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William Frederick Howat.

A standard history of Lake County, Indiana, and the Calumet region (Volume 1) online

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of the region.

In Honor of John Brown

As was most fitting and affecting, the son of the second president
of the Crown Point Bank, who preceded Mr. Brown in the presidency,
was the originator and presiding officer of that affectionate reception
given by representative bankers of Lake County and Chicago to the

325



;]26 I.AKK COCXT^' AM) TIIK (JALUMKT IiK(;iO\

lu'lovcd jiikI iidiiiircd dcjiii oT tliciii ;dl. It \v;is ;i rciiiai'kable ti'ihiito to
\\\nt s1i-cii<4lli. stcii(ir;is1iicss iiiid wjiniitli of clijii'jiclci' wliicli liad earned
Ike \i-lc]-aii linancicr, I'aniu'i- and citizen, such a line and broad grade
of popularity. A. Ai. 'I'm-iicr, as president of the Kirst, National Bank
of liainiiiond, and .lolin i'.rown, as prrsidcut of the Kirst National P.ank
of Crown I'oint, eei-taiiily touched many salient points in the (inancial
chapter of Lake ( ;oun1y.

<)l' the twenty-nine hanks in the county, the follo\vin.y were rei)re-
sented in tiie-iolin l>ro\\n reception: l^'irst .National, American Ti'ust
and Sa\in<.is, Lake County Sa\in<.;s and Ti-iist. ('iti/ens' (lerman .Na-
tional, ILnnmond Sa\in-s and 'Pi'iist, I'last Side 'I'rust and Savings, all
of Hammond; (iai'y State liank, {'r.ivy Trust and Savings, h'irst National
liank, South Side Savings and Trust, and Northern State i'.ank, (Jary;
Citizens Trust and Savings and Indiana llai'hor National, Indiana Ilar-
hoi': Ivist Chicago. Kirst Calumet and Saxings and h'irst National I'.ank,
Last Chicago; Lirst Stale Lank of Tollestou; Lank of Whiting and
Leople's State Lank, Whiting; j^^irst National and Commercial, Crown
Loint ; h'ii-st Stale, iiohart and .\merican Trust and Savings, llohai-f;
Lowell National and Stall' National. Lowell; Larmersand .Merchaids,
Highland; National Lank of Dyn, S(Mitli Chi. -ago; h'lrst Natioiud and
Continental Commercial, Chicago. In otiiei' words, twenty-eight of the
Lake C(Miii|\' hanks were represented, neai'ly all of them hy more tlian
one (I. 'legale; also, one South Chica'jo hank and two of the lai'gest (inan-
cial institutions in Chicago.

'i'lll'; Sl'I'lAKI'lKS

Si.xty of the most |)rominent hankers in Lake Count \- and tlu; Calu-
met region were on hand to enjoy tiiemseLcs and honor their guest
of the excning. .Mr. Tui'ner acted as toast nuistcr and, in aihlition to his
address, renuirks wci'c made h_v .\ugust I'.luni, of the l^'ii'st Nation.d
I'.ank, Chicago. Daniel Norman, of the Continental Connnercial \h\uk, of
that city, dudge L. C. Lields an<l Hon. dohn L. Leierson, who had in
hy-'^one .vears eujoxcd conlideut iai relat ions, eit her as l)ankers oi' hiwyei'S,
with "(iood Old Honest dolin I'.rown - " at first, without the "old,"
hut alwa.vs good and honest.

.Ml-. 'I'urner's opening address, after the han.piet, conveys so much of
interest, with a graceful touch of feeling toward his life-long friend
and his father's early associate, that it is reproduced. " Tlie census of
ISTO," he said, "gave to Lake (Jouidy a ])oi)ulation of 10,000; toda.y
in the same t.'rritor.N' we have 100,000 jx'oph'.



