Growth of Palatka
Transportation has always been an important use of the St. Johns River. When William Bartram sailed down the river, he stopped briefly at an Indian village on the very spot where Palatka is now located. Into the 1830s, the area was a trading post, until Fort Shannon was built there in the early 1840s to secure the strategic location during the Seminole Indian Wars. In the 1850s, Palatka became a port of entry into the interior of the state. Steamboats brought tourism, and were vital to the city’s economy until the 1920s.