News: Neillsville Bank Celebrates (100 Years - 1979)

Contact: Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon

Surnames: Ollech, Gates, Ray, Hyslop, Reed, Huntzicker, Dewhurst, Morley, Grow, Hemphill, North, Struble, Zimmerman, Imig, Campman, Marsh, Huckstead, Rush, Prock, Kurth, Lastofka, Rowe, Clark, Strange, Johnson, Lowe, Pree, Zank, Vine, Bautsch, Wilsmann, Zerbel, Wuethrich, Brekke, Meyer

----Source: Clark County Press (Neillsville, Clark Co., WI) 2/22/1979

Neillsville Bank Celebrates (100 Years - 1978)

Back in the late 1800’s, a group of individuals got together, pooled $25,000 and formed the Neillsville Bank. In 1979, the bank has grown to over $32 million in assets.

That growth will be parr of the 100th birthday celebration at the Neillsville Bank this Thursday. According to Walter Ollech, president, special festivities ae planned throughout the day with refreshments served from 10:00 to 3:00 p.m.

The bank formed in 1879 as a sole proprietorship and was owned by J.L. and Daniel Gates, according to Ollech’s research. It was not until 1883 that the financial institution formed itself into a bank as is commonly known now.

The first board meeting of the restructured bank took place on November 28, 1883, when by-laws were adopted. One month later, the original board got together and, according to the records, had only one item of business: approving new curtains for the bank.

Original organizers of the bank and the shares they owned were James L. Gates, 1,000; George H. Ray of La Crosse, 1,000; Alexander Hyslop, La Crosse, 1,000; John Reed, 4,000; Jacob Huntzicker of Greenwood, 2,000; Richard Dewhurst, 12,500; George M. Dewhurst, 2,000; and Jacob Morley 500. Each represented $1.00. the first president was Richard Dewhurst with Ray as vice president and Morley as cashier.

It was a time of growth for the bank in the mid-1880’s with cashier given a raise to $75.00 per month in 1884 and up to $100 a month in 1885. By 1887, the first dividends were declared for the stockholders at $10.00 per share, followed a year later by another $10.00 per share dividend.

By 1888, the bank offered three percent interest, on six-month certificates of deposit. The following year, board members agreed to pay cashiers $1200 per year with assistant cashiers making $700 for twelve months work.

The bank did experience some hard times, however, feeling the collapse in the 1930’s. But the bank was only closed for one day, a national bank holiday. Board members reorganized the bank that same day.

Following the presidency of Dewhurst, the top spot in the bank has been held by six other individuals. Chas. F. Grow was president from 1896 to 1909; followed by Wallace L. Hemphill, 1909 to 1930; Mary D. Hemphill, 1930 to 1947; Herman North, 1947 to 1972; Delbert C. Struble 1972 to January 9, 1979; and Ollech from January 10, 1979.

The bank has been located at a number of sites. The first home was where the U.S. Post Office is presently located. From there, the institution moved to the corner of Hewett and Sixth Streets, now the home of Uncle Sam’s Clothing. In the early fall of 1975, the bank moved to its present location, resting on one-half city block on West Hewett Street, just at the edge of the downtown business district. The bank’s unique architectural design makes it a focal point in the community.

In 1947, the bank opened up branch facilities in Humbird and in 1968 another branch bank in Fairchild.

In other factual data gleaned from the old records at the bank, some of the early directors included George F. Zimmerman, Arthur Imig, William Campman, W.J. Marsh, H.O. Huckstead, W.J. Rush, Michael Prock, William Kurth, Martin Lastofka, W.F. Rowe, Homer C. Clark, Carl Strange, Gilbert Johnson and Thomas Lowe.

With over 30 employees at the present financial facility, bank officers include Ollech as president; Janet North Pree, vice president, Eileen Zank, cashier; Gordon Vine, agricultural loan officer, Jim Bautsch, personal loan officer; and Elizabeth Wilsmann and Betty Zerbel, assistant cashiers.

Present board members include Ollech, Pree, John D. Wuethrich, Dr. E.H. Brekke, Elton F. Imig and Lloyd C. Meyer.



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