The first Paleo-indians reached the central Florida area near the end of the last ice age, as they followed big game south. As the ice melted and sea levels rose, these Native Americans ended up staying and thrived on the peninsula for thousands of years. By the time the first Spanish conquistadors arrived, there were over 250,000 Native Americans living on the peninsula. Some of these first early tribes were the Tocobago, Timucua, and the Calusa. In 1527, a Spanish map showed a settlement near the Rio de la Paz. The arrival of the Spanish turned out to be disastrous to these Native American tribes. Within 150 years, the majority of the pre-Columbian Native American peoples of Florida had been wiped out. Those who had not succumbed to diseases such as Small Pox or Yellow Fever were either killed or enslaved. Little is left of these first Native Americans cultures in Polk County except for scant archaeological records including a few personal artifacts and shell mounds. Eventually the remnants of these tribes would merge with Creek Indians who arrived from the north and become the Seminole Indian tribe.
Florida became a state in 1845, and Polk County was established in 1861. After the American Civil War, the county seat was established southeast of Lakeland in Bartow. While most of the early history of Polk County centered around the two cities of Bartow and Fort Meade, eventually people entered the areas in northern Polk County and began settling in the areas which became Lakeland.
Lakeland was first settled in the 1870s and began to develop as the rail lines reached the area in 1884. It was incorporated 1 January 1885. The town was founded by Abraham Munn (a resident of Louisville, Kentucky), who purchased 80 acres (320,000 m2) of land in what is now downtown Lakeland in 1882 and platted the land for the town in 1884. Among the names considered (and rejected) for the town by its residents were Munnville, Red Bug and Rome City.
In April 1898, the Spanish-American War began and started a crucial point in Lakeland’s development. While the war ended quickly and had little impact on most of the nation, the Florida peninsula was used as a launch point for the war and the then small town of Lakeland would house over 9,000 troops.
The First National Bank of Lakeland was reorganized on June 9, 1910 and issued a charter three days later on June 12, 1910. The Depression left Florida banks in a downward spiral in which the First Nation could not recover and failed on May 15, 1929. Only 8 large size notes are known on this bank which failed before small size currency could be issued.
Organized by Alfred I. DuPont, The Florida National Bank At Lakeland was issued a charter on September 3, 1929, at a time when many banks were closing.
- Browse Videos of Florida’s Historical Towns and Banks
- Florida Currency Museum Open Showcasing The William Youngerman Collection
- State of Florida Civil War Currency
- Recent Acquisitions
- Mr. and Mrs. Youngerman attend the inagural “The Value of Money” exhibit
Notes & Currency
- 18__ Fernandina $3 Obsolete Note
- 1882 $50 Jacksonville Note Charter #3869
- 1902 $10 Punta Gorda Note Charter #10512
- 1882 $5 Palatka Note Charter #3223
- 1902 $5 Key West Note Charter #7942