From Bank to Museum

1910-1931 Farmers Savings Bank Constructed and Operated
1910 Dentist Office Operated on 2nd Floor
1935-1998 Lamont Post Office Operated on 1st Floor
1939 Doctors Office Operated on 2nd Floor
2003-Present Lamont Museum

The small community of Lamont grew very quickly after the Chicago Great Western Railroad ran through town in 1886. The first and only bank in the community was a private bank known as the Bank of Lamont run by Oscar Tuttle. As the community grew The Bank of Lamont was not able to meet the needs of the community. It was clear an incorporated bank was needed to meet the growing needs of Lamont. The Lamont Savings Bank was formed on April 4th 1892. The first officers were: A.R. Loomis, president; M.F. LeRoy, cashier; A.R. Loomis, E.S. Cowles, M.F. LeRoy, E.H. Hoyt, and E.M. Carr directors. The capital stock was $10,000.00. The Lamont Savings Bank grew with the community and built a new building in 1905.
Lamont Savings Bank built in 1905

The community continued to grow at a fast pace for the next several years prompting the need for a second bank. Rumors circulated for several years about building a second bank in the Lamont community. These rumors came true on Friday January 7th 1910. Homer Pitner cashier of the Commercial National Bank of Cedar Rapids and A.L. Seeber cashier of the Dundee Savings Bank led the meeting held at the National Hotel. The meeting was packed with local citizens, businessmen and farmers. The decision was reached to open a new bank named the Farmers Savings Bank with a capital stock of $15,000.00.

The bank consisted of over 40 stock holders of local business men and farmers. The goal was to have all necessary paper work completed and everything in order to open the bank on February 20th. The articles of incorporation were drawn up and a board of directors and officers were voted on. D.J. Kenna was voted president, W.C. Falck vice president, and Paul H Huston cashier. The board of directors were Fred Retz, D.J. Kenna, J.H. Brown, A.K. Anderson, Thomas Vanek all from Lamont, A.L. Seeber from Dundee, and W.C. Falck from Arlington.
Farmers Savings Bank built in 1910

On February 3rd 1910 the board of directors met and voted to purchasing the vacant lot north of the National Hotel owned by Frank Svodoba. The plans for the new building were discussed as well as plans to hire a cashier. The front room in the National Hotel was secured to serve as temporary quarters for the bank until the new building was completed.

Matt J Nolan was hired on February 17th to serve as the head cashier. Matt had been employed as cashier at the Masonville Savings Bank in Masonville. The opening day of the bank was February 21st 1910.
Matt J Nolan

By the middle of March George Netcott of Independence was hired as the architect and plans for the building were approved. It would be a two story fire proof building with all the best features of the day including steam heating, tile floors, oak woodwork, and tin ceilings. The exterior walls would be the finest Kansas City pressed brick and trimmed in Bedford Stone. Ed Duckett was hired to begin the excavating. A team of volunteers were formed to haul the dirt from the basement to the new city park. The building would have a full basement constructed of crushed stone, cement, and sand.

It was the first of its kind in the area. Carl Staver was hired to do the concrete work of the basement walls. H.C. Ehrke was hired as the contractor to build the building. On December 20th 1910 the building was completed except for the tile floor in the lobby and vestibule. The cabinets and furniture were installed by the Key City Bank Furniture Company of Dubuque. The bank left their temporary quarters in the National Hotel and moved into their new building which was the grandest building in the community.
Construction of Farmers Saving Bank

The first floor of the building was used for general banking while the second floor was used as offices. Dr. R. A. Grenwalt, a dentist, occupied an office on the second floor for many years. In 1921 the bank was sold and renamed The Farmers State Bank. In 1931 the great depression was being felt across the country. The Lamont Savings Bank was forced to close in the spring. The Farmers State Bank was able to hang on till December at which time it was forced to close. The building and all fixtures were placed in hands of the state bank examiner.
Construction of Farmers Saving Bank

Lindsay Barr purchased the building from the State of Iowa in January of 1935. He used his political influence to secure a contract with The United States Postal Service. The building became home to the Lamont Post Office in June of 1935. It was home to the post office until 1998. In the summer of 1939 the second floor was remodeled for an office and living area for Lamont’s new doctor, Dr. L.A. Ford and family. In 1950 Dr. Ford moved his practice into a new building across the street. Dr. Ford and his family continued to live in the building for a few years till building a new home.
Dr. L.A. Ford and Fran in front of the building.

Mike Cook bought the building from Donald L Hoth, Lindsay Barr’s son in law, in 1998. Since that time extensive renovations have been done to the building. The Lamont Museum opened in the building in the spring of 2003.