Emerson Bank Celebrates Anniversary
The 75th birthday of the Emerson National Bank was not a private affair of the bank's officers, directors and staff, it was an occasion of pride for all people that live in Warrensburg.
On March 7, 1959 the bank held an open house to celebrate and also to show off the new extensive remodeling and redecorating job done on the bank's quarters. In place of the old fashioned teller's cages, modern counters were built. The cubicles of the bank's officers were eliminated and they now sat at desks along one side of the spacious lobby. Deep carpets, extending from wall to wall were added and new modern furniture, draperies and furnishings modernized the appearance of the main lobby. Two new teller windows and a night depository were installed. A special section of the Warrensburg News was devoted exclusively to the history of this grand institution.
The Early Days
The first offices of the bank were in the old stone building at the intersection of Hudson, Elm and Main Streets when it was founded in 1884 by Albert C. Emerson and his sons, Louis W, and James A. Emerson. Before that time there were no banking facilities closer than Glens Falls. A few years later it was moved to quarters in what was than the Adirondack Hotel (now Rite Aid site). There was a bad fire there on Jan. 31, 1889 and all that was left of the building was the bank vault rising above the ashes.
Albert C. Emerson died March 12, 1888 after a fiery confrontational school board meeting and he was succeeded in the presidency by his son, Louis Emerson. Albert C. Emerson was described as "a man of sterling worth." In 1908 Emerson and Company Bankers received a charter as a national bank from the Treasury Department of the US and became known as the Emerson National Bank of Warrensburgh. Directors were James M. Somerville, Milton N. Eldridge and Louis E. Reoux. James Emerson was vice president and cashier. He died in 1922.
The Years Press Onward
A new bank was built on Louis Reoux's tennis court next to his house in 1926. In 1959, at the seventy-fifth anniversary of the bank, Albert L. Emerson, grandson of the founder, was president, Howard W. Savage was vice president and John R. Countryman was head cashier. The hospitable, friendly staff included C. Elizabeth Sprague, Mary Andrews, Patrica Southwick, Nelson L. Meader, Mildred Balosie, George C. Wood, Annie Webster, Lena Lillibridge, Nina Harpp, Paul L. Griffin and Clifford Hall.
President Fred DeVries, of the Warrensburg Chamber of Commerce said, "We wish for 'our bank' another 75 years of success and service, knowing that its progress is a measure of the growth and prosperity of our entire community." On May 22, 1967 The Emerson National Bank of Warrensburg and its Luzerne-Hadley branch became the State Bank of Albany.
Moving on Through Time
Here we are, one hundred and twenty five years after Albert Cilley Emerson realized his dream of establishing his own bank. In 2009 the bank is still there but today it is known as the Glens Falls National Bank and Trust Company and Dennis Martinez is Branch Manager. In my mind I can still see teller George Wood, in his neat pinstripe suit and tie, behind the first teller cage just as he looked fifty years ago.
A while back Warrensburgh Historical Society President Delbert Chambers and I got together and composed a photo display of past history of the bank which was displayed in the main lobby there. It was a labor of love for both of us. Delbert did extensive research on the bank and wrote several fine articles on its history. The Emerson family, who did so very much to shape the town of Warrensburgh, must never be forgotten.
Trouble on the Highway
Edward Harrington was seriously injured Wednesday, March 4, 1959 when the pick up truck he was driving crashed into a county grader on Route 28, Warrensburg near the intersection of Route 9. Mr. Harrington attempted to avoid a bump and apparently lost control of the truck. He was taken to the Glens Falls Hospital.
Claude Lanfear, 68, died Saturday afternoon, March 7, 1959 while driving from his home on the River Road between The Glen and Athol, to the post office at The Glen. Death was due to a heart attack. Mrs. Lanfear, The Glen correspondent for the Warrensburg News, was with her husband at the time. Burial was in the Warrensburg Cemetery.
Culprit Found Lodged at Warren Inn
A state trooper and a plain clothes detective entered the Warren Inn, owned by Arnold Steele, March 10, 1959, and arrested Joseph Gilbert Rock, 22, of Hartford for burglary allegedly committed in his home town that morning. A stolen 30-06 rifle and ammunition were found in Rock's room at the inn where he had just checked in, according to police. Rock had left a note behind at the home of his mother-in-law saying he would "use the gun on anyone who tries to take me." He was taken to the Washington County Jail at Salem. (Note...the Warren Inn once stood where George Henry's Tavern is now located).
Village Blacksmith Found Dead
Charles Baker, a blacksmith in Thurman for more than 66 years, was found dead Sunday morning, March 8, 1959 at his home.
Mr. Baker, who began working at his trade on his father's farm at the age of 13, lived alone and had been active until shortly before his death. He bought his present shop in 1912. He learned blacksmithing from his father and until about five years ago (1954) he was still shoeing horses. He was a craftsman and could build just about anything, including a wagon or a sleigh, from steel or wood.
Small in stature, he was under five feet, seven inches. Charlie was the true picture of the village blacksmith. Surviving are two sisters, Alice Bennett and Minnie Harrington and two brothers, Richard and Louis Baker, both of Thurman. He never married. Mrs. Elsie Brannon, a neighbor, discovered the body and notified the sheriff.
(Note... Edith Bills, popular Journal columnist, wrote a great story about Charlie Baker many years ago which made him into an Adirondack legend. She collected money from her readers and bought Charlie a gravestone for his burial plot in the Warrensburg Cemetery).
O'Connor Death Mourned
Julia O'Connor, 90, died March 6, 1959 at Westmount Infirmary, Queensbury. She was the widow of the late Michael O'Connor who with his brother, Thomas O'Connor, operated the Adirondack Hotel, now the Colonial Arms, from 1899 for over 40 years.
Surviving is one son, John O'Connor, five grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. (Note...the large O'Connor home once stood directly across the street from the Emerson Bank).
Spectacular Fire Burns Garage
A good part of Warrensburg turned out on Monday night, March 30, 1959 to witness the fire which gutted the building of Kenyon Auto Sales at 79 River Street. Flames, feeding on oil and lubricants inside the building, shot high into the air, reddening the night sky. The glare could be seen for many miles away. In the absence of Chief Ross Tracy, who was out of town, Ed Hunter acted as chief.
Fearing that the flames might spread to the Christian Missionary Alliance Church and Herrick's Variety Store, mutual aid was requested and fire trucks from Lake George and Chestertown arrived. Located on the river, it was only possible to fight the fire from two sides. The garage is operated by Marshall Shaw. John Kenyon, owner of the building was in Florida. No cause for the fire was given.
The deer taken in Warren County during the 1958 season was 496 bucks and 97 does. Twenty bear were killed. The state total of 66,469 deer was the third highest on record.
An old barn was set afire at the Parrott estate at Lake George and volunteer firemen from nine companies participated in a mutual aid fire drill.
Six families were forced to flee their apartments in subzero weather in North Creek, March 22, 1959, when fire destroyed a famous landmark, once the mansion of railroad builder William W. Durant. The structure was located in the rear of the Alpine Motel on the Durant estate and is owned by the Baroudi brothers.
The Colonial Arms Hotel, owned by Mark and Edna Bruce, is offering a roast leg of lamb dinner to the public, on Easter Sunday, with all the fixings including dessert, for $2.95.
Readers are welcome to contact Adirondack Journal correspondent Jean Hadden at jhadden1nycap.rr.com or 623-2210.