European settlers arrived in significant numbers in the late 1840s. The area already had a Spanish name, Zara Zote, on maps dating back to the early eighteenth century, and it was retained as Sara Sota. The initial settlers were attracted by the climate and the bounty of Sarasota Bay.
Sarasota has been governed by several different American counties, depending upon the era. Not becoming a state until 1845 Florida was acquired by the United States as a territory in 1819. Hillsborough County was created from Alachua and Monroe counties in 1834 and many early land titles cite it as the county governing Sarasota. Hillsborough was divided in 1855, placing Sarasota under the governance of Manatee County until 1921, when three new counties were carved out of portions of Manatee. One of those new counties was called Sarasota, and the city was made its seat. The boundary of the community once extended to Bowlees Creek, but that was redrawn to an arbitrary line in order to divide the airport so its oversight could include both counties. Property records and street addresses north of that new county line and south of the creek, however, remain as “Sarasota” due to established postal designations, although they remain governed by Manatee County.
Sarasota’s first black settler was Lewis Colson. Colson came to Sarasota in 1884 to assist Richard E. Paulson, an engineer for the Florida Mortgage and Investment Company, in surveying the town of Sarasota.A former slave, Colson remained in Sarasota throughout his life, contributing to the development of the community in many ways. Lewis and Irene Colson started Sarasota’s first black community in 1910. Businesses included a movie theater, pressing clubs, markets, lunch rooms, and grocery and general merchandise stores. Residences varied in size, but most were modest, one-story, wood frame structures with front porches. There was also a baseball park at 501 Lemon Avenue, according to the 1916 City Directory. The Colson Hotel was one of two hotels in the immediate area. Built by E.O. Burns and opened late in 1926, the hotel was for black tourists and residents. It was located on Eight Street just off Central Avenue. Later it was named the Hotel Palm.
To recover from the debt the state incurred through defeat in the Civil War, the central portions of Florida were drained and offered for sale by the state during the 1880s, being sold internationally to developers in the North and abroad.
Signed by Arthur L. Joiner, Cashier and President S.W. Longmire
The First National Bank of Sarasota was converted from Citizens Bank on June 28, 1913 with William M. Taylor as President and J.W. Knox as cashier. By September of 1923 the bank chose to revert back to being a state bank rather than having a national charter. This is the only note known on this bank.
The American National Bank of Sarasota was chartered on May 26, 1925. Plans for a 10 story building costing $500,000 we erected and the bank moved in on December of 1926. This elaborate bank building was terrible timing for the economy and the bank fell into receivership on May 15, 1928 and only yielding 18 1/4 cents on the dollar. This is the only note known on this bank.
The Palmer National Bank and Trust Co. of Sarasota was issued a charter on July 15, 1929. President was named John B. Cleveland and B.H. Meadows as cashier. During the month of February of 1976 the bank was bought by the Southeast chain of banks and was renamed the Southeast First National Bank of Sarasota.he collapse of the Florida Land Boom by 1927 had repercussions in the local banking circles before the stock market crash in late 1929. First Bank and Trust was the second of four Sarasota banks to close. Within days, however, July 21, 1929, the Sarasota Herald announced the opening of the new Palmer National Bank. Led by members of the Palmer family, major players in Sarasota’s business life, the Palmer Bank initially occupied the vacant American National Bank building (later known as the Orange Blossom Hotel), but soon moved into the empty First Bank and Trust facility at Five Points.
Palmer Bank remained solvent throughout the Depression, and with the post-World War II economic recovery, it expanded with the development of Sarasota. In 1945 GA. Miller Construction Co. of Tampa, which had built the original structure in 1924, was hired to build an annex on the east side of the bank. During 1964 the building received a new face. Any remaining decorative work, after removal of the terra cotta cornice in the 1950s, was cut away and replaced with a modern facade of marble, steel, aluminum and glass.
Palmer Bank merged with Southeast Bank in 1976 and Southeast Bank merged with First Union in 1991. Afterwards, RISCORP owned Sarasota’s second skyscraper and proposed demolishing it, to make way for a new complex at the revitalized Five Points. Eventually that occurred and today it has been replaced with a multi-storied condominium, and offices, retail and restaurants on the street level. The building is now called Plaza at Five Points.
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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