Images of the past: First National Bank, Moulton, 1920s

In July 1900, Bradley’s Bank became the First National Bank of Moulton. For the next quarter century, the bank was a familiar presence on Main Street. About 1920, the building pictured above was constructed, giving the bank the image of a sound temple of finance.

The temple soon developed a shaky financial foundation, and in January 1927, the bank was placed in receivership. Its slow demise stretched out over the next two years as assets were sold off. During the 1920s, an average of 70 banks failed each year nationally. After the stock market crash in 1929, 744 U.S. banks failed during the first 10 months of 1930.

In July 1932, the Savings Bank of Udell announced it would open an office in Moulton. One month later the Udell bank had become the Farmers and Merchants Savings Bank and moved its office to Moulton. But the aftershock of the stock market crash was severe.

In March 1933, six days after being sworn in, President Franklin D. Roosevelt declared a banking holiday and ordered all banks to close for one week. Americans had no access to banking services. They could not withdraw or transfer their money, nor could they make deposits. After the closing order was lifted, the Farmers and Merchants Savings Bank had an ad in the Moulton Tribune proudly proclaiming, “This bank has been listed by the State Banking Department as a CLASS A institution and it is now open for business without restrictions ...” The bank continued for a few years but never thrived.

The Moulton Tribune’s banner headline for Aug. 1, 1935 announced, “Branch Bank To Open Here Monday / Banking Facilities To Be Provided By The Davis County Savings Bank.” The bank would be located in the former Farmers and Merchants Bank building. For the next 70 years, the bank operated from this building.

In July 2005, the Davis County Savings Bank (now known as the Success Bank) moved to a new building a half block north of its former location. The Moulton Success Bank, as it is now known, features modern enhancements that include drive-through service and an enclosed walk-up area that the former location lacked.

 —Rudy Evans  |  revans1953@gmail.com