Southern Ohio Museum
Backstory and Context
Business-owner George D. Selby joined others in the Portsmouth-area shoe industry to organize a bank in 1904. Selby’s Security Savings Bank & Trust Company moved from its original location on Gallia Street (which is still standing today) to a new beaux-arts style building across the street in 1918. In 1929, just after the stock market crash, Selby’s bank merged with Central National Bank of Portsmouth. In 1974, the president of the Security Central National Bank, Harry Kuhner, decided to move the bank from Selby’s building to the old Montgomery Ward building.
Locals then decided to open a museum in the beautiful old building, but first, funding was needed. To help with this, Edmund J. Kricker, chairman of the board and chief executive officer at First Federal Savings & Loan Association, offered to donate one dollar for every two dollars that were raised. Because of his help, the initial campaign brought in about $300,000. With this money, renovations on the old building began and collections for permanent exhibits were acquired. The Southern Ohio Museum and Cultural Center opened to the public in 1979.