Tredyffrin Easttown Historical Society
History Quarterly Digital Archives

Source: April 1968 Volume 15 Number 1, Pages 10–16

The Berwyn National Bank Now the Community Bank and Trust Company

Sara Nuzum

Page 10

A meeting was held by the citizens of Berwyn and vicinity at the home of Mr. Isaac Cleaver on June 5, 1888 to consider the establishment of a national Bank in Berwyn. Those present were the Messrs W. Harris; A. John Campbell, W.H. Burns, W. Atlee Potter, P. J. Trego, J. W. Sharp, Frank Stauffer, R. B. Olie, George A. Johnson, William H. Fritz, Isaac A. Cleaver, ' William M. Coats, P. W. Lobb, William Wayne, Jr., Adams, Curwen, and Potts. Mr. William Coats was elected chairman, and Mr. William Wayne, Jr., Secretary. The minutes of that meeting show that Mr. Stauffer's motion that the capital stock of the proposed bank be fixed at fifty thousand dollars carried unanimously. A motion made by Mr. Sharp,and unanimously carried, stated that the Secretary be authorized to take the names of those wishing to subscribe to the Capital stock resulted in the following:

Wm. Coats $5,000
J. W. Sharp 5,000
W. Harris 1,250
I. A. Cleaver 2,000
Wm. H. Fritz 1,000
Geo. A. Johnson 100
R. B. Okie 500
Frank Stauffer 500
P. W. Lobb 1000
W. A. Potter 100
P. J. Trego 200
W. H. Burns 300
A. J. Campbell 500

A committee was appointed to solicit subscriptions to capital stock, to recommend a location for the proposed bank building, and for any other information which might be required in that connection. Messrs Sharp, Cleaver, and Burns were ap"`pointed to that committee.

The next meeting was held June 12, 1888 at which time the committee reported no difficulty in obtaining a charter for $50,000., and encouragement in securing subscriptions, but little success in securing ground. The Committee recommended that a committee of five be appointed with power to act and power to add to their number, to select Directors to organize the Bank, and to obtain subscriptions. Chairman Sharp appointed the Messrs. Sharp, Cleaver, Fritz, Wayne, and Coats as the Committee.

On July 20, 1888 a meeting of the proposed Directors of the Berwyn National Bank was held at the home of I. A. Cleaver. This meeting was attended by Messr. Wm. Coates, Isaac Cleaver, William Wayne, William H. Walker, J. W. Sharp, Jacob Acker, and Edward Gallagher. Mr. William Coats was appointed Chairman, and J. W. Sharp, Secretary.

Page 11

On motion of Mr. Cleaver, seconded by Mr. Walker, it was resolved that the proposition of J. W. Sharp to sell to the Bank a lot of ground on the Lancaster Turnpike, adjoining the property of Isaac A. Cleaver, said lot to be not over 40 feet frontage on the Turnpike, and to extend back 110 feet to a roadway leading to Mine Avenue, at the price of $2.00 per front foot ground rent. The Messrs. Cleaver, Sharp, and Gallagher were appointed as a committee to procure drawings of the proposed building. The Secretary was authorized to consult counsel regarding the organization of the bank, upon unanimously carried motion of Mr. Wayne.

A meeting of the Board of Directors of the Berwyn National Bank was held at the home of Mr. Cleaver on July 24, 1888. Those present were the Messrs. Wm. M. Coats, I. A. Cleaver, Wm. Wayne, Wm. H. Walker, Jos. W. Sharp, Edward Gallagher, P. W. Lobb, and Thos. B. Jones. The Committee investigating organization requirements reported that it would be necessary to have all the stock subscribed before the organization could be oompleted. Drawings prepared by Mr. Cupris, Architect, were presented.

On August 27, 1888 another meeting of the proposed Direc"`tors of the Berwyn National Bank was held at the home of Mr. Cleaver. Those present were the Messrs. Wm. M. Coats, I. A. Cleaver, P. W. Lobb, Edward Gallagher, Thos. B. Jones, Wm. H. Walker, Jacob S. Acker, and Jos. W. Sharp. The Secretary re"`ported that 444 shares of stock had been subscribed for and recommended that organization of the proposed bank be completed. The Committee on the bank building reported that plans and specifications had been prepared, and an advertisement inviting proposals for construction had been placed in the "Malvern Item."

