Banking in Cherryvale started at 103 East Main on September 25, 1880, when the present Peoples State Bank opened for business as a private banking enterprise, then known as the Exchange Bank. The first bank President was Captain Chatham T. Ewing and Charles A. Mitchell was the first Cashier.
Until 1891, anyone could engage in banking, with or without capital. The Exchange Bank continued to operate as a private bank until January 1, 1885 when it was one of the first 12 Kansas banks chartered into the national banking system.
The bank denationalized to a state bank charter on September 25, 1909, and became The Peoples State Bank. At that time the bank President was D.W. McKinley, B.F. Moore served as Vice-President, and Charles A. Mitchell was still Cashier.
In the early years of banking, robbery insurance was not available and it was up to the bank staff to take whatever means necessary to protect the customers’ deposits. Peoples State Bank’s original security system consisted of two large 45-caliber revolvers that were kept within the teller cages.
Eventually, a complicated system of electric batteries connected to alarm bells in neighboring businesses was installed. The bank supplied Winchester rifles to these businessmen and when one of the concealed buttons located on the bank floor was stepped on, these merchants were to rush in and engage in battle with the bandits.
In 1929 two bandits entered the Peoples State Bank with drawn pistols. Three customers and all the bank employees were forced to lie face down during the hold-up. The bandits kidnapped the Assistant Cashier and took him on a wild ten mile ride before releasing him. Approximately $1,500 was taken, which was insured. The robbers were never apprehended.
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Fortunately, it wasn’t long before burglar alarms were added which could be heard for miles around. And while there were several false alarms over the years, there was only one other robbery ever attempted at Peoples State Bank, and that was at the bank’s drive-thru.
Before Safe Deposit Boxes were invented, the bank allowed customers to keep private boxes in the large vault. The boxes were of various sizes and most had the owner’s name inscribed on them. Some had simple locks and others had little hasps and padlocks. Even though most of them could probably have been readily opened with a screw driver there were never any
complaints. The original doors of our old vault may still be seen in the City Clerk’s office at City Hall.
While the zinc smelter was in operation, the bank’s back room was used for making up the monthly payroll for plant workers. Each month, the smelter’s horse- drawn carriage would dash up in front of the bank with two smelter officials and two guards with shotguns. These men would hurry into the bank and the back room would be ready with cash in suitable denominations
for filling pay envelopes.
In the days when Cherryvale had no electricity, the bank was quite progressive by installing two rotary fans - each not more than a foot in diameter. They were each solidly connected to cast iron pipe and run by water power. While these fans did make the building more tolerable, they had a bad habit of leaking large quantities of water if not watched carefully.
In 1925 Roy W. Shaw began his banking career in Cherryvale. In 1940, he succeeded D.W. McKinley who had been the bank President for 31 years. The Vice President was George Taaffe and Ed C. Eagles was Cashier.
John Bertoncino, Jr. and Leo Kent purchased controlling stock in the bank from Roy Shaw in February of 1963. Shortly thereafter, in July, 1964, they sold the stock to Charles D. (Bud) Thompson, who had been president of the State Bank of Westfalia, Kansas.
Eventually, Bud’s son, Terry Thompson became President of the bank. The bank grew dramatically during the time the Thompson family owned the bank.
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During 1969, buildings that had housed Oakleaf & Son Real Estate Offices, the Swap Shop, Plummer’s Repair, Bill’s Barber Shop, and The Thrift Shop and Pet Store were razed for the construction of the current bank building.
In the 1980’s banking was hit with tough times, and Peoples State Bank was no exception. Dozens of foreclosed properties were sold at auction as the bank experienced troubled business, oil, agriculture and real estate loans.
In September, 1990, the Thompson family sold their interest in the Peoples State Bank and Bert D. Blackard became President. Today, Mr. Blackard is President and Chairman of the Board. He is responsible for all management aspects of the bank. Through his holding company, he owns 100% of the stock of Peoples State Bank and of the First National Bank of Howard, Kansas. His son Samuel E. Blackard is Executive Vice President and manages the day-to-day operations of the bank and serves on the bank’s Board of Directors.
The other members of the Bank’s Board of Directors are Robert C. Gill, Dr. Robert M. Osborn, and L. Joe Bahr.
Peoples State Bank offers a complete range of financial services with a speed and efficiency that could only be dreamed about in the good old days.
Peoples State Bank is the sole survivor of more than ten banks and one savings and loan association that began in Cherryvale. Over the last decade, this bank has become one of the safest and best capitalized banks in Southeast Kansas. You can trust us with your future.
Cherryvale’s Hometown Bank Since 1880!