Paynes Creek Historic State Park


888 Lake Branch Road
Bowling Green FL 33834








8 a.m. until one hour before sunset, 365 days a year
$3 per vehicle

The site of Fort Chokonikla, with indoor and outdoor visitors center exhibits depicting the lives of Florida’s Seminoles and pioneers during the mid-1800s. Nature enthusiasts can enjoy walking along easy scenic trails through the park’s natural areas. This park is part of the Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail. Camping, canoeing, kayaking, and fishing are also available.

When the Second Seminole War ended in 1842, the federal Armed Occupation Act was passed. It let Seminole War veterans apply for a 160-acre homestead in Florida. At the same time, a reservation was created for the Seminoles in southwest Florida. Trade with Seminoles had been limited by the US government, so as to prevent them from obtaining weapons to use in further conflict with white settlers. To compensate, white-run trading stores were permitted on the reservation's outskirts letting the Seminole obtain supplies and luxuries. The Kennedy-Darling Trading Post was constructed along the Charlo-popka-hatchee-chee (Little Trout-Eating Creek in Seminole), west of Peas Creek (later known as the Peace River), near present-day Bowling Green.  

Ignoring the terms of the treaty with the Seminoles, and their land rights, white settlers moved further southward encroaching on the reservation. Though Seminole leader, Billy Bowlegs, was reconciled to this, others of his people were not. On July 17, 1849,  store management and clerk Captain George Payne and Dempsey Whidden were killed by renegades identified as Seminoles, following which the store and everything in it was burned.

page information credit: Florida State Parks, Wikimedia Commons, 
photos from the sources listed above, as well as publicly posted online sites with thanks to the contributors