Okeechobee, Florida

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Okeechobee, Florida
Aerial view of the town in 2013
Aerial view of the town in 2013
Official seal of Okeechobee, Florida
Location in Okeechobee County and the state of Florida
Location in Okeechobee County and the state of Florida
Coordinates: 27°14′38″N 80°49′17″W / 27.24389°N 80.82139°W / 27.24389; -80.82139Coordinates: 27°14′38″N 80°49′17″W / 27.24389°N 80.82139°W / 27.24389; -80.82139[1]
CountryUnited States
StateFlorida
CountyOkeechobee
Established1917[2]
Government
 • TypeCouncil-Mayor
 • MayorDowling Watford (Elected 2017)[3]
Area
 • Total4.15 sq mi (10.76 km2)
 • Land4.06 sq mi (10.50 km2)
 • Water0.10 sq mi (0.25 km2)  0.96%
Elevation26 ft (8 m)
Population
 (2020)
 • Total5,254
 • Density1,295.36/sq mi (500.20/km2)
Time zoneUTC−5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC−4 (EDT)
ZIP codes
34972-34974
Area code863
FIPS code12-51200[5]
GNIS feature ID0288073[1]
Websitehttp://www.cityofokeechobee.com
The city hall of the town.

Okeechobee (US: /kiˈbi/ OH-kee-CHOH-bee[6]) is a city in south-central Florida and the county seat of Okeechobee County, Florida, United States.[7] As of the 2020 United States Census, the city's population was 5,254.

The Lake Okeechobee area was severely damaged in the 1928 Okeechobee Hurricane, the first recorded Category 5 hurricane in the North Atlantic. This was one of the deadliest hurricanes ever to strike the US.

Okeechobee is served by the Okeechobee County Airport.

History[edit]

Okeechobee is close to the site of the Battle of Lake Okeechobee, a major battle of the Second Seminole War, fought between forces under the command of Zachary Taylor and Seminole warriors resisting forced removal to Indian Territory west of the Mississippi River in the 1830s. (This territory was later admitted as the state of Oklahoma in 1907.)

In the 1930s, Okeechobee was the commercial center for the surrounding area, shipping hundreds of train cars of winter vegetables annually. It had poultry farms, a catfish shipping plant, and a bullfrog breeding industry.[8]

The Florida guide described bullfrog breeding in the Okeechobee region:

Frog legs, or 'saddles,' bring high prices in the winter when frogs usually hibernate and are difficult to capture. Frog farmers enclose bottom lands, ponds, or swamps; as frogs live on insects, breeders strew the runs with rotting meat to attract blowflies. Some plant flowers and shrubs to lure bugs, and occasionally install electric lights to attract moths, beetles, and other nocturnal insects. A female frog lays from 10 to 30 thousand eggs a year; tadpoles appear from 60 to 90 days later, but frogs are seldom marketed before they are two years old. [9]

— Federal Writers'Project, "Part III: The Florida Loop", Florida: A Guide to the Southernmost State (1947)

Demographics[edit]

Historical population
Census Pop.
1920900
19301,79599.4%
19401,658−7.6%
19501,84911.5%
19602,94759.4%
19703,71526.1%
19804,22513.7%
19904,94317.0%
20005,3768.8%
20105,6214.6%
20205,254−6.5%
U.S. Decennial Census[10]

As of the 2020 census,[11] the city of Okeechobee had a population of 5,254 and 1,814 households.

Of the city's population, 7.2% were under 5 years old, 24.1% were under 18 years old, and 15.1% were 65 years and over. 46.5% of the population was female.

85.1% of the population was white, 8.6% was black or African American, 0.2% was American Indian or Alaska Native, 3.1% was Asian, 2.8% was two or more races, and 33.0% was Hispanic or Latino.

There were 367 veterans living in the city and 12.2% were Foreign born persons.

The median household income (in 2020 dollars) was $40,425 with a per capita income of $19,633. 18.4% of the population lived below the poverty threshold.

Geography[edit]

Okeechobee is located just north of Lake Okeechobee. Taylor Creek flows through the east side of the town. The area is served by US routes 98 and 441 and state routes 70, 700 and 15.[12]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 4.2 square miles (11 km2), of which 4.1 square miles (11 km2) is land and 0.04 square miles (0.10 km2) (0.96%) is water.

Climate[edit]

Okeechobee has a humid subtropical climate (Cfa), bordering within one degree of a tropical climate with hot, humid summers and warm, drier winters.

