Description - To ease tensions between the Seminole Indians and white settlers, the U.S. government established a trading post eliminating the need for the Indians to travel westward to the Gulf. Five Seminole dissidents took exception and attacked the post killing two men and leaving another wounded. With tensions heightened, the U.S. government decided to build forts every 10 miles in order to drive the Seminole from Florida and into Indian territory (Oklahoma). One such fort was Fort Chokonikla. Disease overtook the fort leaving it abandoned after one year.
As time passed, a portion of the Seminole Indians surrendered and traveled the Trail of Tears to Oklahoma; however, some fled to the Everglades. Their descendants still remain in Florida. The Second Seminole Indian War cost the U.S. government 1,500 men and $20 million. A Third Seminole Indian War arose in 1855, lasting three years. In 1936, the remaining Seminoles signed a peace treaty during President Franklin D. Roosevelt's term and as late as 1970, received over $12 million for the land that was taken during the turbulent white settlement years.
- Visitors to Paynes Creek State Historic Site will want to begin their visit at the park's visitor center. The center is located off a short spur just beyond the entrance. The center offers exhibits and an audio-visual program detailing the turbulent times between the white settlers and the Seminole Indians. Just beyond the visitor center, the site of Fort Chokonikla is all that remains of a fort that was garrisoned for only one year. Located at the foot of the canoe launch steps, two trails meander east and west. The Historic Trail travels west offering sights of a monument honoring the two trading post clerks. The Peace River Trail heads east offering a fishing opportunity along Paynes Creek and Peace River shorelines. This day use area has plenty of parking and plenty of picnic tables.
Recreation - A visitor center offers exhibits and audio-visual programs depicting the park's history. A mid-sized picnic area includes three pavilions, a one-mile canoe, fishing opportunities and several hiking opportunities. A small car-top boat launch rests along Paynes Creek just below the picnic grove.
Climate - Florida experiences mild, comfortable winters and warm to hot, humid summers. Summer Fahrenheit temperatures average in the mid to high 80's (28 - 29 Celsius). Winters are mild and dry with temperatures averaging 58 - 64 degrees Fahrenheit (14 - 18 Celsius). Precipitation for the central area averages anywhere from 56 inches to less than 52 inches per year. The region offers a great warm escape for outdoor recreation during the cold northern months. August and September are peak months of the hurricane season that lasts from June 1 through November 30.
Paynes Creek State Historic Site is located 0.5 mile east of Bowling Green.