Plans for 100-year-old bank building in Midland to be razed in near future
The Midland bank is to be torn down after over 100 years of serving the local area.
On December 3, 1906, the Bank of Midland, chartered by the state, opened for business. The bank operated out of a corner of J.C. Russell's merchandise store for the first few weeks until the completion of a wood framed structure was built by Martin Johnson. This was the first lot west of the current bank in Midland. C.L. Millett was the first president, J.C. Russell the first vice president and M.C. Sherwood the first cashier.
By the bank's first anniversary, it had a capital of $18,000 and deposits of $102,000. As the bank prospered, it grew out of the little wood framed building. Work was started on a new brick and stone structure in early 1909. The two-story Black Hills sandstone and Stanley County brick structure was completed in 1909. The bank moved across the street to the new building in 1910. The bank was located on the first floor, while the second floor housed other businesses. The basement was the home of the Midland Mail.
"Our teacher one day took us down to the print shop. He gave us each a chunk of lead with our names on it. It was still hot," said Mahlon Alcock, current Midland Pioneer Museum board member. In an upstairs room was the telephone switchboard and it was also where the switchboard operator lived. There was a vault on the main floor as well as downstairs. The directors held their board meetings on the top floor. The front room and the top floor were also used for living arrangements. In 1914, the Bank of Midland was converted to a national bank and became known as the First National Bank of Midland. The bank survived the bad years of the Great Depression and in January of 1938, a business transaction was completed, buying the Philip branch of the First National Bank of Rapid City. The bank was then moved to Philip in January 1938, ending its years in Midland.
Two months later, Hazel Hughes started the new branch office of the Okaton State Bank that was housed in the former First National Bank of Midland building. Vic Fergeson, former cashier of the First National Bank of Midland, became the manager. While Marvin Grosz was the manager of this bank, he decided to move the bank to the north side of Main Street.
The Midland bank is currently owned by the Midland Pioneer Museum Board and was given to the board by Jim Aplan, a former Midland Bank manager. No arrangements have been made for the tearing down process to begin because "there are people wanting to take this and that out, but then the building will still be here. We did have one offer for the complete building," said Alcock. "After the bank had closed, snow and ice caused the roof to leak, so the board had a steel roof put on for $5,000 that shortly afterwards rusted. Some even thought it could be used for apartments, but it isn't handicap accessible," said Alcock.