The Old Grant County Bank
Photo by Albert Mach
In 1902, The United Sates was enjoying a period of prosperity and economic expansion which was contributing to a remarkable rise in the standard of living. Theodore Roosevelt was president, having succeeded William McKinley, who was assassinated in 1901; and Orville and Wilbur Wright were testing their airframe at Kitty Hawk, N. C. prior to the first flight in 1903. It became evident to rural America that to benefit from this expansion economically and politically, a community must have a financial institution. Thus a group of business men, led by Bernard J. Baker, organized The Grant County Bank in order to provide financial services to the residents, farmers, and small merchants of Grant County and surrounding areas. Mr. Baker was a local merchant, farmer, and politician. He was a lifelong resident of Petersburg, a devout Christian, and civic leader. Other organizers and charter members were; D. P. Hendrickson, J. W. Day, L. J. Forman, A. A. Parks, and William C. Moomau.
The Grant County Bank of Petersburg was chartered as a West Virginia state bank on August 6, 1902, and the bank began operation August 15, 1902. Its first location was small quarters in the Baker building which was located at the south corner of Main Street and Virginia Avenue. Employees were Mr. Baker, who worked as the cashier, and young Mr. Moomau working as the Assistant Cashier. Organizational expense consisted of; charter $21.00, safe $415.00, burglary insurance $20.00, furniture $41.50, and stage charge for currency shipment, .60 cents. Early depositors were B. Grant Roby, J. D. Rinehart, William L. Smith, Beulah Foley, C. A. Bergdoll, G. W. Hill, T. J. Grove, J. T. Scott, Haught and Freese Company, M. F. Hott, N. M. Harris, W. H. Siple, Isaac W. Sites and Max Boor, just to mention a few. Early loans were made to J. Bowers, N. M. Harris, M. R & Company, T. J. Grove, J. N. Sites, S. G. Cook, Job Sites and Samuel Cosner.
In 1908, the bank moved into its new building, a two story frame building located on the south corner of Main and Water Streets. It occupied this quarter until 1925, when it moved across the street into the prestigious two story granite building at 1 North Main Street. It occupied this building until 1974, when it moved to its present location at 3 North Main Street. After the bank moved to its new location, the “Old Bank” served as the public library until the county built one in the early 1990’s. The bank now uses the building for meetings.
Open courtesy of The Grant County Bank
Directions: 1 North Main Street