On this corner, in 1865, the four immigrant Walker brothers, (Samuel, David, Joseph, and Matthew) built the first permanent home for their Walker Brothers Dry Goods retail and wholesale store.
A large iron safe at the back of the original store led these brothers into the banking business when it became a depository for the gold dust, coins and other valuables of the early settlers.
According to legend, receipts were never exchanged. The word of the Walker Brothers was good enough for the early pioneers.
From these humble beginnings, the retail store which became a bank, is today First Interstate Bank.
Across the street to the east is the Walker Center with the iconic Walker Tower on the top, changing lighting colors based on the weather.
In 1850, the Matthew Walker family left England for the promise of a better life in America. The tortuous ocean voyage and cross-country trek claimed the loves of Matthew and two of his daughters. His wife Mercy and four young sons survived, arriving by wagon in the Salt Lake Valley in 1852.
The Walker Brothers earned a reputation as enterprising young salesmen. When Johnston’s Army was recalled by President Lincoln to fight the Civil War, the Walker brothers bouht enouhg of their supplies to form a wholesale and retail store – Walker Brothers.
Since 1859, the Walker brothers had maintained a bank within the store, one of the first banks established West of the Mississippi. It was formally chartered in 1871 as Walker Brothers Bank. The bank then became Walker Bank & Trust Company in 1931, and in 1981 First Interstate Bank.
Deseret Bank Building
First Security Branch of Wells Fargo
Oldest continuously operated banking site in Utah.
This site, the northeast corner of First South and Main (formerly East Temple Street), was first occupied in the 1850s by an adobe building housing the Hooper & Eldridge bank. This bank was succeeded under territorial law in 1871 by the Bank of Deseret, with Brigham Young as founder and President, who in 1872 converted it to the nationally chartered Deseret National Bank. First Security Corporation acquired Deseret National Bank in 1932 and moved its headquarters to this location from Ogden, Utah in 1955. First Security operated a banking office here for 68 years before merging with Wells Fargo in 2000.
This present building was erected in 1919. This First Security branch, continuing to “give 110%”, was dedicated on January 16, 2004.
Tourstop 14 in the Salt Lake City Tour says:
Deseret Bank Building – 1919, Lewis Telle Cannon and John Fetzer
A bank has stood on this corner since 1868 when the firm of Hooper and Eldredge established a bank in their retail store. That bank evolved into the Deseret National Bank which played a leading role in the commercial development of Utah. In 1919 the present structure was built replacing a cast iron fronted building from 1875. After First Security Corporation acquired Deseret National Bank in 1932, it opened as the First National Bank of Salt Lake City until 1948 when it was integrated into the First Security Bank system. As part of a national trend toward bank consolidations, Wells Fargo Bank acquired First Security in 2000. Despite all the changes, the name of Deseret Bank can still be seen in terra cotta on the west side of the building.
Zions First Nation Bank
One of Utah’s Oldest Financial Institutions
Brigham Young founded Zion’s Savings Bank and Trust Company in 1873 to promote thrift and generate savings for investments in the wake of financial panic. For the first few years the bank operated out of various storefronts on Main Street, but in 1890 it moved to spacious new quarters at this site in the Templeton Building.
The bank successfully weathered the financial difficulties of the Great Depression and in 1957 changed its name to Zions First National Bank when it merged with two other financial institutions. In 1965 the bank moved into its current quarters when the Kennecott Building replaced the Templeton Building. Today, the bank has more than 100 branches in Utah and Idaho and is one of the most influential banking institutions in the West. After a renovation in 2007, the bank’s home office is now known as the Zions Bank Building.
Provo’s First Bank was Late in Coming but Didn’t Last Long.
Because of cheap land, small farms and a general scarcity of money, there was little need for banks in early Provo. When the city’s economy showed signs of rapid growth in the early 1880, Salt Lake City and local investors joined together and formed the First National Bank of Provo with a capital stick of $50,000.
Abraham O. Smoot served as its first president, and William H. Dusenberry became the cashier. The new bank opened April 3, 1882, in the county recorders office, where it did business for a year and a half. Late in 1883, the bank moved its operations into its nearly completed building on the northwest corner of University Avenue and Center Street.
