Centenial - page6

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1954 Centennial Book

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The history of Fostoria's financial institutions during the past century closely follows that of the financial "ups and downs" of the country at large. National depressions have taken their toll of Fostoria banks, leaving the inevitable record of ruined and broken hopes. In the main, however, the banks of Fostoria have been able to serve their customers and the community profitably and creditably.


Just when the first bank was started can not be determined with any degree of certainty. Mr. Andrew Emerine, Chairman of the Board, The First National Bank, and formerly its President, has in his possession, checks and notes drawn by his father, Andrew Emerine, Sr., upon the Foster, Olmsted, and Co. Bank, and dated as early as 1868. The name was later changed to the Foster Banking Company. It probably was an outgrowth of the Foster Store business. Old engravings show that was housed in the Old Foster Block, southwest corner of Main and Tiffin Streets. It fronted on Main Street, while the other stores fronted on Tiffin Street. In 1882, it was moved across the street into the New Foster Block into the quarters now housing the Commercial Bank. It eventually failed and was forced to close its doors in 1893, during the depression which swept the country during Grover Cleveland's second administration.


Fostoria's oldest bank still in operation, is the First National Bank, organized in 1882, by a group headed by Andrew Emerine, Sr. The other local stockholders who contributed to the $50,000.00 of paid-in capital, were Alonzo Emerine, J. C. F. Hull, John W. Davis, L.J. Hissong, Fred Manecke, Wm. H. Skinner, William Ash and George W. Hull. Others were from nearby towns. It started business in 1882 in the room now occupied by the Isaly Store, and remained there for over ten years when it moved to its modern new Emerine building on the northeast corner of Main and Center Streets, the site now occupied by the new Kresge Store. In 1934, it moved into its present quarters, the building formerly occupied by the Union National Bank. In its successful history of nearly three-quarters of a century, the bank has had but three presidents, Andrew Emerine, Sr., 1882 to 1923; Andrew Emerine, Jr., 1923 to 1952 and Eldren Layton, 1952 to the present. Its growth in resources and deposits has been steady. Since 1935 its resources have increased from $1,741,749.93 to over $11,318.202.22.

Although the bank has probably had plenty of excitement in its more than three score years and ten, it probably never has had, nor hopes to have, a wilder time than it had on the afternoon of May 3rd, 1934, about three in the afternoon, when the Dillinger Gang staged a daring holdup of the bank. During the almost thirty minutes that the Gang was in possession, more than sixty shots were fired. Among the severely wounded was Police Captain Frank Culp, who however, recovered to become Mayor of the City. The bandits escaped with nearly $17,300.00 carrying away with them as hostages, two of the Bank's employees, Miss Ruth Harris, and the late William Daub. They were released a few miles from town, unharmed. The bank still exhibits a few of the bullet holes as souvenirs.


In 1890 Charles Olmsted, a brother-in-law of Charles Foster, organized the Mechanics Savings Bank. In 1898 it became the Mechanics Bank with William Manecke as president. In 1907 the bank was reorganized by Mr. E.W.Allen and his associates into the Union National Bank. In 1929 it was moved into its new building on the northwest corner of Main and Tiffin Streets. It had one hundred fifty stockholders and every prospect of a successful future but it was caught in the banking crisis of early 1933 and failed to survive.


Fostoria's youngest bank was chartered by the State of Ohio in 1902 and opened for business in its present quarters on March 23, 1903. Among the organizers were E.J.Cunningham, Charles Ash, W.A.Jones, John E. Finsel. R.D.Sneath , N.Saltsman, C.German, Theo. Wertz and John Noble. E.J. Cunningham became the first president and served two years being succeeded by Charles Ash who served for a third of a century until 1938. Mr. Lucien Kinn then became president and served until his death in 1952. Since that date, Mr. John Gutknecht has been president.

The Commercial Bank and Savings Company was organized with $50,000.00 paid in capital and surplus of $10,000.00. Its report for April 1, 1905 showed resources of $325,896.88; while its last statement of April 15, 1954 showed capital of $125,000.00, surplus. $125,000.00 and total resources of $6,540,540.50.

The Commercial Bank's new drive-in branch soon to be built on the east side of Perry Street between Fremont and High, will be an important addition and improvement to Fostoria=s business section. The new bank building will occupy three lots and be about 76 feet long by 48 feet wide with parking space for at least forty cars. There will be two drive-in service windows, where customers can transact business without getting out of their cars. All the other regular bank services will be carried on in the new modern building. This move of the Commercial Bank serves to emphasize the growing trend for decentralization of the march out Perry Street, "away from Rome, and out to Risdon."


Along with these banks, Fostoria's growth has been materially aided by the services of two Savings and Loan Companies, whose particular function it has been to encourage and finance the building of homes.

The Ohio Savings and Loan Association was incorporated in 1915 by L.J. Eshleman, Frank J. Kiebel, A.J.Vogel, Carl Smith, Roscoe Carle, R.W.Solomon, W.J. Wagner, James Cullen, F.M. Hopkins, Frank Gebert, Mahlon Carr, and W.R.Baker. The first office was on West Center Street after which in 1927 it was moved to the then Elks Building (the Old Foster Building). In August, 1948, it moved into its present fine quarters at the corner of Main and North Streets. Although it had a rough time during the depression, it never missed paying interest due its depositors every interest paying period. Since 1937, it has been a depository of the Home Owners' Loan Corporation and is a member of both the Ohio Savings and Loan League, and of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Cincinnati. It has increased its assets from $812,857.52 in 1940 to $5,093,580.84 in 1954. John J. Seever is the Secretary-Manager at present.


TheCity Loan and Savings Company was founded in 1904, and is one of Ohio's great Savings and Loan Associations. Fostoria is one of the company's three deposit receiving offices and has occupied the same corner of Main and Center Streets since 1926. The local office was opened as a means of broadening the savings facilities of the City Loan. Deposits are received here primarily from the three wealthy counties which join at this hub. Mail deposits are received from many points. In 1936, a loan department was added to the services of the local office. The company maintains 138 loan offices in Ohio and an average of one of every four families have used City Loan financing. More than 20 million dollars in interest has been paid to depositors, and the company is proud of its record- never has a depositor lost a penny nor had to wait a single day for his money. In 1940, the Fostoria office had deposits of $3,146,000.00. This figure has grown each year and today, deposits are over $17,000,000.00. E.R.Houser is the Fostoria manager.

Fostoria is also served by two loan and finance companies; The American Loan and Finance Company, 116 E. North Street, and The Personal Finance Company, 111 E. Center Street.

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Information courtesy of Joan Fleming

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