A History of the First National Bank of Meeteetse
In 1900, three prominent men of the Meeteetse area formed a banking firm named Hogg, Cheeseman, MacDonald & Company Bankers. The following year, the company began construction of a new building, which was to be built using sundried bricks purchased from the nearby Iron Creek Brickworks. In 1902, this new bank opened and the name was changed to the First National Bank.
The bank occupied the building’s first floor until 1975 when it was closed and banking operations moved across the street to a brand new facility. During its history, the second floor of the bank served a variety of functions. From 1901 through 1975, the town council and various civic organizations met there. The upstairs was also home to the Rocky Mountain Bell Telephone Company for a number of years.
In 1987, the interior of the bank was renovated so that it could be used as a museum. In 2010, a major restoration was completed and now offers an exciting example of how the bank appeared during the 1920s. The interior was restored using historic photographs as a guide. The original teller’s cage and cashier’s door were retained during restoration. The vault is also virtually as it was, complete with the original square Victor Safe and a later addition of a Manganese Steel Safe Company “cannonball” safe. The cannonball safe was added due to the fact that this type was considered almost “uncrackable” and included a timer.
On September 5, 1990, the building was added to the National Register of Historic Places. The Bank Museum now houses the original banking ledgers, signature cards, and additional artifacts from those early days, including an oak filing cabinet, a tailor’s table used as a desk, and a rocking chair, which locals say was indeed used in the bank.
Plans are currently being made to restore the exterior of the building so that future generations will be able to re-live a bit of Meeteetse history.