National Bank moves into old garage building

Hannah Gross

Hannah Gross

NLJ Correspondent 

With Leonard Cash, historian


Leonard Cash has been doing a series on the various businesses on 204 W. Main St., where the present-day Weston County Courthouse Annex building is. Those businesses included a mercantile, the Weston County Bank, and Ford Motor Co. This week, he will discuss one final business that once resided there: National Bank of Newcastle, which opened on Oct. 21, 1963. 

Starting off with an article from the June 27, 1963, News Letter Journal, the Comptroller of Currency in Washington, D.C., announced that the National Bank was granted preliminary approval for a charter, giving the bank 90 days to complete its organization, remodel a building, secure management and begin operations. Initial capital was approved at $225,000. 

The Aug. 8, 1963, paper reported that V.C. Thompson won the contract to remodel the former Ford garage for approximately $60,000. 

A few weeks later, nine men were elected to the board of directors during a stockholders meeting. Local rancher Joe Watt became the president and chairman of the board, and Burke Peterson of Lusk was moving to Newcastle to take charge as executive
vice president.

According to a news report from Oct. 17, 1963, the National Bank of Newcastle was holding its grand opening from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. to introduce personnel and conduct tours of “their attractive new home at Main and Seneca throughout the day.” The bank was equipped to offer complete services, including a drive-in and night depository. The bank had capital of $50,000, undivided profits of $125,000 and a surplus of $50,000.

The next article in Cash’s record is dated Jan. 11, 1968. Bill Spence, who had been an assistant cashier since 1966, was named the new bank teller, and a few months later, around March 21, 1968, Ted Nelson joined National Bank as manager.  

On July 4, 1968, the paper announced that John T. Vucurevich, president of Rushmore State Bank in Rapid City, South Dakota, purchased the stock of Watt, Peterson and George Mills. He was elected the new president of the bank.

By May 11, 1972, Don Howell, who worked under Siel Williams and First State Bank in the past, became assistant cashier while Spence moved up the line to become vice president cashier.

Four Wyoming banks were to be sold, according to the Nov. 20, 1980, issue of the paper, including the National Bank of Newcastle. Ry Dinsdale wanted to acquire major interest in Wyoming Bancorporation, the state’s largest bank holding company, but it was rejected by the Federal Reserve Board because it was considered a threat to competition. 

In the months that followed, Wayne Ebel sold National Bank of Newcastle, announced an article from Feb. 5, 1981, along with three other state banks for $3 million to $3.5 million. The new owners were H.D. Shellenberger, Joe Huckfeldt and Ry Dinsdale. 

By July 15, 1982, plans were being made for a new drive-up facility, according to president Russell Knight, estimated costs landing at $137,000. The project would begin by tearing down the brick building between the alley on South Seneca and TOCO. Two teller stations would be added, including room for a third. Four vehicles could be in line at a time, in addition to nine customer parking spaces, with employee parking at a
lower level.

The following year, another $125,000 contract was awarded to Tri-State Construction Co. in Belle Fourche, South Dakota, according to the May 19, 1983, paper. The project was to extend the bank to the sidewalk on both sides, change the entrance to double doors and have a conference room, more offices and larger bookkeeping area. They would also be adding a new facelift and clay tile roof, finished to match the design of the bank.

A picture of the construction project appeared in the June 2, 1983, edition of the News Letter Journal, which began with the removal of a canopy on the bank corner. Another picture from Sept. 22, 1983, showed the progress of the brick work and the installation of the new roof.

That is the final article in Cash’s records on the National Bank of Newcastle. Eventually, Pinnacle Bank moved in around  the 1990s or early 2000s, according to Cash, until they constructed their new building on 1401 Washington Blvd. a few years ago.

Before we end “History on Main,” Cash wanted to give a brief summary of the
whole block. 

Starting with courthouse files, we will begin with lots 3 and 4. 

Frank Allebach, W.H. Fawcett and Frank Delehant purchased lot 4, before Allebach sold his interest to the other two in 1893. Around Dec. 5, 1892, J.L. Baird bought lot 3 for his mercantile, and In 1910, lot 4 of the property was handed over to the Thoeming Mercantile Co. (which was incorporated in 1909) for $5,000. A year later, Baird sold his lot to Thoeming.

After the 1912 fire, the Thoeming mercantile was handed over to Cyrus Dietz, a trustee, who was “to liquidate outstanding indebtedness.” Later, Cash said the mercantile opened where the Antler’s
is now. 

The lot stood empty for a number of years, according to Cash, but it changed owners a few times. Around 1915, both lots were sold to Fred Horton and David Kirkwood, and in 1922, J. Baird bought it and constructed a building for Baird Security Co., which was a real estate company. Later, Lindsay-Jessen Co. leased the building, and they merged with the Golden Rule store, announced a news advertisement from Dec. 27, 1928. The U.S. Post Office also leased the building in the
early 1920s. 

In 1924, it was sold to First National Bank and, in 1928, First State Bank, which was started by W.E. Dickey, took it over. The J.C. Penney store leased the west half of the one-story building and basement from 1930 until 1991, according to an article in Cash’s records. Dickeys owned the property until 1981, when it was sold to William and Cynthia Albert, as well as Arthur and Quindrid Albert (Cash said the Alberts ran a variety store where the Frontier is at). Although unsure of the history between then and the present, today it’s the location of the Strawberry Patch
Quilt shop.

Moving on to lot 5, R. Kilpatrick was the first owner from 1891 to 1892, when it was sold to John Ost, who had a hardware store. This store was in various locations, according to early newspaper records, but after burning in the 1912 fire, he rebuilt it on lot 5. The property remained in the Ost family until 1949 (although his hardware store sold out to the Gamble store in 1937), when the Newcastle Masonic Lodge No. 13, A.F. & A.M. purchased it along with lot 6. The lodge constructed the hall in 1950 and later added a second story. 

Beirnbaum & Son by Attorney Clark Stewart leased lot 5 from 1946 to Jan. 1, 1957. In 1950, Mush Creek Production Co., York Inc., Yorman Oil Co. and Monarch Drilling Co. acquired a 10-year lease for part of the building on lots 5 and 6. Harry Thorson leased an office around 1958, and Gambles was there until it went out of business in early 1980s, Cash said. Clark Stewart managed Gambles from 1943 and sold his interest in 1977, according to
news records. 

Much of the history of lot 6 is similar to lot 5 because it was the same building. J.L. Baird Mercantile had it from 1904 to 1911, when Thoeming bought it until it burned down. The rest of the history is similar to lot 5 since the building is connected, but Cash wanted to add that KASL started there, and the building was also used as a barber shop and other offices. 

That concludes lot 6, and next week, we will wrap up block 11 by going through lots 7 through 12.


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