Ormond Beach, Florida: Invincible Chief Tomokie

40-ft sculpture of legendary Timucuan chief, sacred drink cup usurper and warrior, who couldn't be stopped until lovely maiden Oleeta took aim. 1955 statue by artist Fred Dana Marsh.

Tomoka State Park

Address:
2099 N. Beach St., Ormond Beach, FL
Directions:
Tomoka State Park. On Old Dixie Hwy/N. Beach St., three miles north of Ormond Beach or a mile south of Pine Tree Drive. Turn east into the park, bear left, then curve sharply to the right so that you're heading south. Drive south around a quarter-mile, then turn left to the parking area and the statue.
Hours:
Daily 8 am - sunset. (Call to verify)
Phone:
386-676-4050
Admission:
Admission and Parking fee.
RA Rates:
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Chief Tomokie. Invincible Chief Tomokie

The 40 foot sculpture of "Chief Tomokie" was created in 1955 by artist Fred Dana Marsh. Chief Tomokie was a legendary chief of Timucuan warriors who failed to believe in mystical powers of a sacred spring, according to author Marian S. Tomblin. Tomokie's drinking of the sacred water from the spring enraged other Indians and a war ensued between Tomokie's warriors and those who believed the sacred water should not be touched by man.

But the water seemed to make Tomokie invincible as his enemies' arrows seemingly could not harm him. Then a lovely Indian princess named Oleeta took aim at Tomokie and released an arrow that fatally wounded the massive warrior. Grabbing the sacred cup from Tomokie's hand, Oleeta herself was critically wounded by an arrow; her fellow tribes members were so moved by her death that they wiped out the remaining members of Tomokie's war party.

The statue has taken almost as much of a beating as the poor Indians in the legend; the bows and arrows once held by the Indian warriors are gone as is Tomokie's spear. The figure of Oleeta, directly beneath Tomokie, is badly damaged and unrecognizable. But still the sculpture has an unmistakable presence.

According to the State Archives, the statue was created by Marsh in 1955, the reflecting pool (now dry) added in 1956 and the sculpture was dedicated in 1957. Marsh probably chose the legend of Tomokie as the subject for his sculpture because the site of the park is the location of the former Timucuan village of Nocoroco.

[Rick Kilby, 01/09/2010]

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