MANISTEE BANKING BUSINESS
HISTORY OF MANISTEE COUNTY, MICHIGAN

With Illustrations and Biographical Sketches
of Some of Its Men and Pioneers.
Published 1882 by H.R. Page & Co., Chicago

There appears to have been quite an extensive brokerage and exchange business carried on in Manistee between the years 1860 and 1879. The pioneers in this business were T.J. Ramsdell and E.G. Filer, who opened a broker's office here in 1860. In 1868 Vanderpool & Field came here and engaged in the same business, which terminated in 1869, in the terrible tragedy which gave to Manistee a wide spread celebrity. In 1869 the "Bank of Charles Secor & Co." was started. Soon after Jeremiah Taylor started the "Merchants' Bank," and the "Lumberman's Bank" by N.W. Nelson. Still later Charles F. Ruggles established a brokerage and exchange business, under the name of the "Bank of Charles F. Ruggles."

The first incorporated bank was the
"State Bank of Manistee"

incorporated in February, 1879. Its officers were T.J. Ramsdell, president; James Dempsey, vice-president; William Dunham, cashier. The capital stock was $50,000. July 1, 1881, it became a national association, under the name of the "First National Bank of Manistee," with its capital increased to $100,000.  The officers are T.J. Ramsdell, president; M. Engelmann, vice-president; George A. Dunham, cashier. The directors are T.J. Ramsdell, M. Engelmann, James Dempsey, Joseph Baur, William Wente, John Mee and R.R. Blacker.

Report of Condition At Close Of Business
July 1, 1882.

RESOURCES

Loans and discounts

$323,653.67

Overdrafts

634.03

US Bonds to secure circulation

34,000.00

Premiums paid

4,710.00

Five per cent. Redemption Fund

1,530.00

Due from banks

34,601.81

Cash on hand

32,664.72

$431,794.23

LIABILITIES

Capital stock paid in

$100,000.00

Surplus

13,000.00

Undivided profits

723.05

Circulation

30,600.00

Due to other banks

229.99

Deposits

287,241.19

$431,794.23

The "Manistee National Bank"
opened for business January 10, 1882, with a capital stock of $100,000. The directors are R.G. Peters, E.N. Selling, Horace Taber, Louis Sands, M.R. Denning, John F. Nuttall, B.M. Cutcheon, John Seymour, William Vincent. Officers, R.G. Peters, president; Louis Sands, vice-president; George M. Burr, cashier.

The following is its

Report of Business At Close Of Business
July 1, 1882

RESOURCES

Loans and discounts

$156,753.94

Overdrafts

669.66

US Bonds to secure circulation

50,000.00

Due from approved reserve agents

25,793.50

Due from other national banks

1,049.55

Real Estate, furniture and fixtures

1,500.00

Current expenses and taxes paid

20.83

Checks and other cash items

1,147.74

Bills of other banks

1,608.00

Fractional paper currency, nickels and pennies

5.38

Specie

2,056.50

Legal tender notes

8,500.00

Redemption Fund with US treasurer
(5% of circulation)

2,250.00

Total

$251,355.10

LIABILITIES

Capital stock paid in

$100,000.00

Surplus fund

2,700.00

Undivided profits

472.47

National bank notes outstanding

45,000.00

Individual deposits subject to check

63,666.47

Demand certificates of deposit

39,516.10

Total

$251,355.10

U.S. LIFE BOAT STATION

This station was established at Manistee in the Fall of 1879. The first year it was in charge of James Morgan. He resigned April 1, 1881, and was succeeded by Capt. Henry Finch, who is still in charge. The building is a neat, two-story structure, and everything is kept in the most perfect order, and ready for use at a moment's notice. This is what is known as a complete station.

The crew consists of nine men, including the captain, as follows: Henry Finch, captain; James Finch, No. 1; Calvin Bradley, No. 2; Nicholas Johnson, No. 3; Gunner Clauson, No. 4; Benjamin Genson, No. 5; Thomas Miller, No. 6; Frederick Manigold, No. 7; Jason Pratton, No. 8.

Henry Finch, captain of the station, is a native of the state of New York, and since a boy has followed sailing on the lakes. When the station was established at Manistee, he came here as assistant, and since April, 1881, has been in charge of the station. He is a thorough sailor, and a very efficient officer. Everything about the station denotes the most perfect discipline.

