Historic Bank

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Odebolt's Historic Bank


The First National Bank as it appeared in the 1920's or early 30's.  
It looks much the same today, in operation as a branch of "First State Bank", Ida Grove.

The First National Bank Building

SOURCES:  Buildings of Iowa, a publication of the Society of Architectural Historians, Buildings of the United States;  Photocopy of a column titled "Exploring in Odebolt", by Chuck Offenburger, Des Moines Register, Des Moines, Iowa (date unknown);  "Fairview Farm History", compiled by Kyle Hustedt (A soft-cover compilation of the history of Fairview Farm and the Adams family, including newspaper articles and photos.).

W.P. Adams, owner of Fairview Farm (commonly known as "The Adams Ranch") was responsible for building the distinctive First National Bank building on a wedge-shaped plot between First and Second Streets, fronting on Main Street in Odebolt. The architects who designed the building in 1914 were Graham, Burnham and Company, of Chicago.  These architects are said to have also designed the Field Museum and Union Station in Chicago.

Quoting from Buildings of Iowa, p. 423,  "Its design is that of a Doric temple; there is a row of six columns on the gable end and there are engaged pilasters along each flank. There is a severe, puritanical quality about the design, which seems to look back to early Greek Revival bank buildings of the 1820's and 1830's."

Quoting from the Offenburger article, " The exterior is limestone built on a granite foundation, with six columns across the front, heavy brass doors and lots of other intricate limestone and brass trim.  ....  Inside, there is marble and brass everywhere, with gorgeous woodwork of dark mahogany.  The teller cages, with their brass grillwork, are just like when the place opened.  The venetian blinds are thick slats of real wood.  A room above the vault has a balcony view of the lobby.  On the walls and ceiling around the lobby, plaster columns and trim mimic the handsome limestone work on the building's exterior.  Adams had his ranch and real estate office in similarly designed quarters in the back of the building."

bank_interior1.jpg (60855 bytes)
Interior showing teller cages.
Click photo to enlarge

From Fairview Farm History, page 115 "The First National Bank of Odebolt was the only Midwest bank to carry its own gold standard currency.  At the end of 15 years it paid off all its accounts and closed its doors making this the only bank in the U.S. to ever do this type of termination."


Front of $5.00 bill from First National Bank of Odebolt
(click to enlarge)

The bank at present is much like it was when it was first built due to it being unused for many years.  The bank opened in 1915 and operated until 1934, during the Depression years.  At that time Mr. Adams decided to cease operations, paid all the depositors off and closed the bank.  Although the building was closed to public access, a caretaker took care of the building over the next 33 years.

After First National Bank closed, Odebolt was without banking facilities.  On November 22, 1934 Odebolt State Bank opened for business on the north side of Second Street, a result of residents of Odebolt taking action to establish the new bank. 

In 1967 Odebolt State Bank bought the unused First National Bank building from Charles Lakin, who had purchased the Adams Ranch and the bank building in 1962.  Quoting from the Offenburger article, " Lakin's grown children today tell stories of getting "to play bank' in some very lifelike surroundings during those five years before their father sold the building....  Lakin subsequently sold the ranch properties and moved on to Omaha."

Odebolt State Bank operated in the building for the next 40 years, from 1967 to 2008, under Ralph Griffin & his son Neil Griffin.

February, 2008 - Odebolt State Bank sold to First State Bank of Ida Grove
     Wayne Nielsen, President of First State Bank of Ida Grove, announced on February 7, 2008 that the sale of the Odebolt State Bank to First State Bank of Ida Grove has been finalized. Norm Behrens will be the location manager at the First State Bank located in Odebolt.
      According to an article on page 3 of the February 13, 2008 edition of  the Ida County Courier, the new owners of Odebolt's historic bank, First State Bank of Ida Grove, plan to replace windows, clean the brass fixtures and marble floors and generally restore the bank back to its original look.  Plans are to complete the restoration by the 2008 Odebolt Creek Days weekend, June 20-22, 2008.

 - B. Horak
odebolt.net editor


Odebolt State Bank, 2002
(click to enlarge)

Visit an article about the restoration of the bank

For additional information, see Early Banks and Bankers, from the Odebolt History Pages

Visit First State Bank on-line

 


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www.firststbk.com

 

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