Farmers and Merchants Bank, built in 1923, was located at the southwest corner of Sprigg and Good Hope streets. (G.D. Fronabarger ~ Southeast Missourian archive)
Farmers and Merchants Bank, which anchored the Haarig district for many years at the southwest corner of South Sprigg and Good Hope streets, opened its doors April 25, 1923.
I remember visiting this bank as a child, when my mother had some business to transact. I seem to recall lots of marble and a huge mural of Cape Girardeau on the wall near the front door. I can't tell you if my memories are accurate, however, because the venerable building was torn down in 1995.
Here are the Southeast Missourian's articles when the bank opened for business.
Published April 24, 1923:
FINE BANKING ROOMS OPEN ON WEDNESDAY
FARMERS AND MERCHANTS HAS HANDSOME QUARTERS, JUST COMPLETED
The Farmers and Merchants Bank building, erected at a cost of $55,000 at the corner of Good Hope and Sprigg streets, will be formally opened Wednesday. The doors will swing open at 9 o'clock Wednesday morning and will remain open until 8 o'clock that night. Invitations have been sent to many Cape Girardeans to attend the formal opening.
Constructed of brick and Bedford stone, the new bank building presents an imposing appearance, standing at the intersection of two of the city's principle thoroughfares. Two stories in height, 70 feet in length and 35 feet wide, it is a building destined to attract the immediate attention of Cape Girardeau visitors who come here from the south by way of Kingshighway.
Visitors entering the banking offices Wednesday for the first time will be impressed by the beauty and perfect arrangement of the interior. The floor is made of Tarrazzia tile with fixtures of Tavarnell marble, the latter imported here from Italy. The base for the fixtures is of marble a green Italian type and the counter rail is the same. All the wainscoting is done in marble, clear and beautiful.
The building has a colonial entrance, two massive stone columns reaching from the ground floor to the top of the building at the entrance. Large plate glass windows are in both the east and north sides, giving the outsider a plain view of the interior and those inside abundance of light. The entrance for the upstairs office rooms is on Sprigg Street at the south end of the building.
There are four cages in the interior of the banking office, all furnished in dull bronze. A heavy plate glass covers the fixtures at the cage windows instead of the usual wood design. In addition to the cages there is a cashier's window, a private office and a directors' room.
Special attention was paid to the construction of the vault, which is 12 inches thick made of reinforced concrete. The door to the vault is 8 1/2 inches thick, made of steel and weighs four tons. It cost $2,225. Inside the vault is a Mosler quadruple steel safe weighing three and a half tons and cost $2,500. A time lock is on the safe making it impossible to be opened except at set intervals.
New money for the bank's business on the opening day has been secured after some trouble from New York. All coins and currency from one penny to $20 bills are new and fresh from the mint.
Organized for business in 1904, the bank has had a remarkable growth, according to cashier Robert Vogelsang. Deposits for the first year amounted to $41,783.98 and last year they were $693,907.92, he said. First president of the bank was Henry Hauenschild, with G.K. Keller, vice president and Lee Albert Cashier. H.A. Nussbaum is the president. W.H. Oberheide and Albert Kempe are assistant cashiers and Elmer Schack and Joe Haas Jr., bookkeepers.
Published April 25, 1923, in the Southeast Missourian:
BANK OCCUPIES NEW QUARTERS
Hundreds of persons from Cape Girardeau and vicinity visited the Farmers and Merchants Bank building at the corner of Good Hope and Sprigg Street at the formal opening today. A large crowd awaited the opening of the banking house doors at 9 o'clock, all anxious to be the first to enter the new building for business.
H.F. Schulenberg of Dutchtown pushed his way through the crowd that flowed into the bank and was the first to make a deposit. He was followed by J. Henry Beckman, and a representative of the Hirsch Brothers store was third.
Women as well as men attended the formal opening, and Mrs. H.C. Wasem, 339 S. Frederick St., was the first to open an account with the savings department. She was followed by F.F. Braun, local grocer, and Will D. Deevers, real estate dealer.
At noon more than 400 persons -- not including the large number of children who flocked to the bank to get souvenirs -- had visited the new banking institution and had offered their congratulations to the officers for erecting such a handsome structure.
Hundreds of telegrams and letters, together with a fine display of cut and pot flowers, were received by the bank during the day. Other local banks and business houses sent congratulations and flowers. The interior of the building was a mass of color, the spring flowers blending in beautifully with the handsome decorations.
The bank will be open tonight until 8 o'clock to give all an opportunity to visit.