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Ole Indian Trading Post and Museum - Chokoloskee Florida

On the western edge of the Everglades and deep in the heart of the 10,000 Islands, Chokoloskee Island has been called one of Florida's last frontiers. Here at Historic Smallwood Store you will learn the story of the pioneers and settlers who tamed this vast wilderness.

Human habitation of Chokoloskee Island began approximately 2,000 years ago when a mound building people began altering the landscape with mounds and canals. Subsequent influxes of Native Americans expanded the mounds and fished, hunted and farmed the rich fertile soil. Moving south from conflict in North Florida and Georgia, the Seminole Indians were the last native peoples to make the Everglades their home.

White settlement in Chokoloskee Bay began near the end of the nineteenth century. Plume, hide, and fur hunters were the first to visit. They were quickly followed by families who combined seasonal hunting, fishing, and farming to make a living like their native predecessors.

TED SMALLWOOD (Photograph of Ted Smallwood and Chief Charlie Tigertail, 1928)
Settlement brought a need for goods and mail and that need was met by the Smallwood Store. Established in 1906, this Trading Post served a remote area, buying hides, furs and farm produce and providing the goods required.

Ted Smallwood's store was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974. It remained open and active until 1982. When the doors were shut, 90% of the original goods remained in the store. In the last few years Ted's granddaughter has reopened the store as a museum, and today it serves as a time capsule of Florida pioneer history. The center section of the building remains as Ted would have known it.

The hide room has been turned into exhibit space, telling the history of the pioneers of southwest Florida.

Come take a walk back in time. Experience the unique history of the 10,000 Islands.


CLICK HERE for more information...

Pictures and Information provided by Ted Smallwood's Store, Inc.