Historic banks and bankers of Del Norte County

June 12, 2007 11:00 pm

By Thea Skinner

Triplicate staff writer

Before the decline in the timber industry and decontrol of the banking industry, Del Norte County was home to several banks.

The first Del Norte County Bank was organized May 5, 1900 with a board of directors. The bank was built at 3rd and H Streets, and first conducted business in 1901. The bank was sold to the Bank of Italy, which later became Bank of America.

One of the first stock holders of the Del Norte County Bank was Joseph Armitage Shaw of Ferndale.

Wells Fargo Bank was located at the corner of Second and L Streets as a temporary location.

The bank is famous for it's stage coach logo. In July 1967, Wells Fargo Bank held a celebration for their arrival with stage coach rides. State Sen. Randolf Collier rode shotgun into town on the bank's 100-year-old Concord stagecoach.

At the time, the nation's only female stagecoach driver, Virginia Fellingham, sat next to Collier.

After years of serving the county, Wells Fargo Bank closed its doors in January 1985.

The bank was consolidating offices before they decided to close.

Wells Fargo Bank may have anticipated that the population was on the rise and opened based on a 1967 rule of thumb of 7,000 population per bank.

The bank's competitor was First Interstate Bank. Many banks at the time were becoming central banks, First Interstate Bank's philosophy was to expand.

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