The Gerber State Bank, Argenta, Illinois, was founded by James W. Brown and Samuel Gerber as a partnership under the names of “Brown and Gerber Bankers”, in 1887. We’re excited to learn more from Our Town Argenta!
The bankers opened for business in a wooden frame building just north of the railroad tracks along North Street. Eventually, that wooden structure burned to the ground. Before that fire, the bank had moved to a one story brick building that still stands on the south side of Elm Street along Argenta’s business district. In 1914, a new modern brick structure was erected on the corner of Elm and North Streets and opened for business in January 1915.
During April 1958, the bank presented to its patrons a completely remodeled building with an addition, including a new entrance East of the then diagonal corner doorway. The bank’s first drive-up facility was then opened at a rear window.
In June of 1983, the present, newly remodeled and expanded facility was displayed to the public with an open house presentation.
Today, the bank performs all the bookkeeping functions and record keeping duties in house. In 2001 a branch was completed at Oreana assisting in all banking needs.
Lawrence G. Bennett, a great-grandson of Samuel Gerber, was elected President in 1967 and held the office until 1973. Gordon Bennett, Lawrence G. Bennett’s son, was President from 1973 to 1979. Edwin M. Wallace served as President from 1979 to 2004. Larry G. Bennett, Lawrence G. Bennett’s grandson, the current President, was elected in 2004.
It is unique that The Gerber State Bank has had only seven Presidents in its 130 years of existence.
Thankfully, the only bank robbery experienced in 131 years occurred on Thursday, April 14, 1910. The bank’s headquarters were on the south side of Elm Street in the one story brick building. The burglars dynamited the bank door but failed to open the money vault. They stole 150 dollars and escaped west of town on horseback, never to be apprehended.
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