11 Most Endangered Historic Places
Year Listed: 2000
Location: Okeechobee, Florida
It was Christmas Day 1837 when, during the Second Seminole War, Col. Zachary Taylor's troops clashed with the Seminole and Miccosukee warriors who fought alongside runaway slaves from Georgia and the Carolinas. Taylor's actions helped earn him a promotion to general, and the battle's influence on national politics ultimately helped Taylor win the presidency in 1848. The battle also led to the forced emigration of thousands of Seminoles to Oklahoma, hastening the end of the war and the settlement of the southeastern U.S. Though few outward signs of the battle remain, many artifacts lie buried in the saw grass swamp and pineland forest of the battlefield. Musket balls are buried in the bark of the battlefield's centuries-old cypress trees, where Indian snipers once crouched amid the hanging moss. Sprawl has crept up on the battlefield's borders. Much of the 640-acre site is slated for residential development, which could destroy the area where the Seminoles were positioned during the battle. In addition, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers may issue a permit for a housing development in the western section of the site.