Established as a trading post in 1821, the settlement was burned in the Seminole War (1836). In 1838, the U.S. government constructed Fort Shannon which served as a garrison, supply depot and hospital for the forts in the southern area of Florida. Winfield Scott, Zachary Taylor and William T. Sherman were stationed here. During the Civil War the city was occupied by Federal troops. In the postwar period Palatka became one of the leading tourist centers of Florida.'
It's difficult today to imagine this lovely but rather sleepy little town as an important tourist center, although two notable people to be attracted towards Palatka were Harriet Beecher Stowe and Thomas Edison.
By the waterfront are other information boards, this one being about the trail of the naturalist William Bartram (1739–1823). Bartram is a rather obscure figure today, although he was once famous for his book Travels (1781), the full title of which reveals its subject matter fully: Travels through North & South Carolina, East & West Florida, the Cherokee Country, the Extensive Territories of the Muscogulges, or Creek Confederacy, and the Country of the Chactaws, Containing an Account of the Soil and Natural Productions of Those Regions, Together with Observations on the Manners of the Indians. One of the most interesting points to note is that this publication influenced writers, the most notable being the early Romantics Wordsworth and Coleridge.