The bank pictured in a 1993 family photo was the First National Bank of Intercourse, located at the intersection of Old Philadelphia Pike and Newport Road (routes 340 and 772), in the small, rural village of Intercourse, Leacock Township.
In February of 1908, a meeting was held in the village to pick a committee to organize a national bank. The building lot was purchased for the sum of $235.
The architect, William P. Erisman of Lancaster, was hired for $75, and Samuel B. Futer, a local contractor, built the bank for $5,347. The bank opened for business on Oct. 10, 1908.
This bank merged with Farmers National Bank of Lititz in 1972. Two years later it became Farmers National Bank and moved to a new location at the west end of town. The bank at that location is now known as BB&T. The original building is currently home to the American Military Edged Weaponry Museum.
The bank opened four days after my father, Ira J. Buckwalter, was born.
In 1928 at the age of 20, after attending Lancaster Business College, he became an employee of this bank. He was employed there until 1948, working as assistant cashier when he was called to serve as treasurer of Eastern Mennonite Board of Missions and Charities. He had been serving as part-time assistant to his stepfather, Sem Eby, who was treasurer from 1933 to 1948.
Having grown up in this village, this bank was where I had my first savings account. My father opened my account when I was a baby. I had several childhood earning jobs in town, one of which was removing snow from the bank walks and steps before going to my one-room school on cold winter mornings.
I have memories of going to the bank with my savings book and hard-earned cash to make my deposits. Sometimes when a teller would see me coming, she would step aside and call to my father to serve me if he was available.
During the 1940s and ’50s, the V.D. Kling agency held Saturday general public auctions behind Zimmerman’s Department Store, just east of the bank. The location where auction purchases were paid for was at a table set up in Zimmerman’s Hardware store, which is across the street from the bank in our family picture.
One of the persons working at this table on sale days was one of Victor Kling’s young daughters, Patsy Kling Burnley, who, along with her husband Robert, later developed Kitchen Kettle Village. The hardware store has since moved to a new location.
At about 4 p.m., after most of the auction purchase payments had been made, my father would go to the hardware store to pick up the bag of auction cash, walk it across the street and place it in the bank’s walk-in vault.
I remember going with him several times and was completely amazed by the huge, thick door that my dad would open by turning a big chrome wheel on the door several times in one direction, then in the opposite direction, and then in the opposite direction again.
He instructed me not to talk to him while he turned the wheel because if he made a mistake the burglar alarm would activate. After the money bag was placed inside, he closed the heavy door, spun the wheel several times and home we went.
When we were about age 10 to 12, my buddy, Harry Elmer, and I worked for Victor D. Kling at the auction.
The author lives in Landis Homes, south of Lititz. He notes the historical information in his story comes, in part, from a Heritage Series note card, published by Farmers First Bank.