History Happened Here

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Putnam County

Year Founded: 1853


This city was established in 1821 as a trading post on the St. Johns River. It was said to have been known variously in its earliest years as Buena Vista, Gray’s Place, Bush Post and Fort Shannon. Its present name derives from a Seminole Indian word, “pilotaikita,” meaning, “ferry,” “ford” or “crossing.” The Indians had long regarded the area as an important place on the river and had held canoe races at this point. The first contraction of the Indian word used as the city’s name was spelled “Pilatka,” but postal authorities complained that this was too easily confused with Picolata, further down the river, and so the “i” was changed to an “a.”

The city charter in 1923 established a City Commission form of government. This was later changed to the council-manager form. Palatka is the county seat

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