LAKK COUNTY AND TIIK CAIJ'MKT HK(;i()X :\-21

Fiix'ST National Uank ok Civowx I'oint

■'111 1S74 llic First Natioiiiil liaiik ol' Crown Point was origan i/.cd
and for \\\v ten \cars t'ollowini^' i-eniaincd flic onl\ hank in Lake County,
ihirin^- wliich period it rnjoycd an avcratic deposit of not moi-c than
•t 1(1(1.000. Today this countx has twenty-nine hanks with an averaijv
deposit of .tl.'),()00,000. Dnrino- this ivniarkahie pciio.l of (h'\ clopnient.
it stands to tiie credit ol" our eonnt\- that no (h'positor tliei'ein has excr
suftVi-ed a. loss l)y reason of such deposit. It is only lair t(» presume that
much credit \\)V this einiahle hankini^' record is (\ur to the lessons lauiiht.
in practice and in |)rece|)|. h_\- Laki^ County's lirst hank: t'oi\ <4eutlemeM,
the Kirst National Uank of Crown Point has always heen. and is today,
the un('onij)rounsinfi' I'oe of unsound hankin;^' and unsound husiness.

•'That this unusual record should attain in the short period oT the
business life ol' a nuin yet in the hey-day ol his nsi luluess is to m\ mind
sufticient jusfilication for this yat lieriui|- of his friends to pay ti'ihute to
the deau-of Pake County's hanks a chart. ^r mcndier, a niend.er of the
lirst hoard of dii-ectoi's and for thirty years president, and now the
active head, of Pake Count \'s lirst and prohahly hest manaiivd hank.

Pkk'soxal Su)|-, ok .Iomx Pi;(.\v\

'•]iut there is another cause for this meetinii. of e\cn greater moment,
and that is tiie persoiud side of this man, .John Prown. .\t the ai^v of
1en yeai's we liud him the mainstax' of a resolute widowed mother with
three youniier children, chariied with the (lut\ of develo|)in«i' the iiew
lunnestead left hy the i)ioneer fatlu'r. This dut \ . like all those I'ollowiuj?,
was e.xeeuled well until Tiineolu's ])lea for help to save a nation's honor
spi-ead ovei- this land of oui-s; and there was no interi-upt ion in this
yonu^- man's service to his country until Pec's uuroudit ional sui-render
to Graid, at Ai)])oniattox. Then without waitin-i for the plaudits of a
n:rat(d'ul peO|)le. tlu' blue uniform was speedily changed to the hlue
overalls and home-si)nn clothiii«i'. and we ai^-ain lind John Pi'owu at the
plow where he left it four years Ixd'ore.

''Not strong' on reuuniscences hy-ti'one days have claimed hut little
of his thought and energy — little has been heard fi-oin his lips of his
army experience; but it was my good fortune to know thi*ec of his
constant companions in camp, on the field of action and in Aiulersonville.
Sol Allen said, 'No num in the Unitt'd States cavalry could ride a
horse so well or so far as he.' Ed Kathburn told me that Brown was the
gamest private soldier in the TTinon army. lOd Riwant said that John
was as good a nui'se as lu^ was a lightei-. and that, due to his splendid



328 LAKE COUNTY AND THE CALUMET REGION

physique and his devotion to his comrades, many a soldier's life was
spared while in Andersonville prison.

"A county officer, the giiiding hand in the First National at Crown
Point, a leader in industrial and agricultural achievements without num-
ber, and withal having an alfectionate interest for those in need — in brief,
his is the history of a plain man. There are no titles or frills to his.
name or to him; 'no rings on his fingers or bells on his toes.' Just plain
John Brown. But so great is my estimate of his resourcefulness that if
I were president of this country, and were perplexed with what to do
with Mexico, I would send John Brown down there and, believe me, he
would settle things one way or the other. Or if I were mixed on the
wording of the currency bill, I would ask him to fix it up ; for, fellow
bankers, I have never kno^vn this man to be assigned to a duty where
he failed to exercise good judgment.

"This meeting is called that we may pay our respects to the dean
of the banking fraternity of Lake County, plain John Brown."

