Florida Historical Markers Programs - Marker: Okeechobee





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Okeechobee

PETER AND LOUISIANA RAULERSON GRAVESITE
Location:Northeast 39th Boulevard
County: Okeechobee
City: Okeechobee
Description: Peter Raulerson was born September 1, 1857, in Bartow, Florida. His family moved to Basinger in 1874 and, in 1877, Peter married Louisiana Chandler. In October 1896, Peter and Louisiana moved southeast to a region three miles north of Lake Okeechobee known as “The Bend” located along Taylor Creek. The Raulerson family was the first Euro-American settlers in this area. In April 1902, the Raulersons helped establish the first post office in the community, known as Tantie. Their daughter, Martha, served as the first postmaster, and was succeeded by Peter in June 1902. Peter established a Star Route, a privately-contracted mail route, between Tantie and Fort Drum. In October 1911, the town renamed itself Okeechobee. Later, when the City of Okeechobee incorporated on June 4, 1915, Florida Governor Park Trammel appointed Peter the first mayor. Additionally, he served as the first county commissioner from the area in St. Lucie County. Peter established the first school in 1898 and was a trustee of the first brick schoolhouse built in 1916. Peter died in 1947 at the age of 90. Louisiana died one year later. In 2000, Peter was designated as a Great Floridian and a plaque in his honor is located at the Okeechobee City Hall.
Sponsors: Okeechobee Historical Society, The Okeechobee Board of County Commissioners, The Family of Peter and Louisiana Chandler Raulerson, The Buxton-Bass Okeechobee Funeral Home
OKEECHOBEE COUNTY
Location:304 Northwest 2nd St. at County Courthouse
County: Okeechobee
City: Okeechobee
Description: Okeechobee County was formed Aug. 7, 1917, from St. Lucie, Osceola and Palm Beach Counties. Long a haunt of the Seminoles, the area saw almost no white penetration until the First Seminole War, 1835-42. Much fighting occurred in the county during the war including the Battle of Lake Okeechobee on Dec. 24, 1837. The county has become a major truck crop area. The vicious 1928 hurricane led to flood control on the Lake.
FIRST UNITED METHODIST CHURCH OF OKEECHOBEE, FLORIDA
Location:200 NW Second Street
County: Okeechobee
City: Okeechobee
Description: In May 1915, Reverend William Troutman and seven founders established the First United Methodist Church (Methodist Episcopal Church South). The first church building was completed in 1916 on land donated by the Okeechobee Company, a Henry Flagler company. The one-story, wood structure was the first church building in the city of Okeechobee. The building was moved to an adjoining lot in 1921 to make way for construction of this brick church building, whose plans were approved that same year. Seed money for the construction was raised by a William Jennings Bryan lecture and the building was completed debt free in 1924. The brick church features replacement stained glass windows installed in original "rose" window frames and a Reuter pipe organ installed in 1944. The original wood building served as the parsonage until 1969, then was used as the Heart & Hand Mission and youth building until its demolition in 1979. The church has served the community by hosting Okeechobee High School graduations, numerous weddings, funerals, music programs, and other events. The church was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2015 in celebration of the centennial of the first church building in Okeechobee.
Sponsors: First United Methodist Church of Okeechobee, Florida
TANTIE SCHOOL HOUSE #14
Location:1850 Highway 98 N
County: Okeechobee
City: Okeechobee
Description: The first school in the region north of Lake Okeechobee, known as “The Bend,” was a thatched-roof structure built around 1897. Homesteader Peter Raulerson and family did not have enough children old enough to support a school, and were forced to bring in five students from nearby Platt’s Bluff. The children and the first teacher, Dr. George M. Hubbard, boarded with the Raulersons. In 1902, the area was renamed Tantie in honor of another local schoolteacher, Tantie Huckabee. A new one-room schoolhouse was built in 1909 by Peter’s son, Lewis, for the contract price of $500 and located on the west side of Parrott Avenue. The white frame building was designated School #14 by the St. Lucie County School Board and Hubbard became the first teacher of its 36 students. Due to population growth, a one-room addition was built in 1914. A second addition was constructed in 1915, but the school was so crowded by the fall that a tent was set up for the overflow. Construction began in 1916 on the Okeechobee Public School, and classes moved to the new building. Following the purchase of School #14 by the Okeechobee Historical Society, it was relocated to this site in 1976. The society restored the building to serve as a museum.
Sponsors: The Okeechobee Historical Society, Okeechobee County School System, Okeechobee County Board of County Commissioners, Okeechobee Retired Educators Association