Volume 3 Number 15
April 10, 2006

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Okeechobee Battlefield
Okeechobee, Florida
Period illustration, above right.
Credit: Architecture & Historic Conservancy

Reenactment of the battle.
Above left.

Okeechobee Battlefield Okeechobee, Florida
Looking east
Credit: Architecture & Historic Conservancy


 

OKEECHOBEE BATTLEFIELD TO BE PRESERVED

The debate may continue over who won the Battle of Lake Okeechobee, but the war was won recently when the governor and Florida Cabinet agreed to purchase a portion of the battlefield, designated as one of 11 most endangered historic sites in the United States.  After 169 years, the Seminole Tribe and many others who have been fighting to preserve the site can enjoy an historic victory.

Gov. Jeb Bush and the Florida Cabinet unanimously agreed to spend $3.2 million to purchase 145.5 acres where Seminole and Miccosukee Indians and runaway slaves fought hand-to-hand with the U.S. Army on Christmas Day in 1837.

"The Battle of Okeechobee was the largest battle of the Second Seminole Indian War, and purchasing this land is an important step in preserving Florida history,''  said CFO Tom Gallagher after the Cabinet vote.

Preservationists have been worried that rapid growth in the city of Okeechobee would turn the site into a subdivision or shopping center. It is already situated between a community of homes and a commercial area.

The battlefield will become a state park. The Rowland Foundation is selling the site to the state through the Florida Forever program, which is design
ed to preserve endangered lands.

Future
plans include living history events such as reenactments of the battle, and public access to the park.  The site will serve as an educational resource for the community and a heritage destination for tourists.