Completed in 1841, the Union Bank is Florida's oldest surviving bank building. The business was chartered in 1833 as a planters' bank from which plantation owners could borrow against their land and slave holdings. The bank operated in a private house called "The Columns" until 1841. With John Gamble as its first and only president, it served as Florida's major territorial bank. The bank failed in 1843 because of crop failures, the Second Seminole War, and unsound banking practices.
After remaining unused for nearly 25 years, the building reopened in 1868 as the National Freedman's Savings and Trust Company, serving emancipated slaves and refugees. Starting in 1874, the building functioned in a variety of ways—-as a church, shoe factory, beauty shop, and dance studio.
Originally located near the southwest corner of Adams Street and Park Avenue, the structure was moved to this site in 1971. The Union Bank building was restored and opened to the public as a museum in 1984.