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Walcott bank preserves history in the midst of modernization

The stately look of the Walcott Trust and Savings Bank is being preserved despite the banks renovations now going on. Most of the work will take place in the upper floor of the 1877 building. One drawback: No longer will a bank employee be able to live in the apartments above the bank.

WALCOTT -- The story goes that within half a century from the time it was founded in 1854, Walcott had become the richest community of its size in the entire world. The idea is less surprising than it may seem at first glance, since Scott County is still recognized as some of the richest farming country in the United States. The result of all that wealth was that, at one time, Walcott was served by two banks .

``The Walcott Savings Bank was built in about 1905, and this building was built in 1877,'' said Stan Goodyear, CEO of the present Walcott Trust and Savings Bank. ``It was originally a hotel, then it became a general store.

``In 1931, the two banks merged to become Walcott Trust and Savings Bank, and the building became one-half bank, one-half general store. In 1965, the bank took over the entire building.'' To keep up with progress and the steadily growing bank clientele, a drive-through was added in 1985. The bank, which has continued to grow, now is undergoing a major renovation.

``We're expanding into our upstairs area,'' said Mr. Goodyear. ``We're adding about 5,000 square feet of space and remodeling the first level.''

He said the project will cost more than $1 million with the new furniture and computer equipment.

One drawback to the expansion is that it will use space that for many years, has been apartments.

``Over the years, there's usually been at least one employee living above the bank, but we've grown so much, we had to expand,'' Mr. Goodyear said.

The exterior of the old building will be left intact. ``We struggled with drawing after drawing trying to preserve the outside of the building,'' said Mr. Goodyear, who has been CEO for four years.

``This is one of the few banks around that's still in the original building. It's been given awards by the Scott County Preservation Society,'' he said.

The bank never has lost money -- even during the Depression. Today, it has about $51 million dollars in assets.

-- By Catherine Guy

Copyright 1999, Moline Dispatch Publishing Co.