"It would seem only fitting that when we first walked through our store space in the fall of 2019, we would find nothing less than the treasures of the past. And when I say treasures, I'm not just talking metaphorically."
I haven't been able to find a photo of the Citizen's State Bank that opened at this location in the early 1900's, but we have been able to piece together some details from the title history that was handed off to us by the previous owners. We've also found many different names of the residents who used the bank's services on a wealth of old deposit slips that were found in the basement safe. Documents that the previous owners told us they had to use shovels to clear out. What was left behind we gave free reign to take to the Pierce County Historical society, a few friends with interest in vintage papers, and some of the current bank workers in town who have a particular interest in bank history. We kept a nice collection of various documents for ourselves, to use in ways that honor the history of our building.
Citizen's State Bank purchased the land to build it's bank from Christian and Johanna Sorensen for $1500 in October of 1910. It is likely that once the basement safe was in place, the basement was built around it and the floor built over it. On the ground level, the upstairs safe would have been built first, and the remainder of the building built around that. When we had our initial inspection, it was conveyed to us that, because security systems at that time did not exist as we know them today, a bank's security system was super thick, concrete walls, which has created a strong foundation for a building that has the potential to stand for centuries more. The safe's ceilings were erected with almost a dome-like shape. This shape was purposely done so that if a bomb were to go off, the ceiling would not collapse. That information came to me from the brain of a curious 10-year-old .
What We've Found
From the days of the old bank to the days of consignment, there is no end to the gifts we continue to receive from this building to make our shop unique and tell it's stories. We've discovered creative uses for a number of interesting things we have found. If you've purchased products on our website, you have received a handwritten note written on a blank deposit slip dated from the 1920's in your package. We have a stack of at least 50 of these blank notepads in the basement safe and use them not only for orders, but also as to-do lists and entry forms into our Superfan of the Month drawings. Last May, when we couldn't gather with our neighbors due to the pandemic, we surprised everyone with a May Day gift box left on their porch, wrapped up in linen-covered boxes that were once used to store old bank notes. For Chris' quarantine birthday last April, we wrapped his gift in more old papers we found in the safe. Those same papers were laminated and cut to use for product price tags, and as reusable labels for refill-center product. I am continually amazed at how well these papers have weathered over a century of storage in an otherwise damp, musty basement. They sure did know how to build a safe!