Thomas Carson Taliaferro might give this advice to today's aspiring bankers: Get in at the ground floor. He was 24 when he became the cashier, chief executive and only full-time employee of Tampa's first bank.
The Virginia native came here in 1883 to open and run the Bank of Tampa for his Jacksonville banking firm of Ambler, Marvin and Stockton.
In 1886, the bank received a national charter and became First National Bank. He served as its president from 1903 to 1927 and helped make it one of Florida's leading financial institutions.
In his spare time, Taliaferro served as chief of Tampa's volunteer fire department and umpired baseball games. He married Stella Morrison, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. W.A. Morrison, the pioneer citrus family whose groves covered much of modern-day Hyde Park.
Taliaferro died in 1928 at 68.
His namesake street parallels Interstate 275 through V.M. Ybor and Ybor Heights. The Taliaferro House, which the banker had built circa 1895 at 305 S Hyde Park Ave., is one of Tampa's grandest examples of neoclassical revival. Now it houses the Centre for Women.
Source: Tampa Bay History Center
_ MICHAEL CANNING