Climate data for Okeechobee, Florida, 1991–2020 normals, extremes 1945–2011
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 87
(31)
87
(31)
94
(34)
97
(36)
100
(38)
100
(38)
101
(38)
101
(38)
99
(37)
98
(37)
91
(33)
89
(32)
101
(38)
Average high °F (°C) 74.4
(23.6)
76.9
(24.9)
82.3
(27.9)
84.4
(29.1)
88.5
(31.4)
90.3
(32.4)
92.0
(33.3)
91.9
(33.3)
90.1
(32.3)
86.2
(30.1)
80.3
(26.8)
75.9
(24.4)
84.4
(29.1)
Daily mean °F (°C) 63.2
(17.3)
65.8
(18.8)
70.5
(21.4)
74.2
(23.4)
78.3
(25.7)
81.8
(27.7)
83.3
(28.5)
83.4
(28.6)
81.8
(27.7)
77.0
(25.0)
70.2
(21.2)
65.4
(18.6)
74.6
(23.7)
Average low °F (°C) 52.1
(11.2)
54.8
(12.7)
58.7
(14.8)
64.0
(17.8)
68.1
(20.1)
73.2
(22.9)
74.5
(23.6)
74.8
(23.8)
73.5
(23.1)
67.8
(19.9)
60.1
(15.6)
55.0
(12.8)
64.7
(18.2)
Record low °F (°C) 16
(−9)
26
(−3)
29
(−2)
37
(3)
49
(9)
54
(12)
63
(17)
65
(18)
60
(16)
41
(5)
33
(1)
20
(−7)
16
(−9)
Average precipitation inches (mm) 2.47
(63)
2.12
(54)
2.96
(75)
2.86
(73)
4.15
(105)
7.28
(185)
5.90
(150)
7.31
(186)
7.23
(184)
3.80
(97)
1.89
(48)
2.33
(59)
50.30
(1,278)
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in) 6.1 6.3 6.2 5.6 7.3 15.8 13.2 13.7 13.6 7.2 4.9 6.8 106.7
Source: NOAA[13][14]

Points of interest[edit]

On 25 December 1837, Lake Okeechobee became the site of an important battle in the Second Seminole War, fought between a number of Seminole Native American groups, the United States government, and allied militias. The battlefield is now the site of a 145-acre (0.59 km2) park, and annual reenactments.[15]

In 2016, the Okeechobee Music & Arts Festival was organized for the first time. This multi-day, multi-genre music festival attracted approximately 30,000 people to the city in its first year.[16] The annual festival has continued since then, and is planned for 2023.

Notable people[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Okeechobee, Florida
  2. ^ "History of Okeechobee County Chapter 5".
  3. ^ "Dowling Watford is new mayor of the City of Okeechobee - Lake Okeechobee News | Lake Okeechobee News". Archived from the original on 2019-01-13. Retrieved 2019-01-12.
  4. ^ "2020 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved October 31, 2021.
  5. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  6. ^ "Okeechobee". Collins Dictionary. n.d. Retrieved 24 September 2014.
  7. ^ "Okeechobee County: County Explorer". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2020-02-24.
  8. ^ Federal Writers' Project (1947). Florida: A Guide to the Southernmost State (5th ed.). New York: Oxford University Press. p. 468.
  9. ^ Federal Writers' Project (1947). Florida: A Guide to the Southernmost State (5th ed.). New York: Oxford University Press. p. 468.
  10. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Census.gov. Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  11. ^ "U.S. Census Bureau QuickFacts: Okeechobee city, Florida; United States". www.census.gov. Retrieved 15 August 2022.
  12. ^ Okeechobee, Florida, 7.5 Minute Quadrangle, USGS, 1953 (1987 rev.)
  13. ^ "NOWData - NOAA Online Weather Data". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved May 24, 2021.
  14. ^ "Summary of Monthly Normals 1991-2020". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved May 24, 2021.
  15. ^ Joe Crankshaw (January 29, 2009). "Battle of Lake Okeechobee to be re-enacted this weekend". Treasure Coast Palm. Scripps Interactive Newspapers Group.
  16. ^ "Okeechobee Music and Arts Festival draws 30,000 people".
  17. ^ "Janet P. Bonnema – Obituary". NewsZapFL. 15 May 2008. Retrieved 7 June 2017.

External links[edit]