210 South Center Street - People's Loan and Savings Bank by Steve Hill

Last Updated 3/4/2024In History

In June 1914, work began on Statesville’s newest bank, the People’s Loan and Savings Bank. The old residence that had occupied the lot next to the courthouse had been jacked up and rolled over to Meeting Street to make room for the new modern beauty. By Christmas of ’14 the bank had moved in and was enjoying great success
The two-story structure, described as “Neo-Classical design featuring 20th century architecture,” was built with the capability of adding additional stories in the future. The upper floor was fitted for offices and most of them had been rented by opening day. Insurance men and lawyers seemed partial to the building. Law, insurance, and doctor’s offices were located there for many years. The lawyers took all the rooms on the lower floor in the rear portion, just a few steps from the courthouse. A side entrance in the rear opened on the courthouse lawn.The building was outfitted with “every convenience known to modern construction.” Contractor Frye saw that all work was well done and that the banking room proper was a model. There was a large fireproof and burglar proof vault, a big safe, and all the other fixtures and conveniences of a big city bank. The furniture was of marble and mahogany in order to add an appearance of solidity and richness to the room.
At the close of business on the opening day, People’s had taken in $41,730.26 in deposits. The big boys on the square, the First National Bank, had only raised $15,000 the first three days of operation 27 years earlier. For more that 60 years, Peoples Loan & Savings was a financial staple in Statesville. Unlike two of its main competitors, the First National and Commercial National Banks, it survived bankruptcy brought on by mis-management, graft, and the Great Depression. In 1957 a merger changed the institution’s name to Northwestern Bank. Two years later, Northwestern built a larger facility down the street at Front and Center, but the 210 location continued to serve as their installment loan division.
A U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey Marker was installed outside the building providing passers-by Statesville’s official elevation. In 1983 a group of local investors purchased the old bank building and, with help from a Mainstreet façade improvement incentive grant, transformed it into the showroom and headquarters for Classic Jewelers where they remained for 20 years. Upstairs apartments were added around 2007.Today, Vault Provisions offers downtown Statesville a wide variety of specialty food options inside the old People’s Bank Building. The owners have beautifully retained the stoic banking theme in this historic place.

Thank you to Steve Hill with the Statesville Historical Collection for gathering and writing this information and his unending willingness to share his knowledge of our City.

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