Amid the modern images of Davie captured in “A Living History,” a Broward 100 mural by artist Andrew Reid, you’ll find a young immigrant family huddled together, as if they just arrived in a new country.
They represent many of the families who came from Panama to help build the canals in Davie.
In fact, the town of Davie was first called “Zona” because it reminded them of the canal zone in Panama.
“The land had been Everglades. It was about six inches under water when they drained. It was very healthy rich soil,” says Barbara McCall, a volunteer at the Old Davie Historical Museum. “The Davie canal was the transportation in and out of there.”
The drainage project started in 1905 and more pioneers starting coming to Zona in 1908. Ads were placed in national and international newspapers promoting the sale of land for $2 an acre.
“We had people come from all over the world,” McCall says.
In 1914, the town changed its name from Zona to Davie. A year later, Davie became part of Broward County.
“It was basically a farm town, not a rodeo town and Andrew has pretty much captured that in his picture,” McCall says.