Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Bank Closes Doors on 133 Years of Retail Service on Main Street

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Bank Closes Doors on 133 Years of Retail Service on Main Street

Article excerpt

In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln signed some significant and lasting pieces of legislation. The Emancipation Proclamation ended slavery, and the National Bank Currency Act put the country's banking system under the supervision of the federal government.

That same year, the First National Bank of St. Charles opened on the corner of Jefferson and Main streets. It became the first charter bank in St. Charles County and has been a landmark at 100 North Main Street for 133 years.

At 4:30 p.m. Thursday, its lobby doors were closed and its retail banking operations ended. Customers of the last Main Street bank in St. Charles had their accounts transferred to the Magna Bank branch at Fifth Street and First Capitol Drive. Most people bank by car now, said a Magna spokesman, and the old bank didn't have drive-through service.

The commercial banking business upstairs at 100 North Main will continue, and the drive-up automatic-teller machine in the rear parking area will remain. But the staid bank lobby, with its high ceilings and ornate woodwork, will close.

And the curtain will come down on a little slice of history.

Don Suellentrop made his last visit to the bank Thursday. He remembers bringing his first paycheck to the bank in 1948 and opening a savings account.

When he turned to leave the bank on that visit, he looked above the door and saw a guard in a bullet-proof compartment. The guard held a double-barrel shotgun pointed through a hole at the teller windows.

At first, Suellentrop was frightened and stunned. Then, he said, he figured it was a pretty safe place to bank. The guard with the shotgun is long gone, but Suellentrop has been coming to the bank for 48 years.

David Borgmeyer got his first job in banking in the 1960s in the bookkee ping department in the basement of the bank. Now, he is an assistant vice president and manager of the Main Street bank. …

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