Mr. Brown was the last regular speaker and his remarks largely
partook of recollections of his early ups-and-downs witli the First Na-
tional, and a touching tribute to his mother, to whom he gave the cnulit
of whatever of usefulness or goodness he had contributed to the com-
munities in which he had lived. Then Judge Fields, in l)ehalf of the
bankers of the county, presented ^Ir. Brown with a lieautiful loving cup,
which was received with a few sincere and characteristic words.



FiKST National Bank of IIa.mmoxd

The First National Bank of Hammonil is a creation of ^Marcus M.
Towle, who is the father of the city, if any one man can claim that
distinction. It was organized in 1886. ami came under the present
o\\^lership and management in September. 1001. At that time the total
deposits of the bank amounted to $168,000. capital $50,000, and surplus
and undivided profits, .$30,000 ; now the capital is $150,000. surplus and
undivided profits $200,000 and total assets, $2,200,000.

Since the reorganization of the First National, in that year, A. M.
Turner, the president, and W. C. Belman. the cashier, ha^'e l^een the
pillars of that institution, as well as of other concerns which have given
Hammond a high reputation for stability. Before commencing to build
up its affairs, they had had the advantage of a training in rural com-
munities, Mr. Turner had had experience in public office and ]\Ir. Belman
as an educational leader; both were popular and in their early '40s,
having already proven their ability as men of affairs. This pei'sonal



LAKE COUNTY AND THE CALUMET REGION 329

combination proved strong, as the steady increase of the bank's business
has demonstrated.

Founded by Messrs. Towle and Hammond

Mr. Belman is thoroughly competent to etch the banking history
of Hammond, which lie has done in the following words : " In the year
1869 there came into the Calumet Valley from the East an enterprising
young man, whose life work seems to have been to lay the foundation
for the future of the great manufacturing and commercial city of Ham-
mond, which at that time consisted of nothing but swamps and sand
ridges. This young man, M. M. Towle, Sr., was a man of tremendous
energy, adaptation and originality. He it was who founded the first
great packing plant, lumber yard, distillery, steel mills and many other
of the industries of the city. On ^larch 20, 1886, he organized and
financed the First National Bank of Hammond, with a capital of $50,000.
For several years the First National was able to furnish all the financial
needs of the community, but as the city developed it was deemed wise
b}^ Thomas Hammond and others to organize a second institution.

"Therefore, in May, 1892, there was established the Commercial
Bank, with a capital of $50,000.

Reorganized by ]\Iessrs. Turner and Belman

"In September, 1901, the First National Bank was purchased and
reorganized by new capital and energy represented by A. M. Turner,
president, and W. C. Belman, cashier. The new organization soon
showed its strength in the rapid increase of the bank deposits.

First Trt^st Company

"On October 16, 1902, Peter W. Meyn, who had established a large
and successful insurance agency, which had taken so many features of
a bank, decided to establish a trust company with $50,000 capital, the
first organization of its kind in Lake County.

Other Financial Pioneers

"In March, 1905, the First National Bank increased its capital to
$100,000. May 2, 1906, saw the organization of the Citizens' German
National Bank, with a capital of $100,000, and George M. Eder as its
leading spirit.



330 LAKE COUNTY AND THE CALUMET REGION

"The Hammond Savings and Trust Company was organized on May
17, 1907, with a capital of $30,000, Adam R. Ebert being its president.
This trust company consolidated a number of real estate firms and in-
surance agencies.



Absorption of the Commercial Bank

"On January 2, 11)09, the First National Bank announced the pur-
chase and consolidation of the Commercial Bank with the First National,
and on the next business day the combined institutions began business in
the elegant banking- rooms of the First National Bank, with combined
deposits of $1,400,000 and total assets of $1,800,000, the capital and sur-
plus of the First National having been increased to $250,000, thus mak-
ing it the largest and the strongest 1)ank in the whole Calumet Region."

