During the Civil War the area was used for raising cattle that were shipped to the Confederate Army or traded with Cuba for supplies. After the war, cattle became the main industry and this continues to the present day. In 1969, the state of Florida purchased 5,030 acres of land from the William Zipperer estate for use as a state park. Lake Kissimmee State Park was opened to the public in August 1977. An additional 900 acres was purchased in 1997 and added to the park's western boundary.
The Ranger Station is the first place many visitors stop and meet park staff. Lake Kissimmee State Park's original Ranger Station, shown here in 1987, is still in use today. It has gone through a complete makeover, including inside remodeling.
The marina has always been a favorite jumping-off spot for park visitors, shown here enjoying boating, fishing and canoeing in the mid-1980s. Twenty years later, the marina has a new look, but the fun is the same. Longer running docks have replaced the finger docks. Boardwalks allow for easier access and a fish cleaning station makes it easier to parepare the day's catch for pan-frying.
Keeping up with the times helps a park stay in tune with its visitors - young and old. During the last few decades, the playground and picnic areas have been updated with a new playground and revamped pavilions, making the picnic area more user-friendly.
Visitors to Lake Kissimmee have enjoyed stepping back in time with the park's long-running living history program about 1876 Florida cow hunters. This picture shows the Cow Camp as it looked in the early 1980s, when the area on all sides of the cow camp was used as pasture land. Today, the pastures are located primarily to the east of the cow camp and the open areas seen in this photo are woods.