The Miami area was inhabited for thousands of years by indigenous cultures. The Tequestas occupied the area for a thousand years before encountering Europeans. An Indian village of hundreds of people dating to 500-600 B.C. was located at the mouth of the Miami River.
In 1566 the explorer, Pedro Menéndez de Avilés, claimed it for Spain. A Spanish mission was constructed one year later in 1567. Spain and Great Britain alternatively “controlled” Florida, and Spain ceded it to the United States in 1821. In 1836, the US built Fort Dallas as part of its development of the Florida Territory and attempt to suppress and remove the Seminole. The Miami area subsequently became a site of fighting during the Second Seminole War.
Miami is noted as “the only major city in the United States conceived by a woman, Julia Tuttle”, a local citrus grower and a wealthy Cleveland native. The Miami area was better known as “Biscayne Bay Country” in the early years of its growth. In the late 19th century, reports described the area as a promising wilderness. The area was also characterized as “one of the finest building sites in Florida.” The Great Freeze of 1894–95 hastened Miami’s growth, as the crops of the Miami area were the only ones in Florida that survived. Julia Tuttle subsequently convinced Henry Flagler, a railroad tycoon, to expand his Florida East Coast Railway to the region, for which she became known as “the mother of Miami.” Miami was officially incorporated as a city on July 28, 1896 with a population of just over 300. It was named for the nearby Miami River, derived from Mayaimi, the historic name of Lake Okeechobee.
During the early 20th century, northerners were attracted to the city, and Miami prospered during the 1920s with an increase in population and infrastructure. The collapse of the Florida land boom of the 1920s, the 1926 Miami Hurricane, and the Great Depression in the 1930s slowed development. When World War II began, Miami, well-situated on the southern coast of Florida, became a base for US defense against German submarines. The war brought an increase in Miami’s population; by 1940, 172,172 people lived in the city.
After Fidel Castro rose to power in Cuba in 1959, many wealthy Cubans sought refuge in Miami, further increasing the population. The city developed businesses and cultural amenities as part of the New South. In the 1980s and 1990s, South Florida weathered social problems related to drug wars, immigration from Haiti and Latin America, and the widespread destruction of Hurricane Andrew. Racial and cultural tensions were sometimes sparked, but the city developed in the latter half of the 20th century as a major international, financial, and cultural center. It is the second-largest U.S. city (after El Paso, Texas) with a Spanish-speaking majority, and the largest city with a Cuban-American plurality.
Miami and its metropolitan area grew from just over one thousand residents to nearly five and a half million residents in just 110 years (1896–2006). The city’s nickname, The Magic City, comes from this rapid growth. Winter visitors remarked that the city grew so much from one year to the next that it was like magic.
Signed by Edward C. Romfh, cashier and W.H. Spitzer president.
Signed by Edward C. Romfh, cashier and W.H. Spitzer president
Signed by G.R. Romfh, cashier; E.C. Romfh, president
The Charter number 6370 was issued to the First National Bank Of Miami in August 1902 and stopped printing money in 1935. The First National Bank Of Miami issued 16 different types and denominations of national currency
Old Fort Dallas
Old Fort Dallas was established in 1836 as an United States military post and cantonment, and not as a fortification, although it is more than probable that there was a stockade surrounding it in its early days. It was named in honor of Commodore Alex. James Dallas, U. S. N., then in command of the naval forces in the West Indies.
The first commandant was Lieutenant F. M. Powell, who remained in command about two years. From 1836 to 1857 it was occupied much of the time by troops, but was not a military reservation. Quite a number of buildings were erected, and today only two remain. In addition to these, there were a dozen comfortable dwellings besides the slave quarters, stables, and a blacksmith forge.
During the Civil War the place was occupied by refugees from many places, and at the close of the war by a hand of desperadoes. Judah P. Benjamin, of the Confederate camp, made his escape to Cuba through Indian River and Bay Biscayne. In describing the trip, he refers to the rough treatment he received at the hands of occupants of the fort, but, he added that it was a beautiful and picturesque spot, with its white houses and fine parade ground. The interior of the fort has been improved, and care has been taken to preserve the exterior unchanged.
Some of the buildings were razed to the ground and removed to other locations, and in 1872, while the property was occupied by Dr. Harris, all the remaining buildings except the two still standing were burned, the fire originating accidentally in the house occupied by Dr. Harris.
The old barracks are still untouched save by the hand of time, and the parade ground is more beautiful than ever, aided by the hand of the landscape gardener.
Source: Excerpt from “Old Fort Dallas” Official Directory to the City of Miami and Nearby Towns, 1904.
The Fort Dallas National Bank of Miami was issued a charter number of 6774 on May 6, 1903 and soon fell into receivership four years later on July 5, 1907. As of this date there are no notes reported to exist on this chartered bank, which only issued 1902 Red Seal notes.
View old Florida National Bank TV commercial: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YLuYXZCKBjo
A charter number of 13570 was issued to the Florida National Bank & Trust Co. at Miami in August of 1931, a member of the Alfred I. DuPont chain of Florida National Banks, and to this day the bank is open, serving the people of the Miami area. Notes were all signed by Leonard A. Usina, cashier and Benjamin S. Weathers, president.
- Browse Videos of Florida’s Historical Towns and Banks
- Florida Currency Museum Open Showcasing The William Youngerman Collection
- State of Florida Civil War Currency
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- 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