119 Rose Drive
Also known as Shelby Dale House and Gilda’s Club
Built c. 1926, listed in National Register of Historic Places 2005
This Mediterranean Revival Style home was built on two lots along the Tarpon River by developer G. Frank Croissant. It is located in the Croissant Park subdivision, one of Fort Lauderdale’s most successful boom-time developments. It was designed by local architect Courtney Stewart during the heyday of the land boom in south Florida. The exterior features a smooth stucco finish over hollow tile with cast concrete roof brackets, gable vents, and decorative cartouches. The basement is made of concrete block and the structure has been reinforced with concrete columns. The multi-plane roof is covered with clay barrel tile and the two-story building has an irregular footprint. It has front-facing gable roofs on the north, south and east elevations as well as flat decks with curvilinear parapets on the south elevation. A brick chimney extends adjacent to the westernmost gable near the center of the building. It lies on a 22,061-square-foot property, which includes the 3,212-square-foot house, a pool, parking area and associated landscaping.
The home is located in a rare enclave of properties known as Rose Drive, which follows a section of the Tarpon River, just south of New River and about a mile south of the heart of downtown Fort Lauderdale. Rose Drive has retained an almost rural setting with a meandering street, mature overhanging trees, estate-like lots and a large band of well entrenched free-roaming peacocks.
The home was built for the Williams Family who operated a successful dairy business in Fort Lauderdale including the popular Williams McWilliams Ice Cream Store. The house was subsequently occupied by C. Shelby Dale, a local attorney, who, for a time, was the Fort Lauderdale City Attorney.
Today, this historic home is the setting for a unique cancer support community. Gilda’s Club offers a special place for men, women and children living with cancer. Support and networking groups, lectures and social activities offer a wide range of opportunities for anyone touched by cancer to come together so they needn’t face their experience alone. The nonprofit group is named after the late Saturday Night Live comedian Gilda Radner, who died of ovarian cancer in 1989.