Lake County Savings and Trust Company

The Lake County Savings and Trust Company of Hammond was
founded in November, 1902, with a capital of $50,000. It was- formally
organized and opened for business January 1, 1903, with the following
officers: Peter W. Meyn, president; Frank Hess, vice president, and
W. C. Belmau, cashier. There has been no change in these officials, with
the exception of the vice president, which is now held by Joseph W.
Weis. The capital of the concern has remained unchanged ; its deposits
are now $650,000 and its surplus and undivided profits, $55,000. Its
insurance department is especially strong.



Citizens G-erman National

Among the strongest banks in the Calumet region is the Citizens
German National Bank, also of Hannnond, which was chartered in May,
1906. George M. Eder, an old banker and business man of Crown Point,
has been its president from the first. The bank has a capital of $100,000,
surplus of over $50,000, and deposits of more than $1,000,000.

Within the past five years several savings and trust companies have
been organized in Hammond. The Hammond Savings and Trust Com-
pany was organized in May, 1909, with Adam R. Ebert and Frank Ham-
mond as president and secretary-treasurer, respectivel}', and the Ameri-
can Trust and Savings Bank, opened in July, 1911, with William J.
McAleer as president and H. M. Johnson as secretary.



LAKE COUNTY AND THE CALUMET REGION 331

State National Bank of Lowell

The State National Bank of Lowell was the fourth institution of the
kind to he organized in Lake County. It was founded in 1893 as a
state institution, and John Lynch eontinued as its president until his
death in 1901, when it was reorganized as a National Bank. Dr. John
E. Davis was president for a short time, and was succeeded by Albert
Poster, the present ineundjent. F. E. Nelson was cashier for the first
decade of the bank, both as a state and national institution, and was
succeeded by John E. Love, H. M. Johnson (now cashier of the Citizens
German National, Hammond) and S. A. Brownell. AVhen the bank was
reorganized under a national charter its stock was increased from $25,000
to .$50,000. Its deposits average about .t260.()0().

Bank of Wuiting

In April, 1895, Henry Sehrage, Sr., established the Bank of AVhiting.
He had already become wealthy through his real estate holdings in North.
Township and he has continued to add to his fortune, which now em-
braces heavy financial interests, as well as valiuible real estate, in AVhit-
ing, Hammond, East Chicago and Chicago. So that although the Bank
of Whiting is a private institution, oi)crated under state supervision, it
is backed by very substantial securities and by the city's best known
pioneer, Mr. Sehrage himself, with various mem])ers of his family. In
1910 he erected a large two-story brick building, on 119th Street and
New York Avenue, which accommodates not only the extensive business
of his bank ])ut the Whiting postoffice.

First National, of Whiting

The First National Bank of Whiting was authorized to commence
business by the comptroller of the currency in December, 1902. Its
capital is $50,000 ; president, Gallus J. Bader, and cashier, G. H. AVilson.
The First National is spoken of as one of the Smith & Bader banks, and
is reported to have $45,000 surplus and deposits of $600,000.

East Chicago Bank

The East Chicago Bank is the oldest institution of the kind in that
city, although it can claim a history only since 1899. In that year
Andrew Wichey organized a private banking house, but soon sold it to
Henry Sehrage, Sr., of Whiting, who conducted it as a private bank



332 LAKE COUNTY AND THE CALUMET REGION

until January, 1910. The proprietor then took out a state charter and
capitalized the concern at $50,000. The capital has remained the same,
but the resources of the bank are now more than $500,000 and the
deposits average $550,000. .Mr. Sehrage is still president. Walter E.
Schrage, his son, who is cashier of the Bank of Whiting, is also a director
of the East Chicago Bank.

First National of East Chicago

East Chicago's First National Bank was established in February,
1905, Avith a capital of $50,000. It succeeded to the business of the old
Lake County State Bank. Its present capital is $100,000, its surplus
$20,000 and deposits nearly $600,000.

