There's a mystique that remains unique to the Seminole Inn that brings back a sense of an Old Florida that simply must be experienced.
Settled by the Seminole early in the nineteenth century, the dry lands of the area offered ideal hunting and camping grounds. Indiantown is just fourteen miles south of the site of the last battle of the Seminole Wars. White settlers followed in the 1890's and during World War I the Corps of Engineers dug the St. Lucie Canal, running from Lake Okeechobee through the town to the east coast. But it was not until the arrival of Baltimore banker S. Davies Warfield in the 1920's that Indiantown was put on the map.
Warfield planned to make Indiantown the southern headquarters of his Seaboard Airline Railroad (now known as Seaboard Coastline), then stretching from Central Florida to West Palm Beach. He planned Indiantown as a "model city" and laid out streets, built a school and constructed houses along with a railroad station. He also built the Seminole Inn, which he envisioned as a focal point for his newly created community. His niece Wallis Warfield Simpson, later the Duchess of Windsor, was its most famous guest. On May 31, 2006, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places.
Today, the Inn retains much of the feel and look of the past, including the large colorful murals along the hallways depicting life in the "old Florida" of the Seminole people.
Recently, a Florida historical marker, located right next to the Seminole Inn at SW Warfield Blvd. and SW Jefferson Ave., was dedicated to Betty Mae Tiger Jumper.
Born in 1923, Betty Mae Tiger Jumper was the first Chairwoman of the Seminole Tribe of Florida, elected in 1967. She spent her early life with her parents, Ada Tiger and Abe Partan, at the Seminole camp in Indiantown. Tribal medicine men threatened to put Jumper to death because her father was white. "I was a half breed. An evil one," she explained. To protect their children, the family relocated to the reservation in Dania. Segregation laws barred Seminoles from attending Florida schools. At age 14 Jumper was sent to an Indian boarding school in Cherokee, North Carolina. She was the first Florida Seminole to learn to read and write English, and the first to graduate from high school. She graduated from nursing school in Oklahoma in 1946, and spent 40 years improving and modernizing healthcare for the Seminole community. She co-founded the Seminole News in 1956, the Tribe's first newspaper. In 1994, Florida State University awarded Jumper an honorary doctorate in Humane Letters. A gifted Tribal storyteller, Jumper authored And With the Wagon Came God's Word, Legends of the Seminole, and a memoir with Patsy West, A Seminole Legend. She died in 2011, at age 88, Betty Mae Tiger Jumper walked on, leaving an enduring legacy.
page information credit: Seminole Inn, Authentic Florida.com, WayMarking.com, SeminoleTribune.com
photos from the sources listed above, as well as publicly posted online sites with thanks to the contributors