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J. W. "Bill" Stevens Collection

Identifier: 1994.25

Content Description

***ROCHELLE WILL EDIT***The J. W. "Bill" Stevens Collection contains photographs, correspondence, printed material and clippings documenting James Stevens career as mayor of Oakland Park, Florida as well as his tenure as state senator. Personal photographs and correspondence are also included in the collection.


  • circa 1940-1986


Conditions Governing Access

The J. W. "Bill" Stevens Collection is open for research.

Biographical / Historical

J. W. (James Williams) "Bill" Stevens was born on Dember 12, 1917 to Vene Juanita and Homer Clair Stevens. He was raised in Grand Rapids, MI, and moved to Fort Lauderdale, Broward County, Florida in 1925. While there he attended Oakland Park Elementary School and graduated from Miami High School in 1936. From 1941 to 1967, the Stevens family owned and operated five locations of the Stevens Bakery in Fort Lauderdale. Upon graduation, he attended Wittenberg University in Springfield, OH where he met his wife Jeanne Freeburger. He later enlisted to serve in the United States army serving as Captain in the 77th Infantry Division, Quartermaster Section, in Manila and Japan during World War II. After the war in 1946, Stevens moved his family to Oakland Park where they raised their daughters, Barbara and Lynn. In 1946 Stevens won a seat on the Oakland Park City Council, and ran for the Broward County Commission. He served as that City's Mayor from 1955 to 1962. Stevens served 16 years on the Broward County Commission and was nicknamed "Mr. Republican." In 1980, Stevens served a two year term on the Florida Senate where he along with State Representative Linda Cox (D-Ft. Lauderdale), passed the Trauma Center Designation bill. Stevens also held other positions throughout his life which included president of the Florida State association of County Commissioners, president appointee for the National Highway and Motor Vehicle Safety Committee, Blue Ribbon Transportation Committee. Stevens was also in the Electoral College for the election of president Eisenhower. He was the Assistant City Manager of Deerfield Beach, Florida from 1983-1986. Stevens also continued to pursue higher education and in 1984 received his Bachelor of Science Degree in Public Administration from Nova University in Davie, Florida. He became City Manager of Parkland, Broward County, Florida from 1986-1988.Outside of politics and education, Stevens was a member of the J.D. Hawkins Lodge in Oakland Park, and served as grandmaster of the 33rd Scottish Rite. J. W. "Bill" Stevens died on March 19, 2010, in Fort Walton Beach, FL.


11 Hollinger Box

Language of Materials


Immediate Source of Acquisition

The J. W. "Bill" Stevens Collection was given to Broward County Historical Archives from the Mississippi Museum of History who received the collection from Barbara Fortner, daughter of J. W. "Bill" Stevens. Barbara Fortner also donated additional materials directly to the Broward County Historical Archives.

J. W. "Bill" Stevens Collection
In Progress
Rochelle T. Pienn
August 2022
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for uncoded script

Repository Details

Part of the Broward County Historical Archives Repository

100 S Andrews Avenue
Fort Lauderdale Florida 33301 United States