Events that shaped us 

Marycrest International University
1607 W 12 St
Davenport, IA 52804

St. Ambrose University
518 W Locust
Davenport, IA 52804

Palmer College of Chiropractic
1000 Brady St
Davenport, IA 52803

Augustana College
639 38 St
Rock Island, IL 61201

H & R Block
1715 W Locust St
Davenport, IA 52804

E & J
200 24 Ave
Rock Island, IL 61201

American Institute of Commerce
1801 E Kimberly Rd
Davenport, IA 52807

Rock Island County Farm Bureau
1601 52 Ave
Moline, IL 61265

Hempel Pipe and Supply
951 S Rolff St
Davenport, IA 52802

McGladrey & Pullen, LLP
Certified Public Accountants and Consultants
220 North Main St Suite 900
Davenport, Ia 52801

McGladrey & Pullen, LLP
Certified Public Accountants and Consultants
600 35 Ave
Moline, IL 61265

1607 John Deere Rd
East Moline, IL 61244

John Deere Pavilion
1400 River Dr
Moline, IL 61265

John Deere Store
1300 River Drive Suite 100
Moline, IL 61265

Birdsell Chiropractic
1201 5th Ave
Moline, IL 61265

2484 53 St
Bettendorf, IA 52722

17th St and 5th Ave
Moline, IL 61265

2132 E 11 St
Davenport, IA

1422 5th Ave
Moline, IL 61265

Teske Pet & Garden Center
2432 16 St
Moline, IL 61265

Teske Pet & Garden Center
2395 Spruce Hills Dr
Bettendorf, IA 52722

Moline Welding Inc
1801 2 Ave
Moline, IL 61265

Barnett's House of Fireplaces
1620 5th Ave
Moline, IL 61265

DeGreve Oil Change
2777 18 St
Bettendorf, IA 52722

DeGreve Oil Change
3400 State St
Bettendorf, IA 52722

DeGreve Oil Change
3900 N Pine
Davenport, IA

DeGreve Oil change
2125 53 St
Moline, IL 61265

DeGreve Oil Change
1618 38 St
Rock Island, IL 61201

DeGreve Oil change
3560 N Brady St
Davenport, IA

1305 5 Ave
Moline, IL 61265

Pratt's Antiques
125 E Main St
Aledo, IL 61231

Main St Antiques
114 E Main St
Aledo, IL 61231

Conner Co
PO Box 888
East Moline, IL 61244

Kimball Cleaners
308 SW 5th Ave
Aledo, IL 61231

1930s bank closings left their mark

By Lisa Hammer, Dispatch/Argus Staff writer

Lisa Hammer / staff
Retired banker Mary Ann Long saved a number of historic documents including this March 27, 1933, telegram authorizing the State Bank of Orion to "resume business on an unrestricted basis" following the national bank moratorium and advising the bank to apply for membership in the federal reserve system. A second telegram from Washington, D.C. January 1, 1934 notified the bank of membership in the new Federal Deposit Insurance Fund. With Ms. Long is current bank president Jim Dingman.
Immediately after taking the oath of office in March 1933, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt ordered all banks across the country to lock their doors while it could be determined which ones were strong enough to reopen and to restore bank customers' faith.

Thirty-six states, including Illinois, had already called bank holidays on their own.

A disproportionate number of Henry County's banks and savings and loans didn't weather the Depression, according to Corn, Commerce and Country Living.

Farmers Bank of Orion closed in May, 1930. First National Bank in Cambridge closed in 1930; the State Bank there had closed in 1924. In Galva, the L. M. Yocum Bank and Farmers Bank both ceased operations in 1931.

Bank closures in Kewanee during the Depression included First National Bank of Kewanee with $1.6 million in assets, Union State Savings Bank and Trust with $975,000 in assets in 1931 and Kewanee State Savings Bank and Trust with deposits of $540,000. The Savings Bank of Kewanee had entered bankruptcy in 1927. Farmers State Bank in Alpha reopened after the 1933 moratorium when nearly 90 percent of their depositors waived 25 percent of their deposits.

John L. Greenwood, of Geneseo, was 15 when his father John T. Greenwood, cashier of Central Trust and Savings Bank, brought home the president's telegram announcing the bank holiday to show his wife.

For some reason, the young Mr. Greenwood accompanied his father on the walk back to the bank to post the telegram on the door, which had already been locked. Geneseo's other banks at the time were First National Bank and Farmers National Bank, now Norwest. First National reopened but its deposits were assumed by Farmers National Bank in the early '40s.

