Pomeroy Washington Downtown National Historic District
Historic District Downtown Building Inventory
Seen in 2021, Knettle State Bank on the right, The Knettle Building on the left.
Current (2021) address: 850 Main Street
1953 address: Bank of Pomeroy, 949 Main street, Phone 5
Classification: Historic Contributing
In 1904, F.M. Hinkley and R.D. Walker announced the sale of their interest in the Garfield County Bank to N.D. Knettle who renamed the bank, the Knettle Bank. A pioneer of Garfield County of 1877, Knettle moved into Pomeroy in 1889 and became active in the development of the community. He built the Knettle Grand Theatre and was an agent for the Pacific Coast Elevator Company. The December 26, 1914, East Washingtonian reported that the Knettle Bank had received its state charter and was now known as the "Knettle State Bank." (Baldwin, page 56) Knettle died in October 1926 and his wife, Nancy Overholser, died in 1929. Knettles' son, Leroy N., operated the bank until it closed on 31 December 1935, due to the economic conditions of the Great Depression.
In 1951, the Bank of Pomeroy was established, and the organizers purchased the Knettle State Bank building. The new bank modernized the interior and opened for business in May 1952 (East Washingtonian, 1 May 1952). In January, 1957, executives from the National Bank of Commerce, headquartered in Seattle, came to town to view their latest acquisition. The NBC later moved their branch office to the Chard building offices recently vacated by the Post Office.
Other occupants have included an archery shop and a museum. At the time of the Nomination, the Bank of Whitman occupied the building. Following the closure of the Bank of Whitman and its sale, this branch was closed and the building remained vacant until purchased in 2016 by the Lewis & Clark Credit Union.
Description: Constructed circa 1904, the Knettle Bank and the building to the east are the only buildings in Pomeroy constructed entirely of stone. The building has a rock-faced ashlar stone finish laid in a broken range pattern, decorative projecting stone cornice, a large stone semicircular arch that spans the width of the building, and semicircular arch transom windows. Steps lead up to the offset wooden entrance door that is adjacent the rounded display windows with wood sashes, and a stone bulkhead, in the early 1990s, the glass in the round storefront window was replaced and the bulkhead restored using locally quarried stone
Description and much of the Cultural Data based on
research by Donovan & Associates
Looking at both Knettle Buildings you can see the beauty of the stone. (Yes, this is the same photo as at the top of The Knettle Bank Building.)
Sometime in 1919
Yippee! They changed the border. December, 1922
From a January, 1924, issue of the East Washingtonian:
A reward of five hundred dollars will be paid for the capture, dead or alive, of any person robbing or attempting to rob or burglarize the KNETTLE STATE BANK.
This reward will be paid on any capture made within one year from date hereof, capture alive to be followed by conviction before reward becomes payable.
Dated at Pomeroy, Washington, December 22d, 1923. By order of the Board of Directors, Knettle State Bank. By L. N. KNETTLE, Vice-Pres. and Cashier.
An undated photograph showing the inside of the Knettle State Bank building.
Taking a stroll down the EW's Down Memory Lane of 8/14/80, we see this snippet from 1930:
In this issue are published the statements of Pomeroy's three banking institutions, Knettle State bank, Farmers National Bank, and Pomeroy State bank. The three banks have made loans aggregating $1,199,326.01. and deposits of $1,354,565.21
News of 1951 from the East Washingtonian "Down Memory Lane" of August 16, 1956.
There is a strong possibility that Pomeroy will have a second bank in the not too distant future. According to reliable sources, a group of Garfield county citizens have joined together to form an independent state bank for Pomeroy.
Seen in the Down Memory Lane column of January 24, 1957, looking back at 1952:
On Monday of this week Floyd Swanson, representing the organizers of the proposed state bank of Pomeroy, was informed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation that their application for deposit insurance had been approved as provided under the Federal Deposit Insurance Act.
The January 24, 1957 issue of the EW told you who all the guys in suits wandering Main street were:
The new lettering on the window indicates that the former Bank of Pomeroy is now the Pomeroy Branch of the National Bank of Commerce.
The town has been literally filled with Bank of Commerce officials who came to help make the changeover of their newly acquired business. Floyd Swanson, continuing as cashier, a position he held for about five years with the Bank of Pomeroy, reports that Eddie Pacot and Chester C. Macneill, assistant vice presidents, arrived in Pomeroy on Monday, January 14. Coming later in the week were Alfred A. Erickson, controller; Ronald A. Macdonald, vice president; Carl H. Rider, assistant vice president; Richard L. Hunter, assistant cashier; Bill Savory; Leon Right-more, vice president, Yakima branch; Gus Moen, NBofC attorney.
Ralph Holm, assistant cashier from the Clarkston branch, will be on hand several days to assist the regular personnel The other men who helped make the chanegover have either left or are departing soon.
Visitors on Monday to the bank were Mr. and Mrs. I. N. Knutson and Robert E. Butler, manager of the Waitsburg branch. Knutson is manager at Clarkston.
The same issue gave you the legal background:
Please be advised that the deposit liabilities - shown on the books of the undersigned bank as of the close of business on January 10, 1957, have been assumed by The National Bank of Commerce of Seattle, Seattle, Washington, and that the status of the undersigned bank as an insured bank will therefore terminate as provided in Seetienr 8(d) of the Federal Deposit Insurance Act.
You are further advised that The National Bank of Commerce of Seattle is an insured bank and that your deposits will continue to be insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation in the manner and to the extent provided in said Act.
BANK OF POMEROY,
Floyd I. Swanson, Liquidating Agent
Published Jan. 24, 31, 1957.
From the February 7, 1957, E-W
The National Bank of Commerce has purchased the bank building they are doing business in, from the Bank of Pomeroy for a reported $20,000, courthouse records show.
-- February 7, 1957, EW front page
The next month (2/21/57), the bank reassured their depositors that their money was still safe:
Bank of Pomeroy, a Washington State banking corporation, located at Pomeroy, Washington, is closing its affairs and dissolving. All creditors of the bank are hereby notified to present their claim for payment to the undersigned at the office of the bank at Pomeroy, Washington.
FLOYD L SWANSON, Liquidating Agent
Date of first publication: Feb. 1, 1957.
Published Feb. 7, 14, 21, 28; March 7, 1957.
One of the first advertisements (2/28/57) from the Pomeroy branch of the National Bank of Commerce features Pomeroy's Murphy Blankinship who was born in Peola.
From a Pirate Yearbook comes this shot of the National Bank of Commerce branch in Pomeroy. The bank later moved to the Chard Building location.
As this bit from the front page of March 28, 1957, shows, it didn't take long for the big city bank to start cutting back:
March 30[, 1957,] will be the last Saturday morning that the Pomeroy branch of the National Bank of Commerce will be open.
After April 1, the bank is changing its hours and will be closed on Saturdays. Regular banking hours will be from 10 a. m. to 3 p. m. Monday through Friday.
For the past several years while the bank was doing business as the Bank of Pomeroy, it remained open from 10 a. m. to 12 noon each Saturday.
January, 1958. Pomeranians had close to $2.5 million in the National Bank of Commerce.
Opening December 2, 1974, is A New Mood beauty salon.
Alice Houtz was the operator
Wandering Pomeroy's Main Street
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