First National Bank of Lake Village: The Final Twist

The stockholders of the new First National Bank of Lake Village convened November 8, 1918. “The bank has purchased a site and will install fixtures in the former Citizens’ State bank location, near the court square” (Daily Arkansas Gazette, Nov 8, 1918, p. 14). Yes, once again, the little one-story building at 117 Main was used as a bank.

By 1925, First National had begun erection of an extension behind the bank to increase space. First came the flood of 1927 and then the Great Depression. The news in October 1931 was not good:

Lake Village Bank Fails to Open Doors Friday.

The First National Bank of Lake Village closed Friday and was to be taken over by the comptroller of currency. The decision to close was reached at a meeting of the board of directors Thursday night and followed heavy withdrawals recently.

Hope Star, Oct 2, 1931, p. 1.

ARKANSAS BANK CLOSES.

The First National Bank of Lake Village was closed yesterday for liquidation, leaving a bank at Eudora as the only one in operation in Chicot county.

The Shreveport Journal, Oct 3, 1931, p. 2.

The bank was reorganized and reopened September 10, 1932. According to the Courier News (Mar 14, 1949, p. 20), Sam Houston Williams reorganized the First National. Lake Village banks are missing from the newspapers, until early 1935 when the publisher of the Memphis Commercial Appeal ran a story about the sale of the old Chicot Trust Company building in an unadvertised sale when the Arkansas banking department sold the bank building to a Lake Village attorney. The attorney paid $4,500, only $500 of which was in cash, and in exchange, received the bank building valued at $20,000 and “other assets” valued at $182,000. Those assets included 2300 acres of land, mortgages secured by land, the bank building, fixtures, and an additional $50,000 in uncollected stock assessments. The state bank department inventoried the assets at a total value of $202,738.49–and sold it for $4500 (Camden News, Jan 22, 1935, p. 5).

From this, I can deduce that the building constructed by Chicot Bank and Trust in 1919 was still extant, which causes me to speculate that the location was indeed at 201 Main, where the current Bank of Lake Village occupies the ca. 1927 building according to Sandra Taylor Smith (2010) who prepared the nomination form for the National Register of Historic Places, OR that the Chicot Bank and Trust building was demolished sometime before or after the flood of 1927 and a replacement bank constructed that never made the news beyond local, to which I have no access. The 1927 photograph of Lake Village shows what appears to be the current bank building already in existence.

James Hammond, publisher of the Commercial Appeal, offered $10,000 for the building alone if the state banking commissioner set aside the former sale, and the commissioner, Marion Wasson, accepted the offer.

In August 1937, the Northwest Arkansas Times reported the First National Bank of Lake Village planned to become a state chartered bank after James Hammond gained controlling stock. In January 1951, the president of the Bank of Lake Village since 1932 according to an item in the Delta Democrat Times, was re-elected president of the bank. When Dr. B. C. Clark died later that month and a new president was selected, the same newspaper reported Dr. Clark had been the bank president for the past 29 years, which would put him at being with the bank since 1922. The current Bank of Lake Village website states in the history of the bank that it was established in 1937 on the foundation of Chicot Bank and Trust. This leads me to believe that Chicot Bank and Trust’s new building was located at 201 Main, which it currently occupies, and that through all of the reorganizations following the flood, Great Depression, subsequent closures and reopenings, that the First National Bank which was in the first Chicot Bank building was able to acquire the newer bank once Hammond had controlling stock, and it subsequently became the Bank of Lake Village.

Confirmation was obtained by the 1937 records of the FDIC records listing mergers of insolvent banks that were absorbed, succeeded or went into voluntary liquidation. The First National Bank of Lake Village was succeeded by Bank of Lake Village after First National was liquidated November 9, 1937.

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7 Responses to First National Bank of Lake Village: The Final Twist

  1. Pingback: First National Bank of Lake Village: The Final Twist Suzassippi’s Lottabusha County Chronicles | Ups Downs Family History

  2. I’ve enjoyed reading about the bank. What struck me in this post was the newspaper, the Commercial Appeal. My folks had that paper and the evening paper from Memphis delivered to our house. Our town was 50 miles north of Memphis. Well, the town is still there, but we aren’t.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. peggy says:

    Interesting. I doubt that I would do the exstincive reasearch you do to find out about the history of towns and buildings in the late 1800s to early 1900s,, but I must admit I enjoyed reading your posts.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Betty says:

    A mystery to me is why assets valued at $202,738.49 were sold for $4500. But was this the sale that was later “set aside” for the $10,000 building only sale? You are quite the researcher.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Suzassippi says:

      The state legislature investigated and Wasson was cleared, but ‘rumors’ had it the attorney was profiting. He advertised land for sale that was obtained through the $4500 sale. There was no indication of if the entire deal was set aside, or just the bank building.

      Liked by 1 person

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