Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Bank of Franklin

The Bank of Franklin was built in 1905. It has the unique distinction as being the only bank in the state to have not closed its doors during the March 9th, 1933 Bank Holiday in the aftermath of  the 1929 stock market crash. We are told it was because a telegram sent out by the state to every bank was not received. By the time of this event, however, the bank had moved across the street into the building-block you can see from the rear view of the original building.

From The Encyclopedia of Arkansas History and Culture :

"In 1933, within a week of his inauguration, President Franklin Roosevelt called for a bank holiday in an effort to stabilize the nation’s economy. The Bank of Franklin is thought to be the only bank in the country that did not obey the Emergency Banking Act passed by Congress on March 9. When national bank examiners arrived in Franklin and commented on the bank being open, cashier Thomas W. Simpson replied that he had not received news of the law. Most historians accept his word, given the facts that Franklin had no telephone service in 1933 and the nearest railroad was fifteen miles away. However, Pamela Webb, in an article for the Arkansas Historical Quarterly, has suggested that Simpson’s political beliefs led him to ignore the order from the federal government."

The pretty little cottage stands behind the bank along Highway 56. It was built by the Simpson family on the spot their previous home stood before being demolished by a tornado in 1933. The Franklin Community Center was built in 1940 as just what it remains today...a community center. Though I had thought the cistern/well pictured was possibly the community well, I am told the town's community well was located in the middle of what is now Highway 56. This cistern serviced a home that stood near the bank at one time. The white building next to the Bank of Franklin was built as a barber shop in the 1930s.

Thanks to Mrs. Betty B. for helping with the info.

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