The bank’s new, two-story, brick building sat on a full basement. Business offices occupied the top story, and the bank and a mercantile establishment opened on the street level. For a short period of time in 1883 and 1884, after the original Brigham Young Academy Building on Center Street burned, students met in the bank building’s second-floor offices.
The bank flourished during the boom period of the 1880s, but it was forced to close its doors during the nationwide depression if 1893. The bank went into the hands of a federal bank examiner. Depositors eventually received all of their money back after the Provo Commercial & Savings Bank bought the First National Bank of Provo.
Commercial Bank remodeled the building in 1900 and changed its outside appearance almost completely. The refurbished building sported a tower to match the one on the new Knight Building across the street to the east. Together, the two buildings made a welcoming gateway into downtown Provo. They still do.
The NW corner of University and Center:
First National Bank of Provo – 2 West Center
Businessmen A. O. Smoot organized the First National Bank of Provo in 1882 and constructed their first building on this site in 1884. In 1894 the Provo Commercial and Savings Bank took over First National. Reed Smoot had organized the new bank in 1890. Provo Commercial and Savings constructed this building in 1904. Like the Knight Block, the architect for this building was Richard C. Watkins. Watkins also designed College Hall and other commercial buildings on University and Center during the real estate boom in Provo at the turn of the century. The new bank resembles the Knight Block and is late Richardson Romanesque-Commercial. The ground level has been altered, eliminating a large arched window. Look especially for the capitals on the free standing and engaged columns. They have some of the finest hand carved masonry work in Provo. The carving, which is also Richardson Romanesque inspired, includes Gothic creatures and naturalistic designs such as leaves. The second level has remained essentially intact.
The Payson Exchange Savings Bank was opened in April of 1890 in a new two-story building located on the southeast corner of Main Street and Utah Avenue. Since the bank did not have the proper license to operate at that time, it was forced to close until the following year. It was not granted a license to operate until January 1891. The bank advertised that it could transact a general banking business, forward money to any part of the United States, Mexico, or Europe at the lowest possible rates.
In 1924, after more than thirty years in business, the Payson Exchange Bank failed and closed its doors. In 1927, Payson City purchased the building and established a city office complex. The City Library was moved from the Hancock Building located a block north of the old bank building. The library occupied the main west portion of the bank. The City Council Chamber was located on the second floor above the library
The City Offices were moved from the old City Hall across the street west of the City Park to the east rooms of the bank building. The offices had their own entrance located on Utah Avenue. The city police and a jail were located adjacent to the city offices. R. W. McMullin, attorney-at-law occupied the rooms above the city offices.
The bank building housed the library and city offices until the early 1980’s when they were moved to the new city complex located in the newly remodeled Payson City Hospital building located on West Utah Avenue.(*)
It is now Eli’s Old Fashioned Ice Cream and Soda Shop, an awesome place that not only has great food and ice cream but is fun to sit in and look around at the old bank vault, windows, woodwork and more.
The First National Bank Building features the oldest known cast iron facade in the Internountain West. It was designed by Richard M. Upjohn, one of America’s most distinguished 19th century architects. The building originally had a fourth story which was destroyed by fire in 1875.
First National Bank was spectacularly profitable when it constructed this building in 1873. By the end of 1874, the bank had been liquidated. The depression of 1873 and liberal lending practices were the main cause of the bank’s demise. Its expensive new building, however, contributed to its financial woes. Originally estimated to cost $80,000, the building ended up costing $140,000.
See other buildings on Salt Lake’s Main Street on this page.
There is also a monument in front of this building to the Pony Express Station that used to be in this location.
The old Studio Theater was also located here.
McCornick and Company Bank
This building was constructed in 1909 to serve as the new home of McCornick and Company Bankers and has continued to the present to serve as a bank. McCornick and Company first came to Eureka in 1898, when they moved their bank, fixtures and all, from the mining town of Mercur, apparently with the interest of replacing the George Arthur Rice Bank, which had folded in 1897. Around 1917, Eureka Banking Company took over the building, which gave way to the Commercial Service Company in the 1960s. The current (1985) occupant of the building is First Security Bank.