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Odebolt's Historic Bank

Odebolt History Pages

First State Bank renovates 93-year-old bank building

By Barb Horak, Odebolt History Pages editor

Also, See newspaper articles about the original construction of this bank

Also visit the HISTORY INDEX for all on-line Odebolt History!


Click photos to enlarge them.

Odebolt's historic bank on Main Street.

East peak of the bank

Ironwork above the
front (east) entry.

Polishing the brass sill of
an entrance door.

The polished left door
gleams next to the
unpolished right door.

Workers clean a door. Note the plastic curtain
hung floor to ceiling
behind them separating
the area where plastering
is being done.



"Big Enough to Serve,
Small Enough to Care"

Update: Shelby County State Bank (“SCSB”), announced that as of February 1, 2022 it has closed its merger agreement with First State Bank, headquartered in Ida Grove, Iowa. This included the First State Bank branch located in Odebolt.

March 19, 2008 - First State Bank’s motto is “Big Enough To Serve, Small Enough To Care”. And care they do. Present and former Odebolt residents breathed a collective sigh of relief when First State announced plans to restore Odebolt’s historic bank building on Main Street.

First State Bank of Ida Grove purchased the building from Odebolt State Bank on February 7, 2008. Norm Behrens, Odebolt Manager, stated that plans are to complete the bank’s restoration by the Odebolt Creek Days weekend, which is June 20-22, 2008. They hope to offer tours of the bank to the public during that weekend.

Local resident Bob Hardin stated, “You won’t find a small-town bank building as grand as this in 14 states!"

History of the Building

W.P. Adams, owner of Fairview Farm (commonly known as "The Adams Ranch") was responsible for building the distinctive building in 1914-1915 on a wedge-shaped plot between First and Second Streets, fronting on Odebolt’s Main Street. The architects who designed the building were Graham, Burnham and Company, of Chicago, the same architects who designed the Field Museum and Union Station in Chicago.

First National Bank moved into its new building in 1915. It was distinctive in that was the only Midwest bank to carry its own gold standard currency, which today is listed from time to time on the online auction site eBay.

In the May 10, 1934 issue of The Odebolt Chronicle, First National Bank published a NOTICE TO THE PUBLIC.

“... The Bank will discontinue active banking business on the date to be fixed at the meeting of the stockholders, to be held on June 12th, 1934 and it is assumed that this date for discontinuance of business will be June 18th, 1934.”

This was during the Great Depression when many banks failed. However, First National paid off all its depositors before closing its doors, the only bank in the U.S. to ever do this type of termination.

For the next 33 years the building was closed to public access and looked after by caretakers. And so it remained unused and preserved in time from 1934 to 1967.

In 1967 Odebolt State Bank bought the building from Charles Lakin, who had purchased the Adams Ranch and the bank building in 1962, and moved from its former building on the north side of Second Street. Odebolt State Bank conducted business there for the next 40 years, but very few changes were made to the interior structures.

Renovations in progress

After purchasing the bank in 2008, First State Bank made the decision to restore the building to its former glory, realizing the historic importance of its almost original condition. The beautiful black and white marble floors have been polished. Brass fixtures, doors, and teller cages are being cleaned and buffed. Behind a floor-to-ceiling plastic curtain on the south side of the interior, damage to the walls, plaster decorations and columns is being repaired. Among other restorations, windows will be replaced, and the walls and ceilings will be repainted. Possible future plans may include the renovation of the west "Adams Ranch" portion of the building.

There’s a buzz of activity at the bank as the plastering, polishing and general refurbishing continues, observed by curious locals who stop in to watch the restoration in progress.

In the meantime, it is business as usual, as the bank’s staff provide services to customers.

On the north side of the wall-to-ceiling plastic curtain, tellers carry on with
the business of First State Bank.  Above them is an iron balcony

Postcard of the Interior of the bank as it was originally
 about 1915-1920.  Little has changed!

Click photos to enlarge them

The black and white floor has been polished and sealed.

Window tops with intricate designs between columns on the north wall.

Columns and ceiling on
the east wall.

Plaster work in progress
on the damaged southeast corner of the interior.

Marble counter / divider
with brass work behind it.

A table with a fancy
marble column stands in
the center of the space.


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