Lonely Relics

Just back of J.G. Younger's grocery store, on River Street, stands a little old one-story house, that successfully defied the elements for thirty years. In 1852 Samuel Potter built this frame building in order to provide more sleeping room for his boarding house, which stood just in front of it. When this was built, River Street was only a crooked track among the stumps, and it had but one companion. The pine had not even been cut out of the valley where the business part of the city now stands, and there was only one track from the valley of the river over the bluffs above; that led up the gulch in what is now the Second Ward. The old Tyson House, three stories high, stood within thirty feet of this little building, when it was destroyed by the fire; Burpee's Hall was as equally near on the other side when it was burned down; the great fire of 1871 swept away two-thirds of the city - other fires have consumed buildings in its immediate vicinity, but no mark of fire appears on this insignificant looking structure. It is the only remaining witness, on the south side of the river, of the days of '52.

On the north side of the river, not far from the mouth, stands the first frame house ever built in Manistee. It was built by O'Neil, in 1850, and used as a saloon. Poor whisky was a staple article in those days.

Great changes have come to pass to this region since those two buildings were erected. They were palaces in their day, but a city has grown up around them, and now, like abandoned creeds, they are chiefly valuable as relics.

PUBLIC BUILDINGS

The public buildings of Manistee are an enduring tribute to the liberality and intelligence if the people of this city and county.

The Central School Building

was the first building of any considerable importance erected in Manistee. Its erection was undertaken in 1866, and completed the following year, though it has been greatly enlarged since that time. The contractor was Hon. T.J. Ramsdell. It is located upon one of the high points in the city, the grounds occupying an entire square. It is built of white brick, two stories and a basement, and is furnished with all the modern facilities for heating, ventilation, etc. At the time it was built the enterprise was an undertaking of startling magnitude. Manistee was then only a township organization of twelve or fourteen hundred population. Everything was new, and it reflects great credit upon those who were instrumental in its erection, that the education of the youth was so munificently provided for. It has been worth many times its cost, to Manistee, as an exhibition of the real spirit and temper of her citizens.

The Court House

is the most showy public building in the city. It was finished in January, 1878, at a cost of about $50,000. It is located upon a high eminence of clay soil, about the centre of the city, between Maple and Oak Streets. The ground is about eighty feet above the level of the lake, and the distance from the top of the spire to the ground is just 131 1/2 feet, or, in other words, the top of the spire stands about 210 feet above the level of the lake, and any one going into that can get a finer view of the city and surrounding country than from any other point in the city. The body of the building is 72x88 feet on the ground, and has a basement and two stories with high ceilings. The basement contains the sheriff's residence of seven rooms, and one of the best arranged and most securely built jails in the state of Michigan. There are ten cells 4x8 in size, and eight feet high, all of them opening into an inner hall, about eight feet wide, formed by heavy iron lattice work all around. Outside the lattice work is a large hall secured by iron bars over the windows. The southeast corner of the basement contains the heating apparatus, which carries warmth to every part of the building.

There are also cells for for women prisoners, and the turnkey's room, all in the basement.

The second floor contains large handsome rooms for each of the county officers, and a room for the board of supervisors. In the office of the clerk and register and treasurer is a large vault for the records. In the third story is the magnificent court room, 46x70 feet in size, with a ceiling thirty-eight feet  high, having large rooms for attorneys, juries, and the judge, opening into it. The room is handsomely finished in the most modern style. In short, it is one of the handsomest brick and stone buildings in the West.

The grounds are nicely graded and surrounded by a handsome iron fence.

Temperance Hall

is situated on River Street. It is built of white brick, two stories high. This building is the enduring monument of the great temperance movement of 1874, and by the noble women of Manistee was built, paid for, and dedicated to all that is good and beautiful and true. The first floor is the reading and lounging room for the Red Ribbon Club. It has two rooms in the rear - one being furnished with cooking stove and apparatus for giving suppers and furnishing refreshments for entertainments. The other is used now for files of papers and books, but will no doubt be kept for the use of the business meetings of the Womans' Temperance Association, by whom the hall is owned. The upstairs is the large hall for public uses. It has a gallery, handsome stage and scenery, and a seating capacity of about 1,000. The hall is reached by two large wide stairways leading up from the street in each side of the building. The entire building was erected by subscriptions, donations, and the proceeds of lectures, entertainments, celebrations, etc., under the supervision of the noble and industrious women who compose the association.

