A group of contractors is busy carefully dismantling the former Masonic Lodge Building in Florence — and some of the finds inside the historic structure are bringing surprises and memories back to county residents.
The workers are dismantling the building so that the wood and support structures can be used to rebuild the General Store in Rabbit Hash, Kentucky, which was destroyed by fire in February of this year. Workers say that the two buildings are similar enough in age, the General Store was built in 1831 while the Masonic Hall was built in the mid-1800s. The wood will be transported to Kentucky, and will then be cleaned and used for the ongoing rebuild, which is being overseen by the Historical Society there. Old photographs of the building are being used to assure as close to a historic match as possible once the rebuild is complete.
But all of that is taking place there, while the interesting chatter here in Switzerland County centers behind the uncovering of a period of time in the building’s history that many had no idea about.
Located in the back corner of the main floor is a bricked off area that has a heavy metal door casing and a metal door. Lettered over the door are the words, “Florence Deposit Bank.”
Yes, the community of Florence was once home to a thriving local bank.
Martha Bladen of the Switzerland County Historical Society shared some information in the form of old newspaper articles about the bank.
In the October 29th, 1903 issue of the Vevay Reveille, in the “Florence News” section, was the following report:
“The contract for laying the brick vault in the new bank was given to Downey White of Warsaw, and he began work last Monday. The bank expects to be in operation by December 1st, and that will make it very convenient for the citizens of this place.”
An article in the December 3rd, 1903 issue of the Vevay Reveille gave everyone an update on the new bank:
“The directors of the new Deposit Bank to be opened in Florence met Monday in their handsome new quarters in the Masonic Building and arranged to open the doors for business December 14th, a call being made for fifty percent of the $25,000 capital stock to be paid in by December 10th. The vault has been completed and a fine screw door safe, the best burglar proof safe made, has been received, and the balance of the fixtures are now being put up.
” Dr. Chas. Loomis is the President, Wm. H. Scott of Quercus Grove, the Vice President, and B.S. Landrum of Warsaw, Ky., the Cashier. The directors are: Dr. Loomis, W.H. Scott, W.F. Krutz, Dr. J.M.W. Langsdale, Capt. Thos. Land; Wm. L. Told; Edgar Dibble of Quercus Grove; R. B. Brown of Warsaw, and D.B. Wallace of Warsaw.
“All of these men are safe, prudent, business men of means, who, by their individual exertions have accumulated what property they have; and consequently would be safe in charge of the funds of others. Mr. Landram is the son of the late Col. John J. Landram, a noted Federal Soldier in the Civil War, and who was U.S. Collector of Internal Revenue in the sixth Kentucky District.
” ‘Dick’, the cashier elect of the new bank, was the cashier of the Revenue Office under his father and handled nearly five millions of dollars without the loss of one cent or a single discrepancy in his accounts. As cashier of the new bank he has executed a bond of fifty thousand dollars, and while this was not necessary yet, he preferred making a strong bond. All of the officers of the bank are genial, clever, men and they have every assurance of the success of their new enterprise.”
In the March 24th, 1904 issue; an advertisement for the Florence Deposit Bank in the Vevay Reveille showed Capital Stock in the amount of $25,000; Deposits of $27,190.98; and Undivided Profits of $465.70.
That advertisement showed Dr. Charles Loomis serving as President; W. H. Scott was the Vice President; and B.S. Landrum was the Cashier.
Listed as Directors of the bank were: Dr. Charles Loomis of Florence; Edgar Dibble of Quercus Grove; J.M.W. Langsdale of Florence; Thomas Land of Florence; W.H. Scott of Quercus Grove; W. F. Krutz of Florence; W. L. Told of Florence; R.B. Brown of Warsaw, Kentucky; and D.B. Wallace of Warsaw, Kentucky.
In the “Annual Report to the Officers of State” by the Auditor of Indiana dated September 30th, 1911, the report shows that the Florence Deposit Bank was incorporated on November 25th, 1903; and began doing business on December 14th, 1903.
In the report, it says that W.H. Scott was serving at President; while Thomas Land was serving as Vice President and B.S. Landrum was the bank’s cashier.
The report showed that the bank’s resources included $62,746.44 in loans and discounts; $240.60 in overdrafts; $2,087.91 in furniture and fixtures; $15,247.28 that was due from banks and trust companies; and had cash on hand of $4,825.82; which totaled $85,148.05.
In liabilities, the bank had capital stock paid in of $35,000; Surplus of $1,500; Undivided profits, net of $798.91; had $150 reserved for taxes, etc.; had $35,314.21 in demand deposits; and $22,384.90 in time deposits for a total of $85,148.05.
Do you have memories of the old Florence Deposit Bank? Do you have photos from when it was open and operational? Bring them by the Vevay Media Group office at 111 West Market Street, and share what you know with us, and with our readers.