In 1819, after the signing of the Adams-Onís Treaty, the United States gained control of Florida. The first American or European settlers in the area were encouraged to settle here by the Armed Occupation Act of 1842. This act was specifically created to increase the white population in the area as a way to weaken the Native Americans populations after the Second Seminole War. It created generous land grants and other incentives for settlers who were willing to defend themselves against the native populations, hence the name of the act.
During the 1840s and 1850s, the United States government conducted the first surveys of the area. Henry Washington conducted the first survey of the area in 1843. In 1849, Dr. John Westcott completed an extensive survey of the area, including mapping many of the local lakes. The first maps of the area were published by the United States government in 1854. In 1883, Col. Henry Haines working for Henry Plant and the Plant System, successfully built the first railroad across Polk County, passing just north of Winter Haven. Lake Haines, in Winter Haven, was named after Col. Haines.
The arrival of the railroad created the first real growth in area. The area was platted in 1884 and would first be known as Harris Corners. This name was in reference to F.A.K. Harris, who opened the first mercantile store in the area around this time. The name Winter Haven was later suggested, in reference to the area’s pleasant climate.
By the end of the century the population grew to around 400 and in 1911, and the City of Winter Haven was incorporated. The Chain of Lakes canals were begun in 1915. The first Florida boom took place in the 1920s as towns sprang up all over the peninsula. Florida’s potential as a place to live and a place to visit was first realized in the 1920s, but the Great Depression slowed growth in Florida until after World War II. Winter Haven Hospital was founded in 1926 and has been in the city ever since.
During this period, the population of Winter Haven began to grow substantially. Many beautiful single-family homes were built in Winter Haven at this time in the colonial revival style. Over 50 these homes are on the National Register of Historic Places today. They are noted for their architectural style and grace. Most of these historic homes are located in the Interlaken neighborhood. There are four historic districts in Winter Haven. They are Interlaken, Pope Avenue, Winter Haven Heights, and the downtown area.
The above note is a unique 1902 date back series with both Snell signatures.
The Snell National Bank of Winter Haven was organized April 22, 1913 and was liquidated on the first of May 1930. Rare with only two large size and one small size note known as of this date.
View taken from Fourth Avenue N.W. at the railroad depot – Winter Haven, Florida
The National Bank of Winter Haven was chartered on January of 1922 and was eventually liquidated on November 22, 1929.
The National Bank of Winter Haven changed its name on April 15, 1926 to the American National Bank of Winter Haven and was later liquidated November 22, 1929. The above two small size 1929 notes are the only small size notes known on this rare title.
A charter was issued to the American National Bank in Winter Haven on October of 1929.
The Exchange National Bank of Winter Haven was chartered March of 1930, it was merged into the Exchange Bank of Polk County on November 30, 1978. Noteworthy is that John A. Snively (1889-1958) served on the board of the bank and was a famous citizen of Winter Haven. Alfred M. Tilden (1887-1961) served as a director of the bank for 30 years, he was of great importance to the citrus industry in Florida and was inducted into the Florida Citrus Hall of Fame.
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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