Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By Lois E. Johnson
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

Local piece of history returns home after 100 years


February 28, 2019

Lois Johnson

Sandy and Vern Cheney stand with the BANK stone now on display at First National Bank.

The concrete bank sign has been returned to its owner 100 years later. It is on display in the front entrance of the First National Bank on Elm Avenue in Moose Lake, just in time for the celebration of the bank's 100th anniversary this year.

The story about the bank and the concrete sign is told in a sign above the concrete block engraved with the word "BANK" in the display.

The sign, complete with photos of the of the burned shell of the bank building after the 1918 fire describes the history of the bank:

In 1902, the first banking facility was established in Moose Lake. John and L. M. Street started the State Bank of Moose Lake. The bank was located where the Star Gazette office is today. They operated it until 1910 when they sold to S. A. Jacobson and C. J. Dodge.

In 1915, Walfred Westholm and Ole and Seimer Swanson opened the Farmers State Bank in a new building, which they built just south of the Swanson Brothers store (across the street from the First National Bank of Moose Lake's downtown office.)

The 1918 fire changed everything including the banking institutions. The Farmer's State Bank building was destroyed.

Lois Johnson

A close-up of the plaque explaining the bank's history.

This cement stone with "BANK" carved in it can be seen above the doorway of the Farmer's State Bank ruins (in the photo). It was taken from the post fire rubble by Paul Fetters. He used it as a step into the porch of his original farm house until his death in 1977. At that time, Paul's granddaughter, Sandra Cheney, inherited the stone and used it in her flower bed. In 2018, in honor of the 100th anniversary of the fire, Vern and Sandy Cheney donated the stone back to the community.

Within six months after the fire, Farmers State Bank took over the assets of the State Bank of Moose Lake. In October 1919, one year after the fire, the Security State Bank of Moose Lake was formed. The bank was located in the south end of the Pomish Building, which still stands today.

In 1920, Farmers State Bank built a new building at the present location of the First National Bank.

In 1926, Farmer's State Bank closed. Security State Bank changed its name to First National Bank of Moose Lake and purchased the Farmer's State Bank building for $12,000. Many people remember that building as it stood until 1983.


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