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Florida Guide > Florida History

Florida Chickees

Chickees were homes built by the Seminole Indians Chickee was the Seminole name for home. These simple homes were created to be built fast when the Seminoles were fleeing from the U. S. troops. They were built from easily availble materials and could be erected quickly.

Chickees were built from timber and palmetto roofs and they would have been less than 10 feet wide and 16 feet long This meant that a whole Seminole family would have lived in less space than a single room for us. They were started by erecting poles and driving in posts in between. The floors were raised and made of poles covered with leaves and bark. The roof was woven from palmetto leaves and woukld slope so the rain could sluice off. ; palmetto is a palm tree. No walls were constructed but in bad weather they would hang canvas to make a makeshift wall. As time went on, they started to construct an upstairs floor that was used for sleeping.

Of course, given Floridas warm climate, much of the Native Americans lives would be spent outside and indeed much of their time would be spent keeping body and soul together.

The chikees would be arranged around a village square where there would be a meeting building and a sports field. Native Americans very much relied on each other for gathering food, protecting each other and socialising.

Once the hostilities ended, the Sminoles were able to build more substantial homes and the Chikees largely died out. However, Seminoles still construct them for commercial and private use; also many south Florida homes are built in the style of a chikee.

If you have ever visited The Everglades then you will be interested to know that there are chikees to rent. There are 46 campsites to choose from and they are based in what is known as the Back Country and they would certainly give you a back in time experience. These are quite primitive but do include a chemical loo. There would be no better way to understand a little about the Native Americans life and times. You would certainly appreciate your modern villa after such a night away.

If the thought of staying in a Chickee interests you for a night away from your luxurious rental home then call 305 242 7700. This takes you through to The Everglades Park headquarters who will be happy to help you through the booking in process.

We aim to provide accurate and useful information, but if you feel anything provided here is not accurate or out of date, please email us with the address of the page concerned and any comments so we can amend as necessary.

Page added on: 6 October 2009
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