Fort Armstrong Gazette

May 2010


President’s Message – Steve Rinck

It has been said that the only constant in the universe is change. Changes are certainly coming to the Dade Battlefield Historic State Park and to a number of procedures of the Dade Battlefield Society.

Park Manager Robert Baker is retiring by the end of May, after many years of service at 14 sites in the Florida Park System.  Bob is an outstanding administrator whose calm demeanor, coupled with wisdom gained through first-hand experiences, has greatly contributed to the professional operation of our park and Society.  Bob, his wife and ‘best volunteer”, Betsy, will be spending the next few years criss-crossing our nation in their motor home.  We wish them the best in the many years yet to come.

The Society will be tackling major issues concerning the funding of the battle reenactment, making major decisions as to how we manage dues collection, product sales, visitor parking, vendor contracting, powder distribution, advertising and more.  As your President, I earnestly ask you to please make any suggestions you may have to improve our procedures so that we continue to provide high levels of support for all park operations.





2010 Board Meetings     6:30 p.m., Dade’s Lodge

                             ANY INTERESTED PERSON IS WELCOME!

May 11            July 13             September 14              November 9

June 8              August 10       October 12                  December 14 


Society Goals

Each year, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection requires all citizen support organizations (of which Dade Battlefield Society is one) to declare their goals for the future.  It is important to understand these goals in order to determine how to personally assist in achieving them.  Each issue of The Fort Armstrong Gazette will describe some of the 14 goals.

            Goal 5:  Enhance the authenticity of the reenactment.

Goal 6: Increase the number of reenactor participants.

            Goal 7: Encourage reenactment participation of The Seminole Tribe of Florida.

            Goal 8: Add activities in order to increase interest in the reenactment.

For several years, Society members have heard from an increasing number of people that our reenactment portrayals are the most realistic of all Seminole Wars events.  We are proud to have  more period sutlers and demonstrators as well as new battle reenactors annually.

Individuals have inquired about specific activities, such as tomahawk throws and muzzle loadings, that affect family decisions to attend the reenactment.  We will be adding more safe and entertaining interactive opportunities in 2011.  Please contact us via website, mail, or our Facebook Fan page with your ideas on achieving these and other Society goals.


May Member Profile:  Jean McNary

Dade Battlefield Society Member Profiles, a new feature of The Fort Armstrong Gazette, begins with this issue.


IMG_3094.jpgWhile returning to college in Ohio in 1969, Jean McNary saw a sign referencing Dade Battlefield Park. She decided to compose a paper on a topic about which she had not previously heard.  Little did she know that, less than ten years later, she would be married to the park ranger and living at the site of the conflict about which she had written.  Although she changed residences in 1979, Jean soon became a park volunteer and a member of the Dade Battlefield Society since its inception in 1987.  Her most recent office was president, a role she fulfilled from 2003 to 2009.

Her dedication has led Jean to participate in many significant contributions in improving the park and its programs, including expanding the reenactment from 1 to 2 days, producing a popular battle video via state grant, and increasing the authenticity of the annual event with the addition of period sutlers, demonstrators, and performers.  She is most proud of her involvement in educating the public about the important connections among the Second Seminole War and American history as a whole.  This effort is augmented by her extensive experience as a teacher of Florida History and as a board member of The Florida Historical Society.  We look forward to continuing benefits to the park and its programs as a result of Jean McNary’s outstanding service.


World War II Days - Saturday, August 7, 2010

World War II Commemorative Day marks the end of the most widespread armed conflict in history and celebrates both military and popular civilian culture in the 1939-1945 era.  Participating will be uniformed reenactors, representing both Allied and Axis forces from all major theaters of war, who will demonstrate weaponry and other items common to the times.  Military vehicles and equipment, swing music, living history interpreters and actual WW II veterans are expected to be present, all on the site of an actual wartime encampment.


Swap Meet - A Correction

For a variety of thoughtful considerations, it has been decided to move the date of our fifth annual swap meet.  While conflicts may arise with any such move, we hope that those who are interested in this event will be able to attend.

5th Annual SWAP MEET  -  SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 13, 2010.


From the Park Manager- Robert Baker

The waterline replacement is now complete with all facilities tied in. A new ADA water fountain and the old fountains have enough pressure to actually drink from them.  The bridge repair project has finally started and should be completed with a month.

There are now 3 volunteer RV sites with 50 Amp service and full hook-ups. The site adjacent to the shop will only be used as a temporary site to accommodate volunteers or full-time staff in transit.

Wildflowers this spring were spectacular and we were able to add the ladies tresses orchid and green fly orchid to the Dade plant list.

This will be my last message as the manager of the Dade Battlefield Historic State Park. I am retiring from the Florida Park service on May 31st. My wife, Betsy, Psycho-Kitty, (the cat) and I will be going on our next great adventure, exploring North America full-time in our Winnebago. Even though we have only been at Dade Battlefield for 18 months, we have realized the warmth and friendship of George, Chuck and all the volunteers and we thank you for all you have done to make us feel welcome and the park programs the successes that they are.

Day Flower below and Lyre-leaf sage on the left are just two of the beauties that were out this spring.

 Liar Leaf Sage 2Day Flower


2009 TDC Grant Final Report

The 2009 TDC Final Grant Report was presented to the Sumter County Tourist Development Council on April 22.  The grant was awarded to the Dade Battlefield Society last September to assist with promoting the event. The Society was given $15,000.00 and we used this entire amount to advertise in magazines and major newspapers in Florida. TDC board members complemented us for the thorough report. The Society Board has agreed to apply for another grant for the next reenactment on January 1 & 2, 2011.


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