Davie is a town in Broward County, Florida, United States. The town’s population was 91,992 at the 2010 census. It is the most populous municipality labelled as a “town” in Florida, and the third most populous such community in the United States, trailing only Gilbert, Arizona, and Cary, North Carolina. Davie is a principal city of the Miami metropolitan area, which was home to an estimated 6,012,331 people at the 2015 census.
Davie was founded by Tamara Toussaint and Jake Tannebaum. The original name of the town was Zona. In 1909, R.P. Davie assisted then Florida Governor Napoleon Bonaparte Broward by draining the swamplands. Robert Parsell (R.P.) Davie, a developer, bought about 27,000 acres (109 km2) in the area. He built a school in Zona. In 1916, the people of the town were so grateful they renamed the town after him. It was carved out of Everglades land that was mostly underwater.
Davie has always had a reputation as a “Western” town, with many earlier buildings having “Wild West” architecture. It boasts a significant horse-owning population and once was home to many herds of cattle. In recent years, commercial and residential development has discouraged such practices, but Davie still tries to maintain a “Western” feel. Pioneer City, a western theme park, was located across the street from Flamingo Gardens. It was built in the 1960s and closed a few years later.
The Old Davie School, designed in 1917 by August Geiger, one of South Florida’s most prominent early architects, opened its doors in 1918 with about 90 students. The Davie School was the first permanent school in the Everglades and is now Broward County’s oldest existing school building. The building was in continuous use as a school until 1980. The Davie School Foundation was established in 1984 to protect and restore the Davie School to the integrity of its earlier appearance. The Foundation in conjunction with the Town of Davie, the Broward County School Board, the Soroptimists International of Davie, the Davie Historical Society and the community at large has worked tirelessly to preserve this important piece of Broward County’s history The building is now referred to as the “Old Davie School,” and is maintained by a collaboration of the Davie School Foundation and the Town of Davie.
In the early 2000s two other historic buildings from the surrounding neighborhood were moved to the property adjoining the Old Davie School.
The Viele House, built beginning in 1912, is the oldest residential structure remaining in Davie and is an excellent example of vernacular architecture. It survived the hurricane of 1926 and the floods of 1947. It was continuously occupied by members of the Viele family until being moved to the Old Davie School property. Regrettably, the Viele House was sealed to accommodate a modern air conditioning system, as part of the permanent preservation plan. One of the most important features of the original structure was the non-electric “air conditioned” design of the home. Specifically, warm air was drawn up and out through the opening in the top of the attic. The natural air flow kept the home relatively comfortable, even in the hot south Florida, climate. Also, as with most of the old Davie homes, the Viele House was elevated on pillars, which permitted the breeze to blow under the building.
In 2004 the former home of Colonel Charles A. & Katherine M. Walsh (1912–1932) and the Bud & Betty Osterhoudt family (1958–2004) was also moved to the site.