From the Wellsville Daily Reporter, August 15, 1906. This building still stands on the southwest corner of Main Street and Madison Street in Wellsville. It currently (2015) houses a branch of Community Bank. Researched, transcribed, and compiled by Stephen Sweet. Web article by Stephen Sweet.
The New First National Bank of Wellsville
A More Complete and Beautiful Banking House Cannot Be Found Outside the Large Cities– – –Is the Result of Months of Hard Work and Planning– – –Edward P. York the Architect Is An Old Wellsville Boy– – – Many Conveniences for Customers Including Ladies Waiting Room
Everyone knows the beauty and artistic effect of the exterior of the new First National Bank building, But a few of our citizens have as yet seen the complete and very modern and convenient interior. The new bank building was occupied for the first time on Monday and a finer or more beautiful and complete banking house cannot be found outside the large cities. In fact it is doubtful if another structure as good can be found in any village of less than 5000 people. It is the result of many months of planning and hard work. It is a credit first to the splendid institution that has built and will occupy it, next to its designers and all the workmen who have been engaged in erecting it, and lastly it should and will be a pride to every citizen of our thriving village, for few cities of 50,000 people have such a beautiful and modern banking house.
A Modern Banking Building.
The first steps were taken when former Pres. William F. Jones, looking to the needs of the future, purchased the Coats house and and lot next to the city hall some four years ago. He felt the old banking house was too small and inconvenient for the growing business. The detail of planning the work and carrying it out has been well performed by the president of the Bank, Mr. J. B. Jones, who has made many trips to New York and other cities to get the very latest and best ideas in bank buildings. The architect who has so ably planned this bank is an old Wellsville boy, Mr. Edward P. York, now one of the best known architects in New York and the firm of York & Sawyer make a specialty of modern bank buildings and large public buildings of all kinds. Mr. York says this is a model country bank and so well liked is the plan that it was published in full in the Architectural Review and commented upon as an ideal banking house.
Entering the building from the street, one passes under the large limestone portico through double mahogany doors into a well lighted vestibule with inner swinging doors to keep out the cold in winter and heat in summer. Once inside the vestibule one enters the customers’ lobby, a circular room fifteen by twenty feet floored with mosaic tiling and with mottled Vermont marble counter rails topped by handsome plate glass and brass railing. Around this circular space are five windows, giving the customers direct access to every department of the bank. At the right is the Receiving Teller's window, to receive all deposits, second the Paying Teller’s window, where the customer may present any check or draft upon which he desires the cash, next the Discount Clerk where one can go to get credit upon notes, drafts or collateral and to the left the two bookkeepers where any customer may speak directly to the individual bookkeepers on any matter pertaining to their personal accounts and not have to wait in line to talk to the tellers.
The Ladies Waiting Room.
At the right of the entrance is the Officers’ room with the desks of the President and Cashier of the Bank so that one can speak with the executive of the bank without an extra step or moment’s loss of time. At the left of the entrance is the Ladies’ Room, or customers’ waiting room, where are table and chairs and every convenience for ladies to transact business direct with the Cashier of the Bank and away from any confusion or intrusion. This room is usually only found in city banks but the First National people will make this a very desirable feature and wish to state to the public that they desire all their customers, old and new, to come and feel at home in the customer's room. It is there for their use and designed to make banking easy and pleasant for those who may not have had constant business training. It is a convenient place for out-of-town ladies to wait while the men may be busy at the stores.
The clerks of the bank have their private entrance through the side door and have a rear hall where are located wash rooms, toilet and lockers. The main room is splendidly furnished with black birch desks and counters. The tellers’ room is enclosed in a bronze cage with closed door, making their cash and work safe from any daylight holdup. They communicate with the bookkeepers through a bronze wicket window and the cashier’s desk is equipped with electric call bells, where by pressing a button he can call the clerk from any department by a buzzer on the clerk’s desk without disturbing any other clerk. At the rear is the fine directors’ room, finished in mahogany with high wainscoting and colonial mantle. The furniture throughout the bank is in keeping with the solidity and beauty of the architecture.
The Burglar Proof Safety Vault.
The vital feature of a strong bank is its safety vaults. This bank has a burglar proof vault that is a model. It was designed for First National by Frederic Holmes the acknowledged highest expert in burglar proof vault construction. He is consulting engineer in this line only. The outer doors weigh over nine tons, think of it, 18,000 pounds and are swung on ball bearing hinges and shot air-tight with a mariner’s pressure wheel. The outer door has triple movement Sergeant Time locks which open the doors automatically by clock work. The inner door is also protected with five inches of case hardened armour plate and behind this are two sliding doors of chilled steel bars for daylight protection, opened by pass keys. The entire vault is double lined with chilled steel bars set in 24 inches of solid concrete, making it absolutely impossible to blow, dig, chisel or drill through it. The interior of the vault is electric lighted and has [125?] special safety deposit boxes for public use. The bank has a special closed booths for customers’ use, also two closed telephone booths for long distance telephone work. A rear room for stenographers’ use, completes this modern and splendid equipment.
A Strong Institution.
The First National Bank has the largest capital and surplus of any bank in Allegany County and the largest deposit line both in number of deposits and amount of deposits. It was formed in the early eighties by the merging of the private bank of Hoyt and Lewis into a National Bank in January 1883. E.J. Farnum, W.. F. Jones, the Cobbs, of Spring Mills, and H. N. Lewis were the bank’s founders. Hon. Wm. F. Jones is the only one of the bank’s founders still active in its management. He has been on the Board of Directors for 23 years and for many years was its guiding spirit and First Vice President and then for ten years its President. Western New York has had no better banker than he, nor more reliable and able financier. To his clear thought and careful ways is due largely the steady growth and splendid business of this bank. The present President of the bank is Mr. J. B. Jones, who succeeded to the office four years ago and the bank has shown splendid growth under his management. He is one of the younger active men of the town but is recognized as a careful and very energetic businessman. The Vice President of the bank is Hon. C. A. Farnum, an able lawyer and business man and ex-judge of Allegany County. The Cashier is Mr. Geo. B Wilcox, who has been with the bank for the past 15 years. He entered the bank as bookkeeper immediately after leaving college. He is very popular with all the people and is deservedly successful and is one of the hardest working men in Wellsville. These officers are ably assisted by a strong board of Directors representing Wellsville's leading business interests. Geo. E. Brown for many years the superintendent and manager of the big U.S. Leather Company tanneries, James H. McEwen, the leading manufacturer and employer of labor in Wellsville and a large oil producer, Dr. Geo. H. Witter, successful physician and business man, and Mr. William Duke, now in France but who makes his home in Wellsville and is largely interested in oil producing and lumber.
Sound Financial Management.
This fine bank and its successful growth means much for Wellsville and its continued growth and prosperity are assured. Its financial management is sound and safe as a rock. Its funds are safely invested and safely managed and its customers always get all accommodations consistent with sound banking. Probably no bank in Western New York has enabled so many small oil producers to reach a position of independence as has the First National of Wellsville by its timely and strong support to worthy men. May its star always shine and its influence always be, as in the past, for the continued growth and upbuilding of Wellsville.