News: Spencer History – Bank


Surnames: Boock, Soles, Emling, Farrington, Graves, Neuman, Gardiner, Martin, Vanderhoof, McIlhattan, Stapel, Ayers, Seefeldt, Thuss, Manthe, Syring, Kuethe, Prechel, Klein, Worchel, Schwellenbach, Brandt, Lucht, Potts, Nemec, Hale, Kuehmichel, Bodendorfer, Albert

Source: Spencer Centennial Book (1874 – 1974)

Mr. A. L. Boock, a 27 year old native of New Ulm, Minnesota came to Spencer in 1908 to assess the prospects of starting a bank. He had been influenced strongly in this regard by reports from Dr. F. A. Soles. It was indeed an opportune time since every merchant and businessman in the area was his own banker. There was a daily scramble among them to furnish currency and silver to cash checks and make change for customers.

At a public meeting held in George Farrington's hall on June 9, 1908, to discuss the advisability of organizing a bank, J. D. Graves was appointed chairman, and E. E. Emling, Secretary. Thirty-nine people subscribed the required 510,000.00, and the bank was formally organized that day. At a meeting of the stockholders, the following persons were elected as directors: George Farrington, J. D. Graves, Frank Neuman, John Gardiner, H. A. Martin, Wesley Vanderhoof, and A. L. Boock. The following appointments were then made: J. D. Graves, A. L. Boock, and John Gardiner to take charge of the cash and capita] stock; George Farrington and John Gardiner to purchase needed supplies and equipment for the new bank; J. D. Graves, Frank Neuman, and George Farrington to act as a building committee for the erection of a home for the bank.

The bank opened for business August 3, 1908 in the former Hanson building located on the site of the present Breeze-Inn Tavern and remained there until their own building, presently occupied by Vic Carpenter, was ready for occupancy.

The bank remained in this location on East Clark Street until 1922 when it was re-located on the corner of Clark and LaSalle, the former National House.

The bank's assets at this time had grown from its initial assets of $13,772.73 as of August 8, 1908, to $285,000.00. The directors and officers decided to remodel the new home tavern and hotel. The bank remained in this location for 37 years.

After three years of planning, the present bank building was completed and the bank moved into the present modern banking facilities. The occasion was marked by an open house on June 12, 1960. The bank had now entered its 52nd year with assets of over two million dollars.

After serving one year's apprenticeship with Mr. Boock, Austin McIlhattan became the bank's first assistant cashier, a position he held until his sudden death in 1950. Gertrude Stapel, a former employee of the bank, served as assistant cashier from 1952-1970. Many youth of the community found employment and valuable training at our bank. One of them, Arthur Schroeder, became a banker at Brillion, Wisconsin.

Mr. A. L. Boock served as cashier at two intervals, totaling 28 years. He got a small, new bank off to a good start and with his business acumen and the help of a strong Board of Directors insured its steady growth and improvement. At a time when Spencer had no lawyer, he took time to confer with all who came to him, often helping them obtain legal counsel. His brother, Oscar Boock, was also cashier for a time, leaving to take charge of a bank at Waterloo. Wisconsin.

The following have served as Bank presidents: J. D. Graves, Dr. F. A. Soles, Jonas Ayers, S. E. Graves, H. F. Seefeldt, E. J. Thuss, and Olaf Manthe.

Ed Thuss came from Pound, Wisconsin in 1952 to become the third cashier and served until his death in 1973. His kind and courteous personality soon won for him a place of his own in our community. He will be remembered with gratitude and appreciation not only by the Board of Directors and bank employees, but by all who knew him.

The original 39 stockholders have grown to a list numbering 226 people and is still a locally owned, community bank with many of its shareholders residing in or near Spencer. The bank still retains its motto, "A good bank to do business with" and is very grateful for all the support it has received from this community during the past 66 years.

Orville Syring is the present Cashier and Executive Vice President. Other directors are Olaf Manthe, President; Harold Kuethe, Ken Graves, Harold Prechel, Robert Keyes, and Gerhard Klein.
Assistant Cashiers are Lois Worchel, Del Schwellenbach. Other employees are Virjean M. Brandt, Barbara Lucht, Beverly Potts, Janice Nemec, Russell Hale, Bernice Kuehmichel, Sandra Boden- dorfer, and Waldo Albert, Custodian.



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