As of Friday, June 30th, Robert N. Hartsell, P.A. relocated offices to a the historic First Bank of Pompano building located in the vibrant historically rich, newly redeveloped area in Old Town Pompano Beach at 61 NE 1st Street, Suite C. The land was initially purchased and developed by Pompano pioneer Lewis R. Smoak in the 1920’s, and served as the First Bank of Pompano at a time when Pompano Beach was starkly underdeveloped, and just beginning to populate.
As laid out in the book, “Pompano Beach A History of Pioneers and Progress,” written by Dan Hobby in 2010, the 1920 U.S. Census accounted for 753 individuals residing in Pompano Beach, Florida which soon increased to nearly five thousand residents within six years. This noted influx of people brought demand for both urbanization and consumerism, which eventually led to Lewis R. Smoak purchasing and developing the same land where the new office of Robert N. Hartsell, P.A. would eventually be relocated.
The urbanized building steeped in history would soon consist of numerous businesses centered upon consumption, enjoyment, and need, such as “The Florsheim Shoe,” “Billiards” and the “First Bank of Pompano.” It was only a matter of time before the First Bank of Pompano would become victim to a gang robbery led by infamous criminal, John Ashley. In November of 1923, Ashley and his gang robbed the Bank at gunpoint and fled to the everglades as a haven. Nevertheless, this newly formed downtown remained, serving as a hub of modernity for the ever-growing population of the City of Pompano Beach.
The property developed by Lewis R. Smoak provided unique business opportunities unavailable elsewhere for minorities, adding to the diverse population of the area. For example, one of the founding members of the City of Pompano Beach’s Jewish community, Abe Hirshman, opened a dry goods store named “Bon Ton”, when he migrated from New York in 1928. Additionally, on the west side of Dixie Highway, some of the City’s African American residents opened multiple small businesses, such as Tony and Luetta Alexander’s Dry Cleaning Store, which was noted as the first dry cleaning establishment in the City of Pompano Beach.
This historic building, which symbolized the beginning implementations of development and early economic earnings in the Pompano Beach area, was under threat in recent years when the City of Pompano Beach faced external pressures to demolish the structure. Despite this obstacle, Ghulam (Joe) Usman advocated for the redevelopment and improvement of the historic site. Rather than the demolition and commercialization of it, Usman purchased the building and took his concerns to the City of Pompano Beach Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA), and, with much debate, was not only given permission to preserve the building, but was also awarded a grant to aesthetically and logistically revise the historical structure.
Presently, the building has been refurbished from the inside out, retaining the historical structure, while combining it with the artistic flare of the surrounding up and coming businesses. Housed inside the historic structure, the law firm of Robert N. Hartsell, P.A. enjoys the ambiance and tasteful atmosphere with all the local amenities. A few steps away from the law firm, the restored building has welcomed an art gallery, adjacent local roast coffee cafe, a brewery and gastropub. Colorful murals surround the area, delineating the evolving and publicly engaging nature of the property that has captured the attention from the artistic members within the Pompano Beach community. The firm continues to support the local CRA Urban Redevelopment effort as another example successful of sustainable growth.
At its new location within the Historic First bank of Pompano Beach Building, Robert N. Hartsell, P.A. will continue to serve as a private public interest law firm, specializing in environmental and land use law, animal law, and Fair Housing Act emotional support animal accommodations. Please visit Hartsell-Law.com to learn more about our practice areas and our attorneys.
Our New Address:
61 NE 1st Street, Suite C
Pompano Beach, Florida 33060