On September 10, 1888 Mr. William Burns submitted a bid for the construction of the bank in the amount of $4425.00. The Building Committee was authorized to contract with Mr. Burns to construct the building, with assistance of Mr. Culver in the erection thereof, and to contract for such extras and alterations as they might find necessary. At this meeting Mr. J. W. Sharp was named President of the Building Drive, and Mr. I. A. Cleaver was named Vice President.

Mr. P. W. Lobb was unanimously elected Secretary of the Board. The President and Secretary were authorized to complete the purchase of the selected site for the bank building and to procure a seal for the bank. The official seal which was selected bears the legend

The B.N.B.
Berwyn, Pa.

Page 12

The meeting of November 10, 1888 was held at 3:00 P. M. in the Library Room of the Berwyn Hall. The Building Committee reported that they had executed the contract with Mr. Burns for the erection of the bank building, and had bought from Farrell Herrig and Company, of Philadelphia, fire-proof doors for the vault and burglar proof safe to be placed in the building for $1350.00 complete.

The Committee appointed to secure the seal for the bank showed the impression to those present. The seal was adopted as the corporate seal of the bank upon unanimously carried mo"`ion of Mr. Cleaver.

The First National Bank of Philadelphia was selected for the deposit of reserve funds and for all other funds until the opening of the Berwyn National Bank. On motion by Mr. Wm. M. Coats, it was ordered that 50% of the stock be called in on December 1, 1888 as the first installment. An executive committee was named of President Jos. W. Sharp, Vice President I. A. Cleaver, Secretary P. W. Lobb and Mr. Wm. M. Coats to prepare the By-laws.

On December 22, 1888 the Building Committee reported the construction of the bank was completed with the exception of the front door which was delayed on account of hardware.

Upon motion by Mr. J. S. Acker it was ordered that the Berwyn National Bank commence business on Tuesday June 1, 1889. The regular hours of all banking business to be from 9:00 A.M. until 3:00 P.M.

The President was authorized to engage Mr. J. Comly Hall to act as Cashier at a salary of $1200.00 a year, this was in June, 1889. The President reported having received the bond of the cashier in the amount of $15,000.

It was agreed that Friday of each week, at 9:00 A. M. be named the regular time for discounting.

The President handed over the deed for the lot on which the bank building stands, and the Board of Directors requested the Cashier to have it recorded.

It was ordered that the Bank books be closed for settle"`ment, or semi-annual statement on June 30 and December 31 of each year.

The President was authorized to have the bank building insured.

Page 13

The Executive Committee was empowered to have 1000 circulars and 200 postal cards printed announcing the opening of the Bank on June 1, 1889.

The Board of Directors met on January 1,1889 and adop"`ted the By-laws.

On January 4, 1889 Mr. William Kerr was employed as janitor of the new bank at a salary of $10.00 a month until April 1st. Mr. John C. Aker was employed as a clerk at $25.00 a month, if his services proved satisfactory. The President reported having placed insurance on the bank building and fixtures in the amount of $4000, with the Mutual Company of Chester County, January 18,1889.

The President reported on May 10, 1889 that the Capital Stock of $50,000 was fully paid. The report had been sent to the Department of Banking at Washington, and the receipt of the Comptroller of the Currency was presented showing that act.

The front room on the second floor of the bank was rented to the Y. M. C. A. of Berwyn for $12.00 a month, including heat and janitor service, on March 21, 1890.

On December 26, 1890 it was voted to pay the President $300.00 for his services during the past year upon motion by Mr. William Walker.

January 16, 1891 recorded a promotion for J. C. Acker to Bookkeeper at $35.00 a month.

In June of 1891 it was voted to close the bank on Sat"`urdays at 12:00 noon until the fifteenth of December, 1891.

Mr. William H. Haines was appointed a member of the Board in May of 1896 to fill the vacancy resulting from the resignation of Mr. Isaac A. Cleaver.

On January 15, 1897 the Board approved the selling of ten shares of stock at $100 a share, and in December of 1897 a dividend of 2% on the capital stock was declared payable.

