The original inhabitants of the Pensacola Bay area were Native American peoples. At the time of European contact, a Muskogean-speaking tribe known to the Spanish as the Pensacola lived in the region. This name was not recorded until 1677, but the tribe appear to be the source of the name “Pensacola” for the bay and thence the city. Creek people, also Muskogean-speaking, came regularly from present-day southern Alabama to trade, so the peoples were part of a broader regional and even continental network of relations.
The best-known Pensacola Culture site in terms of archeology is the Bottle Creek site, a large site located 59 miles west of Pensacola north of Mobile, Alabama. This site has at least 18 large earthwork mounds; five of which are arranged around a central plaza. Its main occupation was from 1250CE to 1550. It was a ceremonial center for the Pensacola people, and a gateway to their society. This site would have had easy access by a dugout canoe, the main mode of transportation used by the Pensacola.
The area’s written recorded history begins in the 16th century, with documentation by Spanish explorers who were the first Europeans to reach the area. The expeditions of Pánfilo de Narváez in 1528 and Hernando de Soto in 1539 both visited Pensacola Bay, calling it the Bay of Ochuse.
In 1559, Tristán de Luna y Arellano landed with over 1,400 people on 11 ships from VeraCruz, Mexico. The expedition was to establish an outpost, called by de Luna Ochuse, as a base for Spanish efforts to colonize Santa Elena (present-day Parris Island, South Carolina.) But, the colony was decimated by a hurricane on September 19, 1559, which killed hundreds, sank five ships, grounded a caravel, and ruined supplies. The 1,000 survivors divided to relocate the settlement, but due to famine and attacks by the Pensacola, they abandoned their effort in 1561. About 240 people sailed to Santa Elena, but another storm hit there. Survivors abandoned the settlement and sailed to Cuba.The remaining 50 at Pensacola were taken back to Mexico. The Viceroy’s advisers concluded northwest Florida was too dangerous to settle, a view which stood for 135 years.
The Bank of Pensacola was opened on November 28, 1833 and elected Walter Gregory for President while James Catlin was named as cashier. There were three different issues of currency released by the bank. The final announcement of the banks failure came in January of 1843. The Bank of Pensacola Issued currency dated March 10, 1840, April and May, and currency that was never tendered and payable on the Bank of the United States. James Catlin signed as Cashier on all notes of the Bank of Pensacola. The $1; $2; and $3 notes of this series are the only notes of the Bank on which it is possible to find the signature of each of the bank’s presidents who signed notes. These me were: Walter Gregory, William B. Rochester, Thomas M. Blount, and Hanson Kelly who served as “President Pro Tem.” during the absence of President Blount.
The First set of issued fractional currency by the City of Pensacola had the engraved dates of October 20, 1837. The Signature of the secretary is Micajah Crupper and Hanson Kelly signed as the Mayor of Pensacola.
The second set of issued fractional currency by the City of Pensacola is dated January 1, 1838, and is also signed by Micajah Crupper, Secretary and Hanson Kelly, Mayor of Pensacola.
The third set of issued fractional currency by the City of Pensacola had engraved date of December 2, 1839.
The fouth set of fractional currency issud by the City of Pensacola during the Civil War was dated October 1, 1861. Notes were signed by C.H. Gingles, Mayor, and Maximo Posse Rioboo, Secretary.
Created by Henry Etting on January 1, 1838, United States Navy Yard scrip was made. The 6 1/4 Cent Scrip is the only known denomination. Etting was transferred by the Navy in early 1839 and asked for all the scrip be returned.
Fractional currency was issued by LeBaron & Sons and was dated December 15, 1861. The reason why the currency was issued is not completely known at this time.
Joseph Mitchell issued scrip in 10, 25, and 50 cent denominations.
PENSACOLA TRANSIT, INC. Student ticket good for 10 rides, probably issued in the 1940’s.
Escambia County Area Transit
Escambia County Area Transit, or ECAT, is the public transportation system of Escambia County.
The roots of ECAT date back to 1884 with public transportation systems like the Pensacola Street Car Company, the Pensacola Terminal Company and the Pensacola Electric Company. As mule-drawn buggies gave way to railcars and eventually buses, the system changed hands several times. In 1945, Pensacola Transit, Inc. purchased the transit system from the Gulf Power Company (the successor of the Pensacola Electric Company) and was itself purchased by the American Transit Corporation (ATC) in 1950.
As ridership declined in the 1950s and 60s, Pensacola Transit threatened to terminate service in December 1968. The City of Pensacola agreed to partial subsidies through June 1969, later extended. City government entered into an Interlocal Agreement with the Escambia County Board of County Commissioners in 1971 to support the transit system, which is still managed by the Pensacola Transit Division of ATC (now a part of multinational Veolia Environnement).
ECAT services 285 miles of routes, including more than 1,500 stops, providing 1.6 million annual passenger trips. The system owns 30 buses and employs around 125 people. The current fare is $1.50
ECAT also operates the Pensacola Beach Trolley, which provides free weekend transportation along Pensacola Beach during the summer season (from Memorial Day weekend through September).
A capital of only $50,000, a charter was approved on August 10, 1880 for the First National Bank of Pensacola. The bank was overseen by Daniel F. Sullivan who was elected President along with W.A.S. Wheeler, cashier. After several conspiracy indictments, First National announced its failure on May 19, 1915.
The Citizens National Bank letter dated June of 1899 and signed by bank president L. Hilton Green.
The Citizens National Bank of Pensacola was chartered on January 10, 1893 with $100,000 in capital. President of the bank was named L. Hilton-Green accompanied by John E. Maxwell, cashier. In order to speed up the merger with the Peoples National Bank, Citizens National was liquidated on September 6, 1911.
The American National Bank of Pensacola was chartered on October 22,1900 with an opening capital of $200,000. William C. O’Neal was named President accompanied by A.M. Moses serving as cashier. The bank was renamed to the Florida National Bank at Pensacola in 1944 after the Dupont interests acquired the bank. The team of Malone, Lamar, and Andrews governed the affairs of the bank through the end of the National Currency era. The Bank has the distinction of being one of only three banks in the state of Florida that had engraved signatures for cashier and president on their Third Charter large size notes.
On September 6, 1911 the Peoples National Bank and Citizens National Bank merged together creating a new title, Citizens and Peoples National Bank of Pensacola. The banks were side by side since 1908 but remained separate for several years. After the merge J.S. Reese remained President and J.W. Dorr was again named cashier, until 1926. From 1918 on the bank was located at 215 South Palafox Street. Reese would remain president throughout the bank note issuing years.
The National Bank of Commerce of Pensacola was issued a charter on May 5, 1914 and opened with an initial capital of $300,000. R.W. Goodhart was elected as President with the duties of cashier going to E.R. Malone. At the end of July 1917, the bank was liquidated and merged with the American National Bank.
- 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