Memories: Rise and Fall of the Lima Dime Savings Bank



Lima’s most recent bank had a “booming first day of business” when it opened at 130 S. Main St. on a Saturday morning 100 years ago.

“Greta Coon, 8-year-old daughter of Nathan Coon, 220 W. Circular St., made the first deposit at the new institution, her account being opened with a savings deposit of $ 10,” the Lima News wrote on October 9, 1921..

Seven months later, a large withdrawal was made from the bank by a young gunman, who entered the bank just after noon on a day in early May, jumped onto a counter with what witnesses will later recall d ‘a “wonderful agility”. and fired a shot in the ceiling to show the four bank employees, who initially thought this was all a joke, that it certainly wasn’t. He then rounded up the employees in a safe before putting over $ 4,000 from the safe and cash drawers in his pockets.

“With one more order of harsh silence,” reported the Lima Republican-Gazette on May 3, 1922, “he walked casually to the front office. There he turned around, made a casual attempt to smooth out the protruding pockets of his coat, took one last look at the safe and its occupants, and walked out the door.

Two days after the robbery, the gunman, along with three accomplices who had waited outside during the Lima robbery, were spotted in Canton. All four were killed in an hour-long shootout with police and a group of township citizens who joined in the shooting.

It had been a turbulent start to the relatively short history of the Lima Dime Savings Bank, which spanned less than a decade. The bank opened with bright hopes in the dawn of the 1920s before dying in the dark early days of the Great Depression.

“The Lima Dime Savings Bank, which will be located at 130 S. Main Street, was incorporated in Columbus yesterday with a capitalization of $ 50,000,” the Republican-Gazette reported on June 14, 1921.

Ira Wagner was one of four businessmen from Lima named founders of the new bank and was chosen as chairman by the bank’s board in September 1921.

“The bank will be similar to savings institutions in other cities and general commercial banking operations will be maintained, although the savings department will be the main feature, according to Wagner,” the newspaper wrote.

In 1923, the Dime Savings Bank expanded to new premises on the first floor of the Badeau Building, just north of its original location.

With the addition of the Badeau building, the bank also had one of the city’s most historic neighborhoods. Silas Badeau moved to Lima around 1860 and bought the property at the southwest corner of the square. In 1889, his widow, Elsie, built a three-story brick building on the site. At the time, noted the Republican-Gazette in October 1924, “the public square was empty of brick buildings, except for one at the southeast corner which is still standing.”

The main tenant of the Badeau block was the Cunningham Pharmacy, operated by Harold Cunningham, who started his business in 1887 and retired in 1919. Cunningham also served as chairman of the Lima City Council in 1891 when the first permanent sidewalk in the city ​​was placed on the Square. The other tenants of the building in 1890 were architect CH Miller and Matilda “Tillie” Badeau, daughter of Silas Badeau, who established an art studio on the second floor.

In January 1924, the Dime Savings Bank was looking for more space. On January 10, 1924, under the headline “‘Skyscraper’ proposed as bank house”, News newspaper reported: “It was proposed that the building (Badeau) be razed and that a new block be constructed or else that it be remodeled… Several shareholders expressed the opinion that the remodeling of the old structure would be a waste of funds, as the growth of the city makes the erection of a modern office skyscraper a business A building that will bring credit to the bank and dominate the square as a landmark for years to come. ”The“ skyscraper ”envisioned by shareholders would be 10 to 12 stories, wrote the newspaper.

In the end, a building half the height was erected on the site, and the Lima Trust Building, a 12-story structure erected around the same time at the northwest corner of the square and the street. market, would dominate the public square. In October 1924, the Badeau block was razed to make way for a new six-storey building.

The News reported in October 1925 that the new Badeau block was about to be completed.

“The entire first floor will be occupied by the bank and will have all modern comforts and facilities for all banking requirements. The strong financial position of the Lima Dime Savings Bank promises its ability to serve its growing city for many years to come, ”the News wrote.

In April 1926, it was announced that the Northwestern School of Commerce (now the University of Northwestern Ohio), which was organized in 1920, would join the bank in the new Badeau block. The hotel was moved in August 1928 to the corner of Market and West streets.

The optimism of 1925 collapsed with the stock market in October 1929, and one of the first victims of the Great Depression that followed was the Dime Savings Bank of Lima.

“The liquidation of the Lima Dime Savings Bank under the supervision of the state banking department is underway,” The News reported on March 19, 1930. “This action follows a meeting of the board of directors on Tuesday night and a notice issued by William Dauch, chairman, and HM Reed, secretary, said on Wednesday that this route had been decided in the best interests of shareholders and depositors.

Not all shareholders and depositors agreed, and a decade of litigation ensued. The Badeau Block continued as an office building, most notably during the Depression as the headquarters of the local branch of the Works Progress Administration, a New Deal agency employing millions to carry out public works projects.

Other uses have also been found for the building. In 1936, fireworks were launched from the top of the structure during the city’s 4th of July celebration. Later that month, a “giant sky projector, a light of more than six million candles,” drew crowds to the plaza as its operators used the building as a screen for a light show, according to the News.

After years of litigation, the Badeau block was put up for auction in February 1941 but failed to attract bidders. A second auction also produced no interest. Finally, in June 1941, the building was bought by Dauch Realty, owned by William Dauch, the last president of the Dime Savings Bank in 1930.

Over the following decades, the building, which became known as the Dauch Block, served as quarters for, among other things, Blue Cross-Blue Shield and One-Hour Cleaning Service, which the Lima Citizen said was ready. to support Richard Nixon’s pants in case of need during the then-presidential candidate’s visit to Lima in October 1960.

The block was razed in June 1981 to make way for the Veterans Memorial Civic Center.

An artist rendering shows what the Dime Savings Bank building looked like in its heyday, in what is now called Town Square in Lima. The Lima Dime Savings Bank opened in 1921 and moved into a larger building in 1925 before the Great Depression destroyed the bank in 1930.

Contact Greg Hoersten at [email protected]



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