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Historical Photomerge: First National Bank, Nappanee

Historical Photomerge of
This bank from 1908 still stands in small town Indiana. Archival photo source: Nappanee Public Library, Nappanee, IN.

Every town has fascinating stories to tell. I recently had the pleasure of learning more about Nappanee, IN when I visited their public library and historical center. Nappanee is a beautiful small town that is big on tourism events including The Nappanee Apple Festival, Amish Acres Arts and Crafts Festival and this past year it also hosted WFRN’s Friend Fest, a two day Christian concert event.

As I was searching through their local photo archives I came across this intriguing photo of a downtown bank. The handwritten photo caption says “MOVING IN JAN 5, __”. The year is illegible, however, it’s safe to guess from the building’s frieze it was 1908 or 1909. If you examine the scene¬† there is a group of men assembled preparing to transport the bank’s safe into the building.

HistoricalPhotomerge-FirstNationalBank2

I can’t be entirely sure how they are going to get the safe inside, but it appears the window to the left may not have glass in it yet. The safe is on caster wheels and my guess is the planks and logs are to move it towards the window. A few men are in work clothes and others are in business attire, perhaps bank owners or officers.

UPDATE: Recently Linda Fairchild Smead wrote in with more information:

That safe they were loading into the building was still there in 1960 when my Dad owned the building. He had a printing company there, Quality Printers, and the safe was in a big vault in the middle of the building. They kept paper stored in the vault. I used to love to explore it!

For historical photomerges I purposely search for ways to contrast technology and lifestyle. I love the unresolved questions and sense of mystery photos like this leave behind. For me they are historic treasures. It is also my way of introducing new generations to local history. All too often once the buildings are demolished the history is soon forgotten.

If you are a resident of Nappanee feel free to comment or share information about this scene.

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