Union Hall

This magnificent building was erected by Mr. R.G. Peters and finished last Spring. He built it for his wife, who dedicated it to the noble work of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union. A formal dedication was made, with appropriate exercises, May 28, 1882. It was situated at the corner of Maple and South Water Streets, and and cost about $30,000. In August it was destroyed by fire, and the whole community felt the misfortune. Mr. Peters, however, is not one to be daunted by misfortune, and immediately gave orders for rebuilding, and the work is now in progress. The new building will be of the same plan as the one burned, with basement fitted up for a kitchen, furnace room, etc. On the first floor the audience rooms, platform, and the whole elegantly furnished. This enterprise of Mr. and Mrs. Peters not only adds a splendid ornament to the city, but is an enduring monument to the noble generosity and public spirit of its founders. From the time it was dedicated until it burned, the building was in almost constant use in the interest of Christian temperance work. The beautiful motto upon its walls: "For God and home and native land", was the watchword, and prompted by this spirit a noble work  was being done. And when another temple of Christian philanthropy shall stand in its place, the great work to which it will be dedicated will again have a habitation in every way worthy of it. 

BUSINESS BLOCKS

Manistee has a large number of neat and substantial business blocks, and the frame buildings of earlier days are rapidly giving place to more pretentious brick structures. In the new buildings that are being erected, as in all other improvements in progress, there is especial attention given to durability and permanency. The future welfare of the city appears to be kept in view. Among the buildings finished or in process of erection, the finest, and, in fact, the finest in this part of the state, is

Hon. M. Engelmann's Block.

The location of the building, corner of Maple and River Streets, is as central as could be desired. Its frontage on River Street is 68 feet by 102 on Maple, and from basement to cornice the height is eighty-nine feet. The material is Milwaukee pressed brick, with Illinois freestone trimmings and foundation. Underneath the basement are three cellars - two for the use of Friend, Joys & Co., and the third a boiler room for furnishing the steam with which every room in the great building will be warmed. Next above the cellar is the basement.

The first floor, containing four as fine business fronts as can be found in the very center of Milwaukee or Chicago, and which arrests the attention and elicits the admiration of all passers-by, is fifteen feet in the clear, and these lofty rooms are rendered as "light as day' by a window frontage composed of fourteen French plate glass 102x78 inches, and fourteen of 41x78 inches - simply a crystal palace. The corner apartment will be occupied by the First National Bank, Mr. Engelmann's private office and the bank director's room. The other three stores are already occupied by Friend, Joys & Co. The second floor is arranged for offices.

The third floor is the grand Masonic Hall, the finest in Michigan beyond any question. The ceilings are loftier still than even those of the first floor, being nineteen feet in the clear. The various rooms are the lodge proper rooms, entirely surrounded by a hall for use in the Knight Templar degrees, a drill room and dancing floor, obligation room, kitchen, banquet hall, cloak room, ladies' dressing room, etc., etc. The wood-work is largely oak, carved with Masonic emblems. The furniture of the lodge has already been selected, and will alone cost $2,500, with everything on a proportional scale of magnificence.

The building is an enduring monument to the enterprising spirit of its builder, and is an ornament to the city.

The "Standard" Block,

in process of construction, is the property of Hon. S.W. Fowler. Its erection was begun last Spring, and is now nearly finished. A fine full page view of this block appears in this work. The building is three stories high and occupies a sightly place on Maple Street. The first story has two stores and the printing office proper. The second story is for offices and the third for a hall and rooms. The walls are solid brick one foot thick. The body brick are red, and from the Manistee Brick Works, while the pilasters and cornice are of Milwaukee brick. On the front is a stone tablet twenty inches wide and eight feet long, on which in raised letters is the name of the proprietor; above this is a pediment sixteen feet long and five feet high, of galvanized iron, in the centre of which in raised letters are the figures "1882." On the north front is a similar stone tablet with "Standard" in raised letters and the date below in marble.

The whole is, nearly as may be,fire proof, and with the exception of the Engelmann Block, is the largest solid brick building in the city. It is undoubtedly the best printing office building in northern Michigan.

H. B. Larsen's Block

is located on River Street and has been built during the past season. It is built of brick, two stories high, and is occupied by him as a dry goods store. The first floor is a double store room arranged expressly for his mammoth business.

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