The heritage of the Seminole tribe of Florida began long before the first pioneers moved into central Florida. In fact, Osceola County itself is named after the famous Seminole warrior, Osceola. After the Seminole wars of the 1800s, the U.S. government abandoned efforts to relocate remaining Seminoles, and the Seminoles moved farther south through Florida, traveling through central Florida. In their settlements, they built Chickee structures and lived off the Florida land. As time progressed, they began hunting deer, otters, alligators, and other wildlife to supply the hide market and growing millinery trade for wealthy buyers in the North.
The Chickee structures they lived in were made from bald cypress logs and palmetto thatched roofs. The sides were left open and the rafters of the Chickee structures were used for storage of surplus food. Some of the Chickees' floors were raised off the ground to keep wild hogs (and other wildlife) from getting into the sleeping houses at night.
At the new Pioneer Village at Shingle Creek Regional Park, members of the Seminole tribe of Florida built replica Chickee structures on site, bringing history to life in Osceola County. Just another reason why visiting the new Pioneer Village at Shingle Creek Regional Park this fall is something you need to add to your must-do list!
Some fun facts about Chickee structures:
- The Seminole dwelling, or Chickee, is an open, round-log wood frame with a thatched gable roof.
- There is an elevated platform roughly 3 feet off the ground within the Chickee.
- Upright palmetto logs, unsplit and undressed, support the roof.
- The thatched palmetto leaves are water tight, durable and resist violent wind.
- The waterways like Shingle Creek were used for fishing, transportation and safety.