Bank of Carthage Building (former), 301 South Main Street
The Bank of Carthage was established by G. A. Cassil and began in a modest frame building on this site in 1868. The building that stands today was expanded in 1890 from a two story 1884 brick structure into a three story building and much of the facade was refaced at this time, too, especially the main entrance on the corner of the building. Additional exterior and interior alterations happened throughout the 20th century including removing the third floor lodge hall by mid-century. The bank's of founder was G. A. Cassil but other partners when the bank was started were R. W. Hall, E. W. Harper, M. G. McGregor, D. S. Thomas and John Ruffin. Cassil had arrived in Carthage in 1867 and according to one bank history, before establishing the bank and acquiring a safe, he conducted financial business informally and hid his business resources on the person of his wife and wives of other friends (1). Bank of Carthage operations originally opened on the east side of the square in the "Variety Store" but soon a lot was purchased on the north west corner of the square and the bank moved there and stayed at 301 South Main Street until 1960. This structure is included in the Carthage Courthouse Square Historic District of the National Register of Historic Places.
Backstory and Context
When the Bank of Carthage wanted a new facility in the late 1950s, the board of directors exchanged property across the street (see Bank of Carthage #2, 231 South Main Street entry) and built a new building. Gray-Seaver Drug Store that occupied the 231 South Main Street building moved into the old Bank of Carthage Building and operated for many years.
The current business on site, Carthage Deli and Ice Cream, displays many items of Carthage memorabilia and advertising pieces including those related to the Bank of Carthage. Inside the deli visitors also can see early H. E. Williams fluorescent light fixtures in the ceiling that were manufactured up the street when the Williams factory was located in downtown Carthage (see Clio entry for Carthage Shoe Manufacturing, later H. E. Williams Products, 106 South Garrison).
The bank structure offered its second floor for professional offices, while the third floor served as the Independent Order of Odd Fellows (I.O.O.F.) lodge hall. The Knights of Pythias, the Grand Army of the Republic, Stanton Post (G.A.R.), the G.A.R. Auxiliary, and many other local organizations have used the hall as well. While the major portion of the first floor was occupied by the Bank of Carthage, two other small storefronts were located on the first floor as well. Among those occupants were various jewelers and shoe stores (Steadley Brothers Jewelers in 1900 and Haight Shoes in 1927, for example). Later occupants included Eaker's Shoe Company and Van Perk's Ladies Wear store.
Among the second floor offices in the building over the years was Dr. Everett Powers' second medical office. Many other doctors, lawyers, insurance people and other professionals were located in the second floor offices. Among these were Cecil Miles Insurance, William Wright Insurance and Real Estate, Frieze & Crandall & Crawford Law Office and the Carthage Loan and Investment Company. (The Powers Museum archives holds limited records for the latter along with its Bank of Carthage holdings.)
Ferguson, Richard. Bank of Carthage: 100 Years of Banking and Community Service. Carthage MO: M. C. Jackson Printing Company, 1968. (1)
Powers Museum Vertical Files: Bank of Carthage & Cassil, G A
Vandergriff, Sue. Then and Now. Carthage MO: author, 2003.
2017 Building photograph by Michele Hansford.
1888 Bank view former Powers Museum exhibit image.
Interior photograph from Powers Museum Collection.
Bank artifacts from Powers Museum Collection.
Powers medical items from Powers Museum Collection.
Suit from Powers Museum Collection.