Banking facilities have been available to Galionites at the present site (at the time this was first published on Saturday, Nov. 25, 1995) of Bank One on the square for 123 years.
The original bank was the Citizens National Bank organized July 25, 1868 by a group of stockholders from Cardington. Its name at first was the Citizens Bank, but after receiving a national bank charter, the name became the Citizens National Bank.
The institution was at first located across South Market Street in a small building just behind what is now Quay Drug. The location was fine, but the space was too small and a larger facility was planned.
In the beginning, there were only a cashier and an assistant who managed the business. Years later, in 1921, there were six employees, 70 stockholders, and a large list of depositors. By that time, the bank had capital of $200,000, deposits of $850,000, and resources of $1,320,000.
When the bank was still at the South Market Street location, a building at the southeast corner of the square was available for expansion. In 1876, the bank was moved to that location, but within a year the structure was torn down to make way for the present building, built by David Mackey.
While that building was being constructed, banking business was continued in an attractive small bungalow which was built on the square immediately in front of the building going up. These temporary quarters were removed when the new building was completed in 1922.
By then there was a savings and checking department, both personal and commercial; a safety deposit box section; certificates of deposit were available; and the savings department was paying interest of 4 percent. There was also a foreign exchange and investment department, which later was known as the Bond Department.
In 1921, Henry Gottdiener was president, L.M. Liggett and David Bachelder were vice presidents, J.E. Casey the cashier, and R.L. Bogan and Mary Volk were the assistant cashiers. Lloyd A. Casey, Joseph V. Motsch, and Ethel Thomas were clerks.
The Board of Directors consisted of Gottdiener, Liggett, Bachelder, Henry Kreiter, A.W. Monroe, Frank W. Faber, and G.L. Stiefel, all successful and respected businessmen.
So the new spacious building was finally completed and the formal opening of the Citizens National Bank was held in November 1922. Sometimes the bank was called the Home Citizens National Bank, but the official name did not include the word “home.”
It was a grand building and much thought was put into its construction. On the 11th of November, thousands of people toured and inspected the building. It was the first of its kind in Galion and the Inquirer noted, “… for the new bank is most attractive architecturally, while its interior arrangements have all been planned with a view not only to the efficient service to the patron, but also to his comfort and convenience.”
Young ladies were in attendance as a reception committee and as guides. There were “magnificent” floral arrangements of roses and chrysanthemums which had been sent by banking institutions as far away as Cleveland and Pittsburgh. Refreshments were served in the basement.
The building’s three-story height was deceiving, for it was only one story inside but with a two-story gallery, light and airy. Marble and fine woodwork enhanced its beauty. The Ohio Cut Stone Company supplied the stone, reinforced concrete and steel, which it was stated, made the place “as nearly fireproof as possible.” A Diebold vault was installed by that company from Canton. It was built of reinforced concrete and steel-lined, with 8-inch thick doors weighing 8 tons each. There were three “coupon booths” next to it, allowing patrons to clip their coupons in privacy.
And that wasn’t all. As an aide to its many woman customers, there were special rooms on the main floor for women who could use the writing and telephone service “in strict privacy.” There was a large basement community room again with the needs of women patrons in mind with restrooms available (It was noted that the restrooms would be open during the day and until 10 o’clock on Saturday nights). Note that “rest room” meant that literally — a room to relax and to meet and to read, although there were available toilet facilities as well.
Local societies and organizations, mostly led by women, were to use these community areas for their meetings when needed. The community rooms could be reached by way of the main lobby, or by an entrance outside the bank on South Market Street.
So Galion obtained a grand new building which continues to stand on the square where it was built in 1922. Other institutions and other banks have occupied the building. The First Federal Savings and Loan Association had its offices there, as well as a credit agency at one time. Chase Bank became BankOhio, which once occupied that location and currently Bank One is its occupant.
Your Historical Galion is contributed by the Galion History Center and features the writings of Dr. Bernard M. Mansfield and other local historians. This story was first published in the Galion Inquirer on Saturday, Nov. 25, 1995. For information about the Galion History Center, visit www.galionhistory.com.