Mr. William Wayne disposed of his stock thus causing a vacancy on the Board. At the November 1900 meeting it was agreed to notify the stockholders of this act upon motion by Mr. West. The office was filled at the December meeting by the appointment of Mr. J. W. Dewees of Paoli.

Mr. J. C. Hall, Cashier, tendered his resignation at the December meeting, to take effect on February 15,1901.

Page 14

Mr. John C. Aker was unanimously elected Cashier at the January meeting, also effective February 15, 1901. At the same meeting Miss Jennie Williams was appointed clerk at a salary of $40.00 a month.

Mr. E. Lewis Burnham was appointed Director of the bank in January of 1917.

The bank began to pay a bonus in December 1920.

Mr. William Haines, President died in 1929. At the November 1929 meeting Mr. William H. Fritz was unanimously elected President, and Mr. D. B. Sharp was elected Vice President.

The May 14,1930 meeting recorded that the Berwyn National Bank leased a building belonging to James Boyle as temporary quarters while a new bank was built. At the May 23rd meeting authorization was given for the President and Secretary to execute a contract with Messrs Murphy and Quigley for the erection of a new building in accordance with plans and specifications prepared by Ritter and Shay, Architects. In October of the same year the Board held its first meeting in the new quarters.

A resolution passed at the May 1930 meeting provided for the operation of the Trust Department of the Berwyn National Bank. Mr. John Acker was named trust officer, and Mr. Charles Gibb was the assistant.

On March 10, 1933 the Government declared a bank holiday. The Berwyn National Bank was closed from that date until February 8, 1934.

In October of 1934 the death of Mr. William H. Doyle was noted as a personal loss by the Directors with a tribute in appreciation of his services to the Bank and community, especially during this period of suspended banking services.

Mr. Kerr, the first janitor of the bank, died in March 1934.

The minutes of the October 1938 meeting record the death of Mr. William H. Fritz after 38 years of service. Mr. Fritz had served as Secretary of the Board from 1900 to 1938. Mr. William

H. Fritz, Jr., was appointed Director to fill the vacancy caused by his father's death.

In January 1939 Mr. J. W. Sharp was elected President of the Board of Directors, and held that office until January 1940. Mr. George Roop served in that capacity from January 1946 until 1948 when Mr. E. Lewis Burnham was elected President.

Page 15

The Bank prospered uneventfully for the next several years. In February 1955 a piece of ground 29' X 123' in the rear of the bank was purchased from Miss Sara Nuzum for a park"`ing lot.

The May 1956 meeting recorded the attendance of Mr. White to discuss bids for enlarging the bank. This project was completed successfully and an Open House was held in January 1957 with 250 guests.

In June of 1957 the Berwyn National Bank and the Paoli National Bank merged and in July the name was changed to the Upper Main Line Bank. The Transit Department moved to Paoli January 1964, and Open House was held at Paoli January 23,1964.

On November 4, 1965 the Berwyn office evacuated the building at noon because of a fire in the basement. A great deal of excitement was occasioned, but the blaze was confined to the basement. Supplies and stationery were destroyed. There was considerable damage by water and smoke and the bank was closed for a period while repairs were made.

February 12, 1965 the computer was installed.

In 1966 another merger was effected when the Parksburg Bank joined the Main Line Bank. This merger caused another change of name and the Community Bank and Trust Company resulted.

Mr. Lewis Burnham was presented with a lovely plaque in 1966 commemorating fifty years of service in banking in Berwyn.

On December 31, 1966 the first employees to be retired under the new bank policy were Mrs. Henrietta Good and Mr. Charles E. Gibb. Mr. Gibb joined the bank on July 16, 1923, and was Executive Vice-President for the past several years. On June 30, 1967 Miss Sara Pyott and Mr. Disston Hosback joined the retired group.

In January 1967 the bank bought the double house 629 and 631 Berwyn Avenue. The building was razed the following summer and the drive-in, formerly at a rear window in the bank, was relocated as a separate building in the new area. This addition of property provided additional parking area for the bank, as well as an outlet onto Berwyn Avenue.

Two more offices are planned in the near future. The bank to be located at New Centerville has been delayed because of the long time consumed in road construction in that area, but the office to be located on Route 202 at Goshenville is progressing.

Page 16

Material for the article on the Berwyn Bank was obtained from the minute book of the bank; also Mr. Charles Gibb provided information.


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