It would be easy to drive past Okeechobee Battlefield Historic State Park. Nestled in the sleepy town of Taylor Creek, a few hundred yards from the northern shore of Lake Okeechobee, this National Historic Landmark has no signs at its main entrance. On nearby U.S. 98-441, a marker points observant drivers in the right direction.
The historically minded will want to find this quiet park where the Battle of Lake Okeechobee was fought. On Christmas Day 1837, Col. Zachary Taylor led Army soldiers of the 1st, 4th and 6th Infantry Regiments and Missouri volunteers to fight Seminole warriors resisting forced reservation relocation.
The Seminoles proved too savvy; none were captured by the troops. Twenty-eight soldiers were killed and 111 were wounded, a sign in the park says. The death count for the Seminoles isn't known.
Today there is little evidence of the blood that was shed as part of the Second Seminole War, save the marker erected in 1939 by the descendants of a Missouri volunteer colonel and the Florida State Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution.
The park is largely overgrown, but a thatched roof pavilion and picnic table provide visitors an escape from the Florida sun. Here one can sit with a broad view of the park's fields and woods, and imagine that Christmas Day of 1837.