Okeechobee, Florida

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Okeechobee, Florida
Okeechobee City Hall
Okeechobee City Hall
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
 (2010)
 • Total5,621
 • Estimate 
(2019)[5]
5,816
 • Density1,433.93/sq mi (553.71/km2)
Time zoneUTC−5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC−4 (EDT)
ZIP codes
34972-34974
Area code(s)863
FIPS code12-51200[6]
GNIS feature ID0288073[1]
Websitehttp://www.cityofokeechobee.com

Okeechobee (US: /kiˈbi/ OH-kee-CHOH-bee[7]) is a city in Okeechobee County, Florida, United States. As of the 2010 United States Census, the city's population was 5,621, reflecting an increase of 245 (+4.6%) from the 5,376 counted in the 2000 Census. It is the county seat of Okeechobee County.[8] The Lake Okeechobee area was the site of the worst effects of the 1928 Okeechobee Hurricane, the first recorded Category 5 hurricane in the North Atlantic and still 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 relocation to Oklahoma.

In the 1930s, Okeechobee was the commercial center for the surrounding area, shipping hundreds of train cars of winter vegetables annually, in addition to poultry farms, a catfish shipping plant, and a bullfrog breeding industry.[9] 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. [10]

— 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%
2019 (est.)5,816[5]3.5%
U.S. Decennial Census[11]

As of the census[6] of 2000, there were 5,376 people, 1,837 households, and 1,287 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,302.9 people per square mile (502.6/km2). There were 2,102 housing units at an average density of 509.4 per square mile (196.5/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 79.00% White, 10.81% African American, 0.50% Native American, 0.99% Asian, 0.11% Pacific Islander, 6.42% from other races, and 2.18% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 15.66% of the population.

There were 1,837 households, out of which 32.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 50.1% were married couples living together, 14.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.9% were non-families. 22.6% of all households were made up of individuals, and 11.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.70 and the average family size was 3.14.

In the city, the population was spread out, with 24.8% under the age of 18, 10.6% from 18 to 24, 25.0% from 25 to 44, 21.4% from 45 to 64, and 18.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females, there were 100.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 99.9 males. There are five elementary schools: South Elementary, Central Elementary, Seminole Elementary, Everglades Elementary, and North Elementary. There are two middle schools: Yearling Middle School, and Osceola Middle School. The Okeechobee High School consists of two facilities. There is a 9th grade center and a campus for 10th, 11th, and 12th grades. There is also a private school for grades K–12, Okeechobee Christian Academy.

The median income for a household in the city was $27,265, and the median income for a family was $30,179. Males had a median income of $24,979 versus $20,658 for females. The per capita income for the city was $12,701. About 16.5% of families and 19.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 20.5% of those under age 18 and 15.7% of those age 65 or over.

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, Okeechobee became home to the Okeechobee Music & Arts Festival. This multi-day, multi-genre music festival attracted approximately 30,000 people to the city in its first year.[16]

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. ^ https://lakeokeechobeenews.com/government/dowling-watford-new-mayor-city-okeechobee
  4. ^ "2019 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 2, 2020.
  5. ^ a b "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". United States Census Bureau. May 24, 2020. Retrieved May 27, 2020.
  6. ^ a b "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  7. ^ "Okeechobee". Collins Dictionary. n.d. Retrieved 24 September 2014.
  8. ^ "Okeechobee County: County Explorer". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2020-02-24.
  9. ^ Federal Writers' Project (1947). Florida: A Guide to the Southernmost State (5th ed.). New York: Oxford University Press. p. 468.
  10. ^ Federal Writers' Project (1947). Florida: A Guide to the Southernmost State (5th ed.). New York: Oxford University Press. p. 468.
  11. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Census.gov. Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  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]