McDonald State Bank

Written By: nppladmin - Mar• 18•22
Originally published to on March 18, 2022.

For this week’s Facebook Friday history, we have decided to reprint part of Mary Ann Koch’s article from the North Platte Telegraph, from Sunday, January 15, 1978. The main article is entitled “McDonald State Bank turns 100 years old this year,” and focuses on remembrances of living bank presidents in 1978, but also provided an interesting history.  So, let’s start with some early bank history, enjoy!

Article Title: Bank of 1878 had no deposits, no checks, no loans, just an iron safe

Editor’s note: The following letter was written in December 1977 by J. Y. Castle, chairman of the board of McDonald State Bank, and the following history was written for the bank directors.

“We are coming to the close of another successful year. We are also ending our 99th year of banking. It was on January 1, 1878, that Charles McDonald moved North Brothers Bankers into his store located in a log building at the southwest corner of 6th and Jeffers Streets, where the Shrake Body Shop is now located.

With his brother he had established North Brothers Bankers. For $532, he sold Charles McDonald the bank fixtures, consisting of a desk and chair, an iron safe and its contents. A bank back then was a completely private business. There were no deposits, no checks, no loans, no supervision, and it was entirely a place for the safekeeping overnight or longer of whatever a person had of value for a fee.

There were no hotels in North Platte and the only lodging available for travelers were rooms on the second story of downtown buildings, and there were only a few of them. Keys and locks were unknown then and there were no single rooms available. If a man or woman obtained a room, one of the same sex would also be assigned to the room, all of which had double beds, if they checked in late and the place was full.

Therefore, people passing through would pay to put valuables into a safe or private place and this included not only gold dust and money, but such things as expensive hand guns, boots, etc.

Coach station at the mouth of Cottonwood Canyon in 1861 on the Oregon Trail which daily carried a thousand vehicles, more or less of all descriptions in season. Later Fort McPherson was established next to the state station and store he had developed. He moved into North Platte in 1872 when the railroad was completed across the plans and Rock Mountains.

There was still traffic on the Oregon Trail, but it was getting smaller with each succeeding year.

After the move, Charles bought a section of railroad land for $2.50 an acre that now includes the southwest part of North Platte.  To build the railroad, the government gave the UP every alternate section of land, 640 acres for 6 miles either side of the right-of-way. Nowadays, people constantly run to Washington for money for such developments and other purposes, as we have nearly exhausted our natural resources. When I came to the bank in 1936, there was still nearly 300 acres left of the railroad section. It was divided into city lots and the land was selling for the equivalent of $800 per acre and the last went much higher, as high as $1,500 per acre.

The land Charles McDonald purchased of UP was bounded on the north by A Street, which is on the section line, and McDonald Avenue which is on the north-south center of the land. It is all in the city limits.

In the hundred years our capital funds from the purchase price have increased to approximately 3 million dollars, all from earnings. We were incorporated in 1902 as the McDonald State Bank. The State of Nebraska had no Banking Department until the late 1890’s. Since 1934, we have paid dividends regularly, each and every year.

With competent management, the bank can look forward to another 100 years of profitable operation for its condition is very sound.”

J.Y. Castle, Chairman.

Thank you for reading!


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