Mr. Greenwood said his father, George Dedrick and another bank official secured enough pledges to keep the Central Bank open and he remembers being surprised when his father went to the secretary of state's office in Chicago to follow up on arrangements to reopen the bank.

``I remember that because he wasn't one to travel,'' he said.

Roy Joe Klavine, of Geneseo, said there had been bank runs at the Geneseo Savings Bank where his parents had an account. Late one day a banker called his father.

``He told him, `Roy, you're always working so hard for your money, come up and get it, because the bank is going to go broke!''' said Mr. Klavine. The next day the bank closed.

Mary Ann Long was growing up on her parents' farm outside Orion when the banks closed. The bank was authorized to reopen after three weeks and three days on March 28, after the officers secured an additional $25,000 for a special cash reserve account.

``Walker Kerr was the cashier,'' said Ms. Long. ``All he had to do was make a few phone calls, and he had this set up in no time,'' she added. ``He needed a favor and there was no hesitation at all. He called a few families and it was all taken care of.''

Ten years later Ms. Long went to work for the bank, retiring as second vice-president last March.

She said Orion customers have been very proud of their strong bank, but on rare occasions when someone was a bit upset, they would sometimes tell her their grandfather ``saved the bank'' back in 1933. She looked up the record and found that 37 bank customers gave ``deferred certificates'' or guarantees in amounts ranging from $200 to $1,000 to keep the bank open.

``The names were people who were prominent at that time and people they could count on,'' said Ms. Long. ``Most people didn't have $1,000 in the Depression.''

Ms. Long said one day, probably in the 1950s, two women who were nurses brought in a suitcase full of $10 bills, saying they guessed banks were safe again. ``It took quite a while to count it,'' she said.

John Reed, now a resident of Hillcrest Home, said his parents' bank called a $50 loan for a bull when the banks closed. His parents didn't have the cash but their six children had that much between them in savings, accumulated coin by coin over years. It went for the $50 note.

``Checking accounts, shoot, those were gone and they didn't pay it back,'' he said. ``If you got money back on savings accounts, it was only a sprinkle.''

Mr. Reed said no one had collateral when they went to borrow money because farmland wasn't worth anything. ``There wasn't really any land value, because nobody would buy and nobody would sell,'' he said. ``Hogs were two or three cents a pound -- about like they are today. Farmers I know lived off chickens and milk cows.''

Rosemary Phillips and Hazel and Frank Erlandson of Cambridge agreed most people had little need for banks those days. The money they earned was spent immediately. Mr. Erlandson said they lived on 75 cents per week from selling butter and eggs.

``We didn't always have enough to eat,'' said Mrs. Erlandson.

``I don't know how many jobs I had cleaning house,'' said Mrs. Phillips. ``I rode my bike to and from.''

Albert Francque, of Geneseo, said his father had money in three banks and all of them closed for the bank holiday.

His sister Alma Wyffels said their family might have gotten a small portion of their parents' money back when the banks reopened, but she and her brother weren't as lucky. They were earning $3.50 per month to keep the school warm, ``banking'' the fire in the old-fasioned furnace at night and again in the morning.

All that money, as well as any change they got at holidays and birthdays, went to the bank and they didn't recover any of it after the moratorium. It was another Depression experience which turned them into frugal people, she said.

``You don't forget things like that,'' she said.

Laura Thomas said the Mineral school had a ``banking at school'' program operated by a local bank to teach children about banks and saving money. She and many of her first-grade classmates had money in the bank. When that bank abruptly closed in 1930, she lost $29.89. A lesson was learned -- just not the lesson the bank had intended.

Helen Lee said her father lost their Plymouth farm in the Depression. After that, he took smaller jobs including bookkeeper, village clerk and janitor. They operated a small-town telephone switchboard from their Nekoma home for 13 years and he always had a big garden and bee hives. Mrs. Lee enjoyed her parents' presence.

``It was nice because they were always around the home for us,'' she said. ``Even Dad was home since he just had part-time jobs.''

As a child, Harvey Miller of Cambridge avoided banks altogether, instead doing his "banking" along the railroad tracks. He explained.

There had been a bank robbery in Cambridge in 1929, with the robbers grabbing bags of coins and making their getaway on a railroad handcar. With the sheriff's men bearing down on them, they tossed their booty off the tracks and continued to flee. The bags burst apart.

``That's where we got our money when I was a kid,'' said Mr. Miller. ``We were always hoping to find a whole bag, but we never did. I'll bet you in my lifetime I probably found $20 or $25. We went down the railroad tracks anyway to go swimming in the mudhole, so it gave us something to do coming and going.''

Copyright 1999, Moline Dispatch Publishing Co.