1907: the new Grange National Bank

photo credit:  John G. Coleman Collection

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The Grange National Bank was founded in 1907 by Alvin Backus Armstrong and Dewitt Clinton Young.  A. B. Armstrong also served as vice president of the bank.

National Bank Here Started as Grange National Bank
McKean County Democrat August

National Bank Here Started as Grange National Bank

McKean County Democrat August

On August 7, 1906 a meeting for the purpose of organizing The Grange National Bank of McKean County was held in the parlors of the Smethport Hose Company. Smethport stockholders present at this meeting included D. C. Young, John N. Apple, George Richards, A. B. Armstrong, W. C. Daly, J. C. Snell, A. A. Abbey and H. H. Redfield. It was decided to rent temporary offices in the D. C. Young store building at the corner of Main and Union streets, until a permanent location for the bank building could be chosen.
At a meeting two weeks later, D. C. Young was elected president: A. B. Armstrong, vice-president, and Guy B. Mayo, secretary. It was decided to purchase, for a permanent location, J. Colegrove’s store, adjoining the Hamlin Bank and Trust Company building, Mr. Colegrove was to give up possession in sixty days and remodeling the building for banking purposes was to be completed so that the bank could be opened for business by January 1, 1907. However, at a meeting on Sept. 5th, it was decided not to purchase the Colegrove store, and to purchase instead the Brownell lot at the corner of Main and State streets and erect a new building. Plans were later accepted for a modern two-story brick building, 63 by 34 feet, with the bank to occupy the ground floor and business offices for rent on the second floor. The contract was let to the Walter G. Harper Co., of Meadville, Pa., and the building was completed for the opening in July, 1907.
The following description of the opening was contained in the McKean County Democrat, July 11, 1907:
Tuesday, July 8, 1907, was the opening day of the new Grange National Bank of McKean County. The weather could not have been better, and a large crowd from all over this and other counties was in attendance, giving the confectioneries, ice cream parlors, etc., a rushing business.
Visitors were shown through the building while excellent music was furnished by Chadwick’s Orchestra, composed of John Chadwick, James Quirk, Sidney Burdick, Lloyd Downey and A. Elmer Quirk. Deposits were also made ad souvenirs consisting of cards upon which are congratulations and a picture of the building presented.
Mrs. Hartshorn, cashier of the Grange National Bank of Clearfield, assisted Messers Lee and Brownell n the duties of the bank during the day.
At 3:20 the crowd repaired to the Court House where the speaking, etc., took place. The exercises were opened by Rev. Mr. Ware., with a prayer. After music by the orchestra, D. C. Young, president of the bank, in a few remarks, introduced the first speaker of the day, E. R. Mayo, who gave the origin, history, etc., of banks. G. B. Mayo and J. G. McHenry, of Benton, the next speakers, gave the benefits of the bank to the people.
Mr. Fuller of Olean explained that starting a bank was not only erecting a building and depositing money, but that money must be kept in circulation.
After this, the last speech on the program, Mrs. Goding, son and daughter, of Port Allegany, sang several beautiful selections. Miss Sawyer played the accompaniment, after which the benediction ended the program.
“In regards to the bank, too much credit cannot be given to the officers and directors, D. C. Young, A. B. Armstrong and Guy B. Mayo president, vice-president and secretary, respectively.”

Smethport National Bank To Celebrate It's 50th Anniversary Tuesday
McKean County Democrat July 4, 1957

The public is invited to attend the open house celebration of the golden anniversary of the Smethport National Bank all day next Tuesday and in the evening from 7 to 9 o'clock.

The program includes music on the Hammond organ by Mrs. Elaine Palmer, favors, door prizes and flowers.

The minutes of the bank, originally known as the Grange National Bank, show that a planning meeting of stock subscribers was held in the parlors of the Smethport Hose Company on Aug. 7, 1906.

W. F. Hill of Chambersburg, Pa., was nominated to act as a chairman and Attorney Guy B. Mayo acted as secretary of the preliminary meeting called to discuss the organization of a national bank in the McKean County Seat.

Among the original names of men suggested to serve on the first board of directors were following from the Smethport area: D. C. Young, John N. Apple, George Richards, A. B. Armstrong, W. C. Daly, A. A. Abbey, F. E. Baldwin and H. H. Redfield. All of these men have died.

At another meeting held on Aug. 21, 1906, the following officers of the Grange National Bank were elected:

President -- D. C. Young

Vice President -- A. B. Armstrong

Secretary -- Guy B. Mayo

Attorney -- J. N. Apple

At this meeting various committees were appointed and plans were made to purchase a lot. Several locations were considered and eventually the Brownell lot at the corner of Main and State Sts. was acquired.

A two-story buff brick and stone building was erected and the new bank opened with a formal celebration on July 9, 1907. Representatives of McKean County Granges were present and music was provided by Chadwick's Orchestra.

In addition to President Young and Vice President Armstrong, the banking staff on opening day consisted of J. W. Lee, cashier, and F. W. Brownell, assistant cashier.

Presidents of the bank have been Mr. Young, Mr. Armstrong, H. H. Redfield, E. A Studholme and E. J. Conwell, who is head of the bank now.

Cashiers have been Mr. Lee, E. E. Drake and A. Elmer Quirk, the present cashier. It is interesting to note that Mr. Quirk, a well-known musician was a member of Chadwick's Orchestra, which played on the day the bank opened 50 years ago.

Assistant cashiers have been Mr. Brownell, John A. Carlson, Mr. Quirk, and John W. Comes, present assistant.

On July 10, 1944, the name of the institution was changed to Smethport National Bank.

Records indicate that the local resources of the Grange National Bank on its first business day 50 years ago were $161,460.38.

When the name was changed 13 years ago, the bank's resources had increased to more than $1,500,000.

A statement issued this week shows that the resources of the Smethport National Bank at the close of business last Friday were $2,479,387.87.

In addition to setting up satisfactory reserve funds, the bank has distributed to its stockholders over $217,000 in dividends.

Present officers are:

President -- E. J. Conwell, who has been head of the bank since Jan. 1, 1943.

Vice President -- E. H. Gallup

Cashier -- Mr. Quirk, who has been associated with the bank since 1920 and has been cashier since 1930.

Assistant Cashier -- Mr. Comes

Tellers -- A. D. Ross and Virginia D. Gosney

Bookkeeper -- Constance Loucks

Stenographer - Helen A. Cole

Building Custodian -- F. E. Arthur

Members of the board of directors are Mr. Conwell, Mr. Gallup, Henry A. Satterwhite, W. J. Burns Jr., R. S. Moran, C. L. Burt and Albert W. Johnson.

The bank opened in the terrific depression year of 1907, when only men of courage would have dared to embark on the stormy financial seas. It weathered the depression of the '30s, when hundreds of financial institutions were compelled to close.

The Smethport National Bank can take pardonable pride in reviewing its accomplishments over half a century; while looking forward with confidence to the future and continued, continuous efforts to serve its many patrons in the best manner possible.

Happy Birthday!

 2005: Grange National Bank

photo credit: Kayla Lincoln

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