Do Religion and Money Mix? A Tale of Two Banks
Diagonally across the street is the First Security Bank building. When it first opened on August 10, 1910, it was called the Uintah State Bank. The local Mormon population did not like the loan policies of the Catholic-managed Bank of Vernal, which is directly behind you. After much discussion, their general dissatisfaction resulted in the establishment of a rival bank. Mormon S. R. Bennion became the President of the Uintah State Bank.
The Uintah State Bank prospered, despite depression and wars. Following are notes taken from their board meeting of January 1937: “Lambs were sold at from three cents to nine cents per pound and cattle sold as high as fourteen cents per pound during July and August. Feed was plentiful and cheap, hay selling for five dollars and seven dollars per ton and grain for one cent per pound.”
Shortly after the bank opened, the Vogue Theater (right photo) was built. It was the community center for current news reels and a way for Vernal to see what was happening in world. A ticket cost twelve cents. Unbeknown to the building owners, the janitor operated an alcoholic still in the basement.
This is #4 of the 21 stop history walking tour in downtown Vernal, Utah. See the other stops on this page: