Though the City of Pembroke Pines is the 10th largest of Florida’s 400+ municipalities, its friendly small-town feel is why so many call it home. Pembroke Pines is conveniently located in southwest Broward County with easy accessibility to primary highways and interstates, key employment centers, entertainment venues, parks, golf courses, restaurants and retail/commercial destinations.
Named “one of the best cities to live in America,” Pembroke Pines is home to over 160,000 residents. Its 28 superior parks and lush landscaping throughout neighborhoods and public places enhance the City’s natural beauty and South Florida charm. The City was named “2014’s Best City of Hispanic Entrepreneurs” by WalletHub, and was ranked by Money Magazine as #32 in the top #50 “Best Places to Live 2014” as well as being the only Florida city on that list.
Pembroke Pines, incorporated in 1960, is a safe and desirable community. The recipient of many awards including “All-America City,” Pembroke Pines is known for its commitment to the arts and culture, its outstanding schools, exciting South Florida lifestyle for all ages, cultural diversity, numerous parks and forward thinking in an ever-changing world.
Pembroke Pines was officially incorporated on January 16, 1960. The city’s name, Pembroke Pines, is traced back to Sir Edward Reed, a Member of Britain’s Parliament for the County of Pembroke in 1874, who purchased and farmed land in the 1880s which today occupies much of what is now the nearby city of Dania Beach. The road put through his land came to be known as Pembroke Road. When incorporating, the mayor (Dr. Kipnis) suggested the name Pembroke Pines because of the pine trees growing near Pembroke Road.
The first inhabitants of the area were American Indians who first appeared about 4,000 years ago. Skeletal remains of animal hunters dating back about 10,000 years were found around Broward County, showing that perhaps human beings had lived in the area even earlier.
The town started as agricultural land occupied by dairy farms and grew after World War II as servicemen were retiring, including large eastern sections that were part of the Waldrep Dairy Farm. The first two subdivisions were called Pembroke Pines. One of the first homes in the city belonged to Dr. and Mrs. Walter Smith Kipnis, built in 1956. Dr. Kipnis was also the first mayor. It was then known as the “Village of Pembroke Pines” and was incorporated into a village in 1959. Builders contested the incorporation, so a legal battle ensued concerning the boundaries of the new municipality. City services were added in the 1960s with the building of the first fire department building near North Perry Airport. However, University Drive was the western edge of habitable land for residents.
In January 1960, Pembroke Pines held another election, and the village became a city. This small property was less than a square mile and was between Hollywood Boulevard and SW 72nd Avenue, and had the Florida Turnpike to the east. Pembroke Pines sought to give citizens involvement so they organized the Pembroke Pines Civic Association. The square-mile city was unable to expand due to North Perry Airport and the South Florida State Hospital. Joseph LaCroix, a developer, had his 320 acres (1.3 km2) of land north of Pines Boulevard annexed to the city. This gave a new pathway to proceed westward. In 1977, a maximum security prison known as the Broward Correctional Institution was built in the northwestern part of town. This facility closed in 2012. In 1980, property from Flamingo Road to U.S. 27 was incorporated into Pembroke Pines, doubling the size of the city. This expansion included the property that is currently C.B. Smith Park as well as what was once the Hollywood Sportatorium and the Miami-Hollywood Motorsports Park. At this time, I-75 was extended through the city.
The city’s rapid population growth in the mid- to late 1990s was part of the effect of Hurricane Andrew in 1992. Thousands of southern Miami-Dade County residents moved northward to Broward County, many to Pembroke Pines. The resulting boom ranked the City of Pembroke Pines third in a list of “Fastest Growing Cities” in the United States in 1999. Over the years, the increase in population has caused the need for schools. In 2003, Charles W. Flanagan High School had close to 6,000 students, making it the most populated high school in Florida. In response to Broward County’s need to keep up with demands, Mayor Alex Fekete and City Manager Charles Dodge started a Charter School System. As of 2006, Pembroke Pines had the largest Charter School System in the county. The city is also home to campuses for Broward Community College and Florida International University. The city’s population has grown from 65,452 in 1990 to 157,594 in 2011.