Okeechobee Historical Society holds open house

Posted 5/22/23

The Okeechobee Historical Society held an open house at their “newest” museum, the 100-year-old Primitive Baptist Historical Site on Third Avenue. 

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Okeechobee Historical Society holds open house


OKEECHOBEE — The Okeechobee Historical Society held an open house at their “newest” museum, the 100-year-old Primitive Baptist Historical Site on Third Avenue on May 20.  The building was acquired by the City of Okeechobee in spring of 2022 for the purpose of preserving it. The City and Historical Society entered into a partnership in order to develop it into a museum preserving history for our community.  With an overarching theme of “God and Country”, the open house was to preview what the Society had in mind.

After having received a grant from the Florida Humanities Council in order to create banners that displayed the history of various churches in the sanctuary, the open house was part of the plan.  In 1937, a WPA project was conducted in our community where a gentleman came to town and interviewed all of the congregations of active churches. From those interviews, which were found on the Florida Memories Project, we were able to gather the earlier histories. A committee formed of Kay McCool, Jeanne Enfinger and Magi Cable then took on the task of researching and updating those histories. The end product was 12 banners depicting the histories of First Missionary Baptist of Dean’s Court, First Baptist Church of Okeechobee, First United Methodist Church, Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Church of Our Saviour, Okeechobee Primitive Baptist, St. Stephens Methodist AME, Mt. Olive Missionary Baptist, Okeechobee Church of God, Okeechobee Presbyterian, Seventh Day Adventist and Grace Brethren. Many members of those congregations came out to view the banners on Saturday.

The ”Country” part of the theme is much more literal in that the Fellowship Hall has been converted into a museum of agriculture in Okeechobee. The room has been arranged in specific zones to highlight different aspects of agriculture important to Okeechobee.  Included are displays on farming, fishing, cattle, dairy, turpentine and lumber as well as a large display of antique farm equipment. 

As an added bonus, the City Centennial Banners that were developed back in 2015 are also on display which gives a history timeline of the decades of Okeechobee history.

The museum is not quite finished as we are busy renovating this 100 year building but the Society is hopeful that we will be able to have it open during our “Saturdays at the Museums” events during the season.  We also hope to host meetings, tour groups, humanities speakers,  and maybe a wedding or two in this historic venue in the near future.

For more details or to donate items please contact us at okeechobeehistoricalsociety@gmail.com.

Okeechobee Historical Society, Primitive Baptist Church Museum