George Wells Potter
Courtesy Historical Society of
Palm Beach County
When Potter married Ellen Dimick in 1893, he sold his Palm Beach property, in part to pay for their honeymoon to the Chicago World’s Fair. Potter built a house on the west side of the lake, on a bluff at the foot of Hibiscus Street. Seminole Indians occasionally camped under the pine trees on his lakefront. Potter maintained a citrus grove off Belvedere Road, which he visited in one of the town’s first automobiles.
Potter was then-Dade County’s first surveyor in 1888. His partnership with Captain O. S. Porter, Porter and Potter, was the county’s first real estate firm. Lainhart & Potter, which he started with George W. Lainhart, was the first lumber company and remains the oldest business in Palm Beach County, although Potter sold his share in 1921. With his siblings, Potter bought controlling stock in the Dade County State Bank, which he served as president when it was renamed Pioneer Bank.
George Potter was the Palm Beaches’ earliest resident artist. He illustrated Camping and Cruising in Florida (1884) by Dr. James Henshall, illustrated business advertisements, and made many sketches of early life on Lake Worth. Potter’s artwork, which is in the Historical Society’s collections, provides an excellent glimpse of everyday pioneer life.