Guests took an unusual step back in time on Saturday, November 14 during Living History Day, a combination of two events typically held on separate days: The Fall Muster at Loxahatchee River Battlefield Park, focused on battlefield education, and the Pioneer Family Farmstead at Riverbend Park, focused on pioneers and homesteaders education. Both events were free to the public.
The Fall Muster transported participants back to 1838, while the Pioneer Family Farmstead event recreated a typical day on the farmstead during the late 1800s to 1920s. Combining both events into one larger event provided an ideal opportunity for visitors to fully experience “Old Florida” through education about battles that took place at the parks, as well as how the settlers used the land after those battles.
When guests stepped foot on the period farmstead in Riverbend Park, they were welcomed to live folk music, a sugar cane press, sawmill demonstrations and gained an appreciation and understanding of how pioneers spent their time on the land. Afterward, they boarded shuttles and were taken to adjacent Loxahatchee River Battlefield Park where they experienced period army and Seminole camps, re-enactors, guest speakers, historical preservationists, weapon demonstrations, battlefield tours and gained and understanding and appreciation of how the militia and Seminoles lived and learned about the wars between them.
“The point behind the event and the parks is for people to come and have a feel of the history and experience how Old Florida use to be,” said John Welch, Riverbend Park naturalist.
Since acquiring the land, the Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department’s goal has been to preserve the natural, archaeological, and cultural significance of these properties and to provide access and education to the public. The Loxahatchee River, the first nationally designated wild and scenic river in Florida, passes through both parks, contributing to the environmental importance. The parks are also officially recognized as sites of two Second Seminole War Battles, and were home to pioneers and farmsteaders after those battles.
Riverbend Park and Loxahatchee River Battlefield Park are owned and operated by the Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department and are located at 9060 Indiantown Road in Jupiter, Florida. One of the core services of the Parks and Recreation Department is to promote stewardship of natural, archaeological and cultural sites. For more opportunities, visit www.pbcparks.com.