A Brief History
The First National Bank
101 North Main Street
Since the earliest days of Shawano, there’s been a bank building on the northwest corner of Main and Greenbay Streets. Although the building has changed several times over the past 140 years, there’s still a bank located on this property.
From The Shawano Story
1874-1974 Shawano Centenial Book
We find the first mention of banking in 1857 when incorporation papers filed in the office of the Register of Deeds in Shawano County on May 16, 1857. A bank, under the 1852 state Banking Authority Law was organized by W.A. Loordayet of Chicago in 1857.
The bank started business on June 1, 1857, but stayed only about two years, after which it moved its charter to Chilton, Wisconsin, and later to Sheboygan, Wisconsin. The bank was known as the Shaw-anaw Bank.
Apparently, Shawano had no banking facilities until 1881 when F.W. Humphrey organized the Shawano County Bank under a charter and operated the same until about 1900 when the bank was reorganized and chartered as a National Bank under the laws of the United States. Charles Upham was one of the organizers of the Shawano County Bank and its successor, the First National Bank, and was its president for nearly twenty years.
Prominent in the banking business, in addition to the above mentioned men, were D.H. George, W.C. Zachow, M.J. Wallrich. D.E. Wescott, A.C. Weber, K. Weeman, and H. Mittlestadt. The original bank building was erected about 1887 and about 1902 a new bank was organized by a group of citizens headed by Antone Kuckuk, C.R. Stier, Ira Weeks, F.J. Martin and others. This bank was organized as the German American Bank, later changing its name to Wisconsin National Bank in 1918. G.H. Klosterman became its president in 1908.
The Wisconsin National Bank consolidated with the First National Bank in 1932. The First National Bank changed its name to Shawano National Bank and decades later and was aquired by Valley Bank of Appleton. Valley was aquired by M&I, and M&I by BMO Harris. Today the building on this historic corner is the BMO bank.
From a newspaper article in the early 1900’s:
The First National Bank of Shawano was originally established in 1882, at which time it was known as the Shawano County bank. It was a state bank, but two years ago it was changed from this to a national bank, with a capital stock of $50,000, which stock was increased from $30,000. The officers and stockholders of this bank are among the wealthiest men of the state of Wisconsin, some of them being Oshkosh people. The president is W. B. Lachow; vice president, D.E. Wescott; cashier and treasurer, W. Humphrey.
The loans and discounts of this bank are $200,000, deposits are $260,000. It is located in a very handsome two story brick structure, which belongs to the bank and under the guiding hand of Mr. Humphrey is enjoying a large business. Mr. Zachow, the president, is interested largely in the Wolf River Paper & Fiber company, and is a man of strong financial standing throughout the state. The officers are M.J. Wallrich, of Shawano; D.H. George, Shawano; August Anderson, Shawano; and Charles Schriber, Oshkosh. All of these gentlemen are largely interested in other financial interest in the state. Mr. Wallrich, as stated above, has many interest in the state, Mr. George is agent of the Keshena reservation, Mr. Anderson is interested in the Paper & Fiber Company, and Mr. Schriber is cashier of the National Bank in Oshkosh. Besides Mr. Schriber, Mr. S.M. Hay, the present of the National Bank of Oshkosh, is a stockholder in this bank. So, that through a perusal of these short notes it will be seen that the First National Bank of Shawano is one of the strongest institutions to be found. All the proprietors of the bank are men who have grown up in the financial world, and are well adapted to taking care of the interest of the people.