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Throwback Thursday: Susquehanna roots in Greencastle, Pennsylvania, date to 1864


The Main Susquehanna Bank branch in Greencastle, Pa.

Susquehanna is truly honored to be part of a banking legacy in the Greencastle, Pennsylvania, community with roots that date back to 1864.  As we celebrate a 150 year tradition dedicated to community banking, we are proud to share our storied history.

“The mechanics, merchants, and manufacturers of neighboring towns would all find it convenient and profitable to patronize a bank here” – James W. McCrory, editor, wrote in The Pilot, Greencastle’s weekly newspaper, in 1863.

When James McCrory wrote these words of encouragement to the townsfolk, the great Civil War had passed this way, right into the streets of downtown Greencastle.  In the 1860s, Antrim Township was the wealthiest entity in the county.  The railroad and network of highways in the area, along with the strong agricultural economy, set the stage for economic prosperity in the community.

As the war progressed, the demands for farm products increased, which in turn required improved machines, conveyances, and tools.  Local leaders understood that such economic growth required a banking institution.

On June 3, 1864, nine local men signed an organizational certificate requesting authority to establish a bank under the provisions of the National Banking Act.  They chose the name The First National Bank of Greencastle.  Banking operations began in rooms of a dwelling located on the west side of North Carlisle Street, two buildings beyond the lot where today’s bank now stands.

First National Bank of Greencastle in the early 1900s.

First National Bank of Greencastle in the early 1900s.

Just a few years later, directors moved toward erecting a Bank building and purchased land on the northwest corner of the public square.  In March of 1869, the Greencastle firm of Crowell and Davison was contracted to furnish both the foundation and building.  Upon completion, the building accommodated not only the bank operation but meeting rooms and offices at the second level, with the Mt. Pisgah Lodge on the third floor.  From the beginning, the Bank has served as a financial center, but as a community meeting place as well.

In 1872, the Town Clock was completed and it has since graced the top of the Bank building.  Maintained by the Borough of Greencastle, the clock tower continues to serve as a principal landmark in the community.

After surviving through three wars and the Great Depression, the bank continued to flourish.  The county’s first drive-up window service was added in 1953 and in the 1960s, the bank’s assets more than doubled.

The year 1979 marked the start of a complete remodel, along with a single story addition that was constructed on the northern side of the original building.  More than 4,000 visitors attended the open house to celebrate the new interior, which included an extraordinary, circular-shaped teller line.

To enhance the interior, the bank commissioned, Mark Twain Noe, a local painter of wildlife and historic events, to provide a series of pictures portraying historic events of the Greencastle-Antrim community.  Known as the Gallery of History, the paintings on the Bank walls continue to showcase the community’s heritage.

Greencastle 150thIn 1989, the bank purchased two adjacent buildings, the Hostetter and Conn buildings, to accommodate its ongoing growth. The bank and its directors decided to preserve the buildings and return them to their 1919 splendor.  The bank nominated Baltimore Street for the “Main Street Historic District” with the state’s Historical and Museum Commission.

After reviewing the application and visiting Greencastle, members of the commission were so impressed, they expanded the area to include some residential areas as well as the commercial. Because of the bank’s commitment, most of Greencastle’s downtown is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

In 2012, the Bank joined the Susquehanna family, a transition that brought together two community banking legacies in Greencastle.  The Citizen’s National Bank of Greencastle, established in 1901, and The First National Bank of Greencastle both served as financial institutions for customers for over a century, but also as pillars of the community, invested in the success of residents and businesses alike.  Together, the leaders and employees of Susquehanna maintain a commitment to the Bank’s heritage and community traditions such as Old Home Week and Heritage Christmas.

As a local financial leader, Susquehanna Bank is proud to embrace the heritage of our preceding institutions.

Although we’ve celebrated many milestones throughout the years, our employees have not lost sight of what community banking is all about.  It’s a hometown banking atmosphere where each customer is greeted with a friendly smile and a warm conversation. It’s passionately serving others and taking a personal interest in helping customers meet their financial goals.  It’s being a trusted business advisor to our customers, generation after generation.  It’s partnering with local businesses to help the communities prosper.  It’s rolling up our sleeves and volunteering with non-profit agencies to enrich the the local communities we serve.

It’s about doing what counts – and as we move forward, we will continue “Doing What Counts” for our customers and the Greencastle community.

Editor’s note: Facts for this article can be attributed to The First National Bank 1864-1989, Written by William P. Conrad, Manuscript preparation by Jane Alexander

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Posted in Throwback Thursday.

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