For Immediate Release
Friday, October 27, 2023
Contact: Mark Ard
PRESS RELEASE: Secretary of State Cord Byrd Invites the Public to an Open House at Historic Union Bank
TALLAHASSEE, FLA. –
Secretary of State Cord Byrd invites the public to an Open House at Tallahassee’s historic Union Bank building on Saturday, November 4, 2023, from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m.
“The Florida Department of State is excited for the public to view the freshly restored Union Bank building,” said Secretary of State Cord Byrd. “This program will provide the public with the opportunity to learn about recent state-led restoration efforts, preview upcoming exhibits, and discover why the Union Bank played a critical role in Tallahassee history.”
Union Bank building, 219 Apalachee Parkway, Tallahassee, 2023
Photo by Michelle Hearn
Built in 1841, the Union Bank is considered Florida’s oldest surviving bank building. Originally opened as a “planter’s bank” during the antebellum period, the building became home to the National Freedman’s Savings and Trust Company following Emancipation. Over the next century, the building housed numerous businesses and organizations, including a dance studio, shoe factory, church, youth center, 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 1971, the building was added to the National Register of Historic Places. In June 1971, the building’s owners, the Colonial Dames XVII Century, donated it to the State of Florida. Shortly afterwards, the bank was moved from its original location on South Adams Street to its current location near the Historic Capitol Museum. A committee was formed to raise money to match state funds for the building’s restoration. The building opened in 1984 as a museum and housed exhibits created by the Museum of Florida History and the Meek-Eaton Black Archives, Research Center, and Museum at Florida A&M University (MEBA). When the building reopens to the public next year, it will be 182 years old.
With the building’s most recent restoration now complete, the Museum of Florida History, in partnership with MEBA plans to open a new exhibit at Union Bank in February 2024. The program on November 4 is the public’s first opportunity to learn more about this upcoming exhibit, the restoration of the building, and its history. The program is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served. Limited public parking is available immediately adjacent to Union Bank. Street parking and downtown public garages are also available nearby.
Event Time: Saturday, November 4, 2023, 1:00 to 4:00 p.m.
Event Location: The Union Bank, 219 Apalachee Parkway, Tallahassee, Florida 32301
About the Division of Historical Resources
The Florida Department of State’s Division of Historical Resources (DHR) is responsible for preserving and promoting Florida’s historical and archaeological resources. The Division Director’s office oversees a grants-in-aid program to help preserve and maintain Florida’s historic buildings and archaeological sites, and coordinates outreach programs such as State Historical Markers. DHR directs historic preservation efforts throughout Florida in cooperation with state, federal, and tribal agencies, local governments, private organizations, and individuals. The Division Director serves as the State Historic Preservation Officer, acting as the liaison with the national historic preservation program conducted by the National Park Service. The Division is comprised of three Bureaus, archaeological research, historic preservation, and historical museums. For more information, visit: FLHeritage.com.
About the Museum of Florida History
The Museum of Florida History is part of the Florida Department of State. As the official state history museum, the Museum of Florida History collects, preserves, exhibits, and interprets evidence of past and present cultures in Florida, and promotes knowledge and appreciation of its heritage.
About the Meek-Eaton Black Archives Research Center and Museum
Founded in 1976, the Meek-Eaton Black Archives (MEBA) Research Center and Museum at Florida A&M University is home to the largest repository of African American history and culture in the southeastern United States. Current holdings consist of more than 500,000 archival records and 5,000 museum artifacts. The state facility is a nationally designated historic Carnegie Library and is named after founder and former history professor Dr. James N. Eaton and the late U.S. Congresswoman Carrie Meek. Approximately 160,000 people visit the MEBA Research Center and Museum each year, which is housed in the oldest brick building at Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, Florida.