First National Bank &
First National Bank and Trust Company is located
on 190 South Orange Avenue in Orlando, Florida.
This building was built in late 1930 to signify
to all residents that the Great Depression was
finally ready to be lifted from the area.
The Great Depression of the 1930s hit Orlando
harder then it hit most areas on the East
Coast. Most places in Florida were hit very
hard, in fact. However, Orlando did survive
better than some places primarily because of its
strong economic roots in agriculture.
Unfortunately, Central Florida was hit hard at
the very beginning of the Depression and it took
it quite a while to recover. In April of 1929,
just a few months before the stock market
crash, Orlando and the rest of Florida
received its own devastating news. The
Mediterranean fruit fly was discovered in a
citrus grove near Orlando. State and federal
inspectors began to look for more and
discovered a massive infestation.
Officially 1,002 groves in South
and Central Florida were infested. Almost 72
percent of all the commercial citrus trees in
the state were doomed. Over the summer of 1929 and into
the fall, tens of thousands of trees were cut
down and burned. All infected trees were
destroyed. The quarantine was finally lifted on
November 30, 1930, over 19 months after the
first Med fly was discovered. The production of
citrus during the winter of 1928/1929, the year
prior to the infestation totaled 28 million
boxes of fruit. After the quarantine was lifted
the production was only 17 million boxes. And
the 1929/1930 season was almost a total loss.
The citrus catastrophe helped to ensure that
nearly all banks in Central Florida would fail
as did most other businesses.
After this terrible time in Orlando history, the
First National Bank built a $300,000 bank
building on South Orange Avenue. The new bank
opened on March 24, 1930 and would become the
oldest and longest running bank in the area. The
First National Bank decided to move out of the
building about 30 years later to expansion
issue. Some time around the mid 1980ís, Valencia
Community College began using the building as
part of its downtown campus. The Valencia
Community College Foundation has taken
responsibility for preserving the history that
comes along with this magnificent building for
close to 30 years. This building is yet another
of the beautiful pieces of architecture
preserved throughout downtown Orlando!.