When Florida became a U.S. territory and settlers began moving here, the Native Americans were forced to move south. By the 1830s, significant conflict had arisen between Seminoles and white settlers. The Seminole practice of giving refuge to fugitive slaves added further cause for conflict. With the signing of the treaty of Payne's Landing in 1832, some chiefs agreed to move to territory west of the Mississippi River. Widespread opposition to this treaty, led by a Seminole chief named Osceola, resulted in the outbreak of the Second Seminole War. In December 1835, 108 U.S. troops and officers were marching from Fort Brooke (Tampa) to reinforce Fort King (Ocala). One hundred miles from Fort Brooke, they were attacked by 180 Seminole warriors. All but three of the soldiers were killed. In 1921, the state legislature appropriated funds for the preservation of the battle site as a memorial.
The Dade Battlefield Historic State Park commemorates the 1835 battle which began the Second Seminole War, the longest and bloodiest of the three Seminole Wars in Florida. In the early 1920s, the state of Florida acquired the site to preserve the battlefield and provide opportunities for interpretation and quiet reflection. This photograph, taken in the 1940s, shows the battlefield as it appeared from the 1920s until the 1950s when statuary, such as the pelican shown in the photograph, was removed to provide a more historically accurate view of the battlefield.
Three concrete and stone markers, constructed in the 1920s, commemorate the three U.S. officers killed in the battle: Major Dade, Captain Fraser and Lieutenant Mudge. The monuments are located in the approximate location where each of these men fell.
This historic bandstand reflects the recreational use of a earlier era. It is now a popular place for weddings and family reunions.
The recreation building was one of several buildings built in the park in the late 1950s to provide additional opportunities for recreation and interpretation in the park. This photograph shows the building shortly after its completion in 1957.