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Union Bank Exhibit

Built in 1841 to impress frontier Tallahassee residents with its Greek Revival architecture, the Union Bank is a rare territorial period structure and the oldest surviving bank building in the state of Florida. Originally opened as a “planter’s bank,” the institution helped to finance the spread of plantation agriculture and the expansion of slavery during the antebellum period, but the bank closed in 1843 due to an unstable economy and mismanagement. After the Civil War, the building became home to the Freedman’s Saving and Trust Company, established to help people newly emancipated from slavery to open bank accounts and begin building financial security. This Freedman’s bank branch was open during the Reconstruction Era from 1869 until it failed and closed in 1874.

For most of its history, however, the Union Bank building housed many different businesses and organizations, illustrating the wonderful diversity and resilience of the Tallahassee region. Over the next hundred years, the building operated as a dance studio, a shoe factory, a church, a youth center, a beauty parlor, and state and county offices. When the building became endangered due to development pressures, Tallahassee citizens organized a campaign to save it, and in April of 1971, the building was added to the National Register of Historic Places.


 Click on the image below to explore different eras of
the Union Bank building's history.