PAYNES CREEK HISTORIC STATE PARK
During the 1840s, tensions between the settlers and Seminole Indians prompted authorities to establish a trading post in Florida?s interior, away from settlements. Built in early 1849, the post was attacked and destroyed by renegade Indians that summer. In late 1849 Fort Chokonikla was built nearby as the first outpost in a chain of forts established to control the Seminoles. The Seminoles never attacked the fort, but the Army was nearly defeated by mosquitoes. Today, nature enthusiasts and hikers can enjoy walking along trails through the park?s natural areas. Paynes Creek and the adjoining Peace River provide opportunities for canoeing, kayaking, and fishing. A museum at the visitor center depicts the lives of Florida?s Seminole Indians and pioneers during the 19th century. The visitor center is open 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. daily. Located one-half mile southeast of Bowling Green on Lake Branch Road.
During the 1840?s, tensions between the settlers and Seminoles continued to create concern that conflicts would become serious. Federal authorities, trying to reduce or eliminate the problems, decided to establish a trading post in Florida?s interior. A location was chosen that was both easy for the Seminoles to reach and would reduce their contact with settlers. The store was constructed in the spring of 1849, but in July of that same year, was attacked and destroyed by five renegade Indians. Reports of the two store clerks being killed and the store being burned made the U.S. Army develop plans to control the Seminoles with a chain of fortifications across Florida.
This line of outposts across the northern boundary of the Seminole reservation was intended to protect the settlers to the north and provide bases for the Army to pursue and harass Seminoles until they would surrender. Work began on Fort Chokonikla on October 26, 1849. Located on high ground near the former trading post, it was first in the chain. The Seminoles did not want war and the fort never came under attack. Casualties, however, were high and the Army was nearly defeated by disease-carrying mosquitoes.