THE GERMAN BANK
James H. Mead came to Sheboygan, June 14, 1856, from Findlay, Ohio, where he had been engaged in the banking business, to organize the German Bank, which opened its doors to patrons, July 1, 1856. He was one of the organizers of the Phoenix Chair Company and its first president. He was also president of the Crocker Chair Company and one of its incorporators.
The German Bank is one of Sheboygan's strong institutions and has done much to make the city what it is. The bank has witnessed the evolution of the city from the settler's cabin to the present magnificent operations in commercial strength and architectural beauty. It was owing to the efforts of the bank that the first manufacturing plant of any magnitude was placed here. Its officers have always fostered and financially sustained manufacturing industries and other sources of gain to the community. It is the oldest and largest bank in the county. The capital stock is $250,000; surplus, $350,000; undivided profits, $54,000; deposits, $2,993,500. The officers are: F. Karste, president; F. Williams, vice president; George Heller, cashier; Otto Kauf mann, assistant cashier. Directors, F. Karste, F. Williams, George Heller, A. P. Steffeh, H. Scheele, Jr.
The building stands on the corner of Eighth and Center avenue and while it was built thirty years ago, it is still admired for its architectural beauties.
BANK OF SHEBOYGAN
This is one of the powerful financial institutions of the county and was established in 1873 as the First National Bank, by J. H. Dow, of Plymouth, Casper Pfister, John Bertschy, James Bell, C. F. Arpke, F. R. Townsend, H. F. Piderit and L. W. Tillotson. It was capitalized at $50,000. The first officers were: F. R. Townsend, president; John Bertschy, vice president ; H. F. Piderit, cashier.
The bank continued under its charter as the First National until 1879, when it was reorganized as the Bank of Sheboygan, under a state charter. The capital stock was $50,000.. The former officers were retained until 1880, when H. F. Piderit died and Julius Kroos succeeded him as cashier. In 1881 F. R. Townsend died and George End was elected president. Mr. End continued at the head of the institution until 1905, the year of his death, when Julius Kroos succeeded him in the presidency, and Adolph Pfister, who had been assistant cashier since 1890, was elected cashier. At the same time Joseph L. Pfeiler assumed the duties of +assistant cashier.
In 1906 the capital stock was increased to $100,000, and from the start the bank has done a large business. In 1875 its deposits were $212,000; 1880, $222,000; 1885, $383,000; 1890, $487,000; 1900, $1,171,000; 1912, $2,263,000. The present officers are: Julius Kroos, president; William H. Gunther, vice president; Adolph Pfister, cashier; Joseph L. Pfeiler, assistant cashier.
Years of growth and prosperity made the quarters of the bank inadequate and it was decided to erect a new building. A great deal of time was spent in arriving at the best results in modem bank construction. A building was erected on the west side of North Eighth street and is one of the show places of the city. The front is of classic design, 53 feet wide by 50 feet high, and the structure extends 110 feet from front to rear. The beautiful pediment rests upon two heavy pilasters of ashlar construction, supported by two monoliths 29 feet in height, forming a portico of liberal dimensions, which greatly adds to the architectural effect. The entire front is constructed of Cherokee Georgia marble, a material imsurpassed by anything for beauty and durability. The entrance opens into a vestibule constructed of English veined Italian marble, with a beamed ceiling of polished mahogany, in the center of which is a dome finished in gold leaf, with concealed lighting, making a most pleasing effect. On the right of the vestibule facing the loggia is the president's room, and on the left is provided a ladies' parlor. After passing through the vestibule one enters upon a spacious lobby 20 feet wide by 40 feet long, on either side of which are provided cages, also the officers' quarters and the ladies' department. Back of a heavy steel grill at, the rear are vaults, three in number, including a safety deposit vault. There are also well arranged quarters for the employers, equipped with gymnasiimi and shower baths. Mural paintings which occupy the half-round panels at either end of the banking room proper represent in one the beginning of the struggle for the establishment of civilization in the neighborhood of Sheboygan; and the other is an apotheosis of the industrial and commercial spirit which has triumphed over so many obstacles and made Sheboygan the thriving, prosperous center of business and manufacturing that she is today.
The Bank of Sheboygan may be said to be a continuation of the old Bank of Sheboygan, which was started by Francis R. Townsend and others in 1852 and which continued in business until 1869, when it went out of business. W. W. King was its president, and Francis R. Townsend, cashier. After an interim the First National Bank was organized in 1873 and, upon reorganization the old name was adopted and has been retained to the present time.
THE CITIZENS STATE BANK
The Citizens State Bank was organized in 1896 by John Mogenson, C. B. Freyberg, E. B. Garton, Emil Ladwig, C. A. Crawford and others. It is capitalized at $50,000. The bank first began doing business on the corner of Eighth and Pennsylvania avenue and remained there until it moved into its new quarters on North Eighth street, between Center and New York avenues, which occurred March 7, 1910.
The first officers were: John Mogenson, president; Emil Ladwig, vice president; C. A. Crawford, cashier; P. M. Reuter, assistant cashier. J. P. Jagodnigg succeeded Mr. Crawford as cashier December i, 1896, and Henry Hillemann followed him in that office December 1, 1899. July 1, 1907, J. W. Hansen bought Mr. Hillemann's interest and became cashier and for the following six months acted in the capacity of president.
January 1, 1908, Henry Jung was elected to the presidency. June 1, 1908, the capital stock was increased from $50,000 to $75,000, and June 1, 1909, to $100,000. The present officers are: Henry Jung, president; J. W. Hansen, cashier; D. W. Huenink, assistant cashier. The capital stock is $100,000 ; surplus and undivided profits, $40,000; deposits, $665,000.
The handsome new $50,000 building which was occupied in 1910, is one of the handsomest devoted to the purpose in this section of the state. It is distinguished for the good taste manifested in construction, adornment and appointments, the exterior and interior being harmonious throughout in equipment and decoration. The front is classic in design, built of Bedford stone, with two large pillars. The main entrance opens into a vestibule wainscoted with Greek Skyros marble. From the vestibule the visitor steps into the main lobby. The entire banking room, including this lobby, is 36x50 feet in size and 26 feet high.* The main banking room is finished in mahogany and marble, the decorations are in tan and ivory shades, with gold leaf trimmings. The other appointments are in harmony with the beautiful structure. The vaults are of modem construction, which means they are burglar and fire-proof and the safety deposit vault is all that the many patrons of the concern could desire.
FARMERS AND MERCHANTS BANK
The Farmers and Merchants Bank was established in 1905 and was opened for business on December 10th of that year. Its business has steadily increased and the stockholders find their money has been well invested. The capital stock is $50,000. The officers are: President, W. J. Schafer; vice president, Charles Hanf; cashier, O. C. Neumeister.
The bank building stands on the corner of Eighth street and Michigan avenue and was planned by Architect Charles Hilpertshauser, of Sheboygan. It is neat, but very attractive, constructed of glazed, pressed red brick and Bedford sandstone. The arrangement of the material makes the building a handsome one, while the style is appropriate to the use for which the structure is devoted. It is of the renaissance type. The interior is fully in keeping with the exterior. The fixtures are of oak and the floor is tile with a border of marble. The building is 60 feet long, 25 feet wide and two stories high.
Information gathered and adapted from History of Sheboygan County, Wisconsin, Past and Present
Carl Zillier, Editor
Pubished by The S.J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1912, Chicago, IL