‘Old Bank Building’ on Main and Broadway once reigned as the pride of Santa Maria | San Luis Obispo

Commonly referred to as the “old bank building” on Main Street and Broadway, it was a relic from another generation but once reigned as the pride of Santa Maria. However, it eventually had to be demolished to make way for a gas station.

The Bank of Santa Maria was formed by Paul Tietzen and Fred Jack who came to Santa Maria in 1889 to establish branches for separate banks from San Luis Obispo. However, according to published reports, there was not enough business for the Commercial Bank of San Luis Obispo (Tietzen) and the County Bank of San Luis Obispo (Jack) in Santa Maria, with a population of 200 to that time.

With capital of $ 25,000, the bank began with the two San Luis Obispo banks holding the shares which were then sold to residents of Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties.

The first chairman was LM Kaiser with Antone Pezzoni as vice chairman, Jack as manager and Tietzen as cashier and secretary. A year later, Tietzen became bank manager.

Bank records showed that deposits totaled $ 100,000 in 1905 and exceeded the million dollar mark in 1909.

Branches of the bank were established early in its history in Guadalupe, Los Alamos and Orcutt.

A Santa Maria Times reporter once called it “a splendid building”. He also pointed out that the banking rooms were equipped with the most complete furniture possible. Moreover, the safes and safes were the best “geniuses invented and money can buy.”

“The rooms are paneled, finished and furnished in rich mahogany; the latter upholstered in leather. With its rich facilities and marble floors, the Bank of Santa Maria is an ornament to the city and a credit to officials.

Renovation work was then carried out on the building over the past few years, and the building has doubled in size.

The building was erected in 1907 when the Bank of Santa Maria moved a few doors east of its previous location to a two-story brick building and was incorporated in 1890 as Santa Maria’s first financial institution.

Sign up to get the headlines delivered to your inbox!

Latest news | Local sports | Daily titles | Local Death Notices | Weather | Local offers

Renovation work was then carried out on the building over the past few years, and the building has doubled in size.

At some point during this period, the clock and lettering indicating “1907 AD” was replaced by the replica of Christopher Columbus’ flagship Santa Maria adorning the main entrance.

A 1923 Santa Maria Times article called the building “beautiful neighborhoods.”

The financial institution operated under the name Bank of Santa Maria until 1922 when it merged with the Los Angeles Trust and Savings Bank, which became the Pacific Southwest Trust and Savings Bank, the precursor to Security First National Bank.

Giving an explanation for the merger, the Santa Maria Times wrote that “radical changes in the economic conditions of the community have created a demand for the introduction of new capital if the community is to be properly developed. Realizing this condition, the shareholders of the Bank of Santa Maria had previously voted for affiliation (through a share swap) with the Los Angeles company so that the community could benefit from the services of such a large institution.

Security operated in the building until 1959 when a new structure was erected on East Church Street.

When the bank stopped in the old building, it became the site of a shoe store and later when the shoe store moved, the building was used for special purposes, such as a political headquarters. , seat of Santa Claus and even for an art display.

The building and property were then acquired by Superior Court Judge Marion A. Smith and County Supervisor Curtis Tunnell who then sold it to Mobil Oil Corporation, which received a license to use from the Commission d city ​​planning for a ranch type gas station.

It doesn’t stop there. The story of the old property of the Bank of Santa Maria will continue.

Shirley Contreras lives in Orcutt and writes for the Santa Maria Valley Historical Society. She can be contacted at 623-8193 or [email protected] Her book, “The Good Years,” a selection of stories she has written for the Santa Maria Times since 1991, is on sale at the Santa Maria Valley Historical Society, 616 S. Broadway.

Comments are closed.