Indiana Harbor National Bank

In 1903, about a year after the Inland Steel Works were fairly estab-
lished at Indiana Harbor, the Lake County State Bank was organized at
East Chicago for the special purpose of serving the comnumity known as
Indiana Harbor. In 1905 it was succeeded by the Indiana Harbor State
Bank, organized under a regular state charter, and in April, 1912, the
business came under the jurisdiction of the United States under the
name of the Indiana Harbor National Bank. Alhci-t D. Erskin was the
first president and Otto J. Gondolf, first casliici- of thv Indiana Harbor
State Bank, but early in December, 1906, they, with other large holders
of the stock, sold their interests to O. J. Bader, Fred J. Smith and othei*s,
who have since controlled its affairs. Since May, 1908, the bank has
occupied its own building, a portion of which is leased to the postoffice.
The Indiana Harbor National Bank has a capital of $100,000, a surplus
of more than $25,000 and about $750,000 in deposits. Mr. Bader is
president, Mv. Smith, vice ])resident and J. G. Allen, cashiei'.

First Calumet Trtst and Savings Bank

The First Calumet Trust and Savings Bank, listed as an East Chi-
cago institution, is located at the station of Calumet. Its history is thus
given in the ' ' Calumet Survey : " " Organized in 1909 as a trust com-
pany, it has a capital of $50,000, surplus of $17,400. deposits of $356,-
000, and loans of $350,000. Its name. First Calumet Trust and Savings
Bank, is reminiscent of a strange coincident in banking history of Gary
and East Chicago. A group of men at Gary decided that the name
Calumet was fitting for a Trust Company they were organizing and in



LAKE COUNTY AND THE CALUMET REGION 333

the regular course of events forwarded certificates and application with
that name. In a day or two in came a similar application at the state
auditor's office for the bank under way at East Chicago and greatly to
the disgust of the founders through the chance accident of the difference
in filing, their young hopeful had to have its name changed to the
"First Calumet Trust.' Congressman John B. Peterson is one of its
directors and it has enjoyed a good growth largely as a result of its
excellent connections. ' '

Citizens Trust and Savings Bank, Indiana Harbor

Established in June, 1909, this institution had resources, at the close
of 1913, amounting to over $260,000. Its president, from the first, has
been J. R. Farovid.

First State Bank op Tolleston

Of course the oldest bank in the Gary district is the First State Bank
of Tolleston. It occupies its own home in the old part of the city, and
reports the following items as representative of its financial status:
Capital, $25,000; surplus, .$15,000; deposits, -$210,000; loans, $183,000.

First National Bank of Gary

Of the banks located in the new part of the City of Gary, the oldest
is the First National, founded by Thomas T. Snell, as president, and
E. C. Simpson as cashier, on the 5th of November, 1906. They still guide
its affairs in those capacities. From an initial capital of $25,000 it has
undergone four increases until now it has $200,000, with average deposits
of more than a million and a half dollars and a surplus of $50,000. The
First National Bank occupies the ground floor of one of the most elegant
buildings in Gary, at the southwest corner of Broadway and Sixth Ave-
inie. The property represents an investment of $250,000.

Gary State Bank

The Gary State Bank, which was organized by some of the officials of
the United States Steel Corporation about the same time, is the depository
of the steel mills and allied corporations, and may be said to divide the
bulk of the financial operations of the Gary district with the First Na-
tional. Henry G. Hay, Jr., whose father has been assistant treasurer of
the United States Steel Corporation for some years, has been president



334 LAKE COUNTY AND THE CALUMET REGION

of the State Bauk since its organization. He is therefore one of the
city's pioneers. The Gary State Bank reports a capital of $250,000,
surplus and undivided profits of .$4-3,000, deposits of $1,459,000 and
loans of $717,000.

Northern State Bank

In July, 1909, the Northern State Bank was opened to the public
of Gary, having been organized by Samuel J. Watson and his associates.
In March, 1913, the management completed on Broadway what has been
pronounced the finest bank building in Lake County. The stock of the
bank has been increased from $50,000 to $100,000, and its deposits now
aggregate more than a third of a million of dollars.

