EXTRA Cotanchobee Fort Brooke Park

LOCATION:  601 Old Water Street, Tampa, FL 33674

LANDSCAPE DESIGN: Hardeman Kempton & Associates, Inc.


SIZE: 4.5 acres

ORIGINAL FUNCTION: Indigenous Occupation (pre-1500s)

CURRENT USE: Public Park

PHOTO CREDITS:  Randy Van Duinen, Architectural Photographer


The park name is taken from historic names used for the site. Cotanchobee is a Native American term meaning ‘where big water meets the land’, and celebrates the indigenous occupation of the land prior to invasion by the Spanish in the 1500’s. Federal forces renamed the site as Fort Brooke in the early 1800’s. Thus both are utilized in the park name.

Cotanchobee Fort Brooke Park is a dynamic downtown location, stretching from the restored shoreline of Garrison Channel, the front lawn for the St. Pete Times Forum, and the Tampa Bay History Center.  The new Tampa Riverwalk runs along the south edge of the Park. The Park includes Heroes Plaza, the Cenotaph, an interactive fountain and playground area, pier, canoe launch, and restroom building. The Seminole memorial was relocated to the waters edge.

The Cenotaph, a public art piece, commemorates the historic occupation of the site by the native American Indians. Twelve plaque memorials were relocated with four new plaques describing the colorful history of the site’s occupation, including a map and the muster roll for those who were ultimately relocated to out of state reservations. Coordination with the Seminole Tribe resulted in the meaningful layout of the space. A new interactive fountain and play area are also located just outside of the Tampa Bay History Center.

A unique entrance plaza at the eastern end of the park is Heroes Plaza, with glass panels celebrating the dedication and honoring the ultimate sacrifice given by local law enforcement, fire and rescue personnel, and military forces. Smaller glass panels pay tribute to the humanitarian efforts and diversity of heroes, including women during World War II and Buffalo Soldiers.