Help save Okeechobee’s first home

OKEECHOBEE — The Okeechobee Historical Society is very excited to report that the community has been given the opportunity to obtain the “most historic” site in Okeechobee County and that is the original log cabin of our first settlers, Peter and Louisiana Chandler Raulerson.

In 1896 Peter Raulerson, a cattleman, moved his family from Basinger to this area known as the “Bend,” so he could have more land to pasture his herd. They lived in a barn until 1899 when the log cabin was built with the help of friends and families from established communities of Fort Basinger and Fort Drum. The log cabin is safely encased in a more modern home, where the logs are surrounded by paneling.

In order for the Historical Society to accomplish this once-in-a-lifetime event, they are launching a major fundraising goal of $55,000. This amount allows them to purchase the actual site where the Raulerson family homesteaded which is on the corner of S.W. Second Avenue and Ninth Street, and pay for closing costs.

In a time where many of the locals lament the loss of many historic structures, here is a chance to prevent another lost site. The society would like to preserve this site as a museum, open to the public and schools for viewing and special events by appointment.

They envision using the current living room as an entry way/display room and the Florida room, on the side of the home, as a place for groups to gather for presentations. They plan to remove the paneling to expose the logs and stage it to look like a cabin in the late 1800s.

Peter Raulerson and his family provided many “firsts” for this community. The first settler, the first child born in the area, the first school, the first cattleman, the first mayor, the first postal service, the first businessmen and the list can go on and on. So now, the community has the opportunity to save the “first home site.”

The Historical Society will appreciate any amount. Every dollar brings them one step closer to the goal. The timeline is to fundraise until the end of this year. Any donation to the Okeechobee Historical Society is tax deductible. Donations, made payable to Okeechobee Historical Society, may be mailed to the society at P.O. Box 973, Okeechobee, FL 34973.

Some of the opportunities are naming rights to the log rooms, donor plaques in recognition of substantial donations and the “Adopt A Log” promotion, where with a $500 donation your name will be affixed to one of the wooden logs that make up the structure of the cabin.

For more information, you may call the Historical Society museum at 863-763-4344 to leave a message, email to or stop by the booth in Flagler Park during Labor Day and the Christmas Festival.

The Log Cabin Committee of the Historical Society include: Magi Cable, Bill Hendry, Kay McCool, Zelda Mixon, Greg Thogersen, Dowling Watford and Betty & Sonny Williamson.

Peter Raulerson’s cabin, built in 1899. It was the first home in Okeechobee. Photo courtesy Okeechobee Historical Society.

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