South Side Trust and Savings Bank

The South Side Trust and Savings Bank was organized during the
early part of 1910, largely through the efforts of C. 0. Holmes and
C. R. Kuss, who are still serving as its president and secretary-treasurer.
It was substantially an outgrowth of the Calumet trust and savings con-
cerns, has a capital and surplus of $60,000, and besides conducting a
general banking and trust business, operates insurance, rental and for-
eign exchange departments.

Other Late Banks and Trust Companies

The Gary Trust and Savings Bank is the result of a merging of the
institution by that name and the Security State Bank during the early
portion of 1910. It has now a capital of $50,000 and deposits of about
$300,000.

"The close of 1911 and beginning of 1912,'' says a Gary historian,
"saw an attempt to introduce the private bank methods of Illinois into
Gary by L. M. Fairbanks under the name of the United Deposit Loan and
Trust Company. It ran along for several months, but kept getting fur-
ther and further away from the straight and narrow path and finally,
at the suggestion of the Banking Department of the State Auditor's Office
the institution was liquidated."

The last of the trust and banking institutions of Gar}^ to commence
business was the International Trust and Savings Bank, which opened
its doors on July 1, 1913. It was founded and financed by Laporte men
and is headed by Jolui W. Albright, president. On the directory are
also the well known bankers Gallus J. Bader and Fred J. Smith. The
bank is capitalized at $60,000.



LAKE COUNTY AND THE CALUMET REGION 335

Commercial and Peoples State Banks, Crown Point

The Commercial Bank of Crown Point is one of the early financial
institutions of the comity, having been founded in November, 1897, with
Samuel A. Barr as president. In 1897 he was succeeded by H. P. Swartz,
Avho served until 1904, when John B. Peterson assumed the presidency.
Walter L. Allman, the first cashier, held office until 1904, Mr. Swartz
from that year until 1908, since which Earl R. Cole has been the in-
cumbent. The Commercial Bank has a paid-in capital of $60,000, surplus
and undivided profits of more than .$50,000, and total resources of
$420,000.

The Peoples State Bank of Crown Point was organized in February,
1905, with M. Grimmer as president, and Henry Aulwurm, cashier. Its
capital stock is $60,000 ; surplus and undivided profits, $44,000 ; and
resources over $580,000. J. Frank Sleeker was president of the bank
at th(^ time of his death in 1914, and at the date of this writing his
successor has not been named. John F. Frass is the i:>resent cashier.

Lowell National Bank

The Lowell National Bank opened for business in May, 1903, with
F. E. Nelson as president, G. B. Bailey, vice president, and P. A. Berg,
cashier. Since January, 1908, ^Ir. Bailey has served as president and
C. E. Nichols as vice president, ^Ir. 13t'rg retaining the office of cashier.
In July. 1909, the capital of the bank was increased from $25,000 to
$50,001). Its sin'j)liis and undivided profits amount to $16,500; deposits,
$275,000.

Other Banks

Hobart has had a number of banks, generally private in character,
one of them dating from the middle '80s. The First State Bank of
Hobart is perhaps the strongest, having a capital of $25,000 and a sur-
plus of about a third that amount;

Dyer has had a bank since October, 1903, when the First National
opened for business, with Henry L. Keilman as president and A. W.
Stommel as cashier.

The Farmers and Merchants is a small bank which has been estab-
lished within the past three years at Highland.



CHAPTER XXIII

HAMMOND AS A CORPORATION

Short Town Regime — Municipal. Incorporation — Growth by Wards
— Hammond's Seven MLvyors — Other City Officials — The City
Hall — Functions of the Municipal Government — Receipts and
Expenditures — Tax Levy and Taxable Property — Bonded Indebt-
edness AND Appropriations — Hammond 's Future Territory — Elev-
enth Ward Created — SewerS;, Pavements and Sidewalks — Area
op City Parks — Railroads in the City — New Buildings — Water
System — Fire Department — Police Department — Parks and the
Public Health — The Public Library — First Movement by
Shakespeare Club — First Public Library — Public Schools and



Online LibraryWilliam Frederick HowatA standard history of Lake County, Indiana, and the Calumet region (Volume 1) → online text (page 32 of 44)