of metal hurricane shutters. The materials and designs of these alterations are consistent with changed that would have been made in the 1950s during the Hansens occupation of the property.

At this time it is not clear when the porch and garage were enclosed. At the same time that the garage was enclosed, an ell was extended off the back side of the garage. These were common remodeling features of local housing, since many of the early houses were small and these alterations were simple and cost-effective solutions to creating more interior living space. Future restoration or rehabilitation of the house should consider restoring the garage and porch featured to their earlier appearance, though the rear ell extensions is compatible in size and material and could remain.

The City of Dania Beach designated this structure as a historic property in 2005 by Ordinance Number 2005-028.