On December 31, 1923, Oscar Johnson, Charles Lyrene, and Peter Forsman made application for a certificate authorizing the proposed State Bank of Silverhill.
On April 16, 1924, the Superintendent of Banks, Mr. W. Jackson, approved the Certificate of Incorporation of the State Bank of Silverhill. Listed above are the first twenty-five stockholders of the incorporation. They invested in stock shares of $100 each share, raising $10,000 to begin the bank, which opened May 6, 1924 in the Olander Hotel building, with Oscar Johnson as bank president.
The Olander Hotel, built in 1899 by Charles Olander, was located on the north side of Silverhill Highway (104) on the land that is now in front of the Silverhill Town Hall. The Olander Hotel housed Silverhill’s first hotel, first grocery, first post office, and in 1924 its first bank.
Directly across the highway from the Olander Hotel were Oscar Johnson’s house, barnyard, and farmland. In March of 1925, Oscar Johnson sold a portion of his property to the State Bank of Silverhill so they could build a secure bank building.
A new brick building was constructed in 1927 opening in 1928 with Mr. Phil Armstrong as Bank Cashier, Mrs. Phil Armstrong and Mr. Pelecky as Assistant Cashiers. In the back room of the bank was the Silverhill Post Office with Peter Forsman as Post Master. Upstairs, John Olsen operated a notary service and insurance business.
At the time this letterhead was printed, and in 1930 when the above stock certificates were sold, the bank President was John Mikulecky, Vice President was Dr. R. A. Hail, Cashier was O. W. Crosby, the directors were John Mikulecky, Dr. R. A. Hail, Phil G. Armstrong, Edward J. Havel, Charles Norman, Emil Moravec, and Joseph Kulicka. - Click to enlarge.
The people of Silverhill and the Bank’s investors had no way of seeing into the future and the terrible fate awaiting the Bank. The Stock Market Crash of 1929 helped to begin the Great Depression with its effects reaching all the way to Silverhill. The Silverhill Bank tried to firm its financial foundation by selling more stock in 1930. By 1933, the struggling Bank could no longer stay in operation and went bankrupt.
All the stockholders of the Silverhill Bank lost their investment. The account holders also lost their money. Some accounts were only $2 to $10, but others, such as Mr. and Mrs. Leslie Chandler lost more. Elsie Chandler said her and her husband Leslie were saving to buy a car and had an account of $500 that they lost when the bank’s doors closed.
When the bank closed, Mr. and Mrs. Sixten Edhegard lived in a farmhouse on north Ninth Street in Silverhill with their eight children. Mr. Edhegard raised chickens as laying hens and others as fryers. He also operated a feed and seed farm supply store in the downstairs of the Olander Hotel where Mrs. Lindell had a gift shop.
In January of 1936, Mr. and Mrs. Edhegard bought the Silverhill Bank building for $1500. They sold their farmhouse and moved the family into the upstairs of the bank. The parents had one bedroom, the two brothers another were in a second bedroom, and the six sisters were all in a third bedroom together.
With the bank vault doors still in place, the family operated a grocery store in the downstairs front room. The back room housed the Edhegard egg business. Mr. Edhegard still raised his own eggs in a nearby chicken house and also collected eggs from local farms. In the back room of the bank, the eggs were cleaned and packaged in wood crates for delivery to groceries stores in Mobile. On the west side of the bank building, Mr. Edhegard added a room for his farming supply store. All of the children helped by working in the family business in some way.
In April of 1945, Mr. and Mrs. Edhegard sold their home to Mr. and Mrs. David Forsman. The Forsmans lived upstairs, but did not have a business downstairs. Throughout the years, the old bank building would change owners many more times, becoming a grocery, an apartment, a gas filling station, and a restaurant.
In November of 1994, the First Baptist Church of Silverhill bought the property from the Keating family for $75,000. At the time, the church’s policy was to purchase any property adjacent to the church for future expansion. During this time Geneva’s Diner continued to operate downstairs. The church first considered remodeling the rooms to be used for Sunday School classes, then decided the cost was too high. Then they considered tearing down the building so the area could be used for church parking. Good for the old bank building, they decided against demolition.
In August 2000, Joseph D. Spalding, M.D. bought the building from the Baptist Church for $90,000. Dr. Spalding had previously purchased, renovated, and opened an antique and furniture business in the old Peoples Supply Company store.
Dr. Spalding did an extensive historic renovation of the bank building from September 2000 to May 2001. In May 2001 he opened the Silverhill Antique and Furniture store in the old bank building.