Albion Interactive History / Businesses / Homestead Bank

Albion Interactive History

Albion Interactive History / Banking

Homestead’s 7th location at 415 S. Superior St.Homestead Loan and Building Association, founded 1889

Past Locations

L.J. Wolcott (1889-1931)
Commodore Perry Linn (1931-1944)
Emil F. Holtz (1944-1954)
William C. Harton (1954-1959)
Theodore Van Dellen (1960-1979)
(Re-titled Chairman of the Board in 1979)
Robert C. Tuck (1979-?)

Charles S. Davis (1889)
Isaac N. Miller (1889-1890)
F. F. Jeffries (1890-1891)
Palmer Montgomery Dearing (1891-1893)
Otis A. Leonard (1893-1926)
Reinhold E. Schumacher (1926-1930)
Ray C. Neal (1930-1937)
Richmond J. Ray (1937-1943)
John M. Weeks (1944-1951)
Wayne L. Dellage (1951-1965)
Gilbert A. Wade (1965-1966)
C. Arthur Hagedorn (1967-1971)
Raymond E. Zeman (1971-1979)
(Re-titled President in 1979)
William Mitchell (1979-1982)
Timothy J. Maloney (1982-1988)
Paul Sydloski (1988-?)

On June 20, 1889, Edward P. Burrall, Charles S. Davis, Fred T. Lawler, Warren S. Kessler, and Christian D. Wiselogel applied to the Secretary of State in Lansing that they were “desirous ofbecoming incorporated as a mutual building and loan association for the purpose of building and improving homesteads and loaning money to members thereof only.”

The application those men submitted to the Secretary of State was approved on June 21, 1889, and Homestead was incorporated. Fund raising through the sale of share certificates began, and in the following three weeks, eighty-seven people had purchased 449 share certificates. Withthose satisfactory results, the first formal meeting was scheduled for July 19, 1889, inHoward Hall. At that historic meeting the first board of directors were chosen, and the Association’s bylaws adopted.

The directors of Homestead and the periods of time they were to serve were first determined by lot, rather than by election. chosen for one-year terms were Warren S. Kessler, John G. Brown, Christian Wiselogel, and Robert F. Glascoff. Chosen for two-year terms were Robert J. Frost, L.J. Wolcott, George Farwell, and Edward P. Burrall. Three-year terms went to Horatio Gale, Charles Jeffries, and Benjamin Baxter Bissell. Officers included L.J. Wolcott, president; Edward P.Burrall, vice-president; Charles S. Davis, secretary; Christian D. Wiselogel, treasurer; and Monfort D. Weeks, attorney.

1st Location, Howard Hall, 1889-1890
The Association received its charter from the State of Michigan on August 14, 1889. Business officially began in offices that had been established in Howard Hall. Howard Hall was on the third floor of the building erected in 1857 by John Howard (1831-1897), a local harness maker. The hall served as one of Albion’major secular and social meeting centers during the late 19th century. There Homestead Loan and Building Association operated from August 1889 through June 1890.

The cornerstone of Homestead’s philosophy and organization from the very beginning was the principle of mutuality. Homestead was incorporated as a mutual organization, which meant that it operated for the common good, rather than for the stockholders or individual owners as banks often did. The Association was mutually owned and operated by local Albion people, who worked together to save and provide money for loans to build houses.

In granting the first loans on property in the vicinity of the Gale ManufacturingCompany, the Association was upholding its aim and purpose: to provide funds for building houses for Albion’s laboring classes. Between 1889 and 1892, the Association madethirty-three loans to finance the building or buying of homes in the vicinity of the Gale.

2nd (1890-1896) and 3rd Location (1896-1917)
When the Association’s lease with Howard Hall was about to expire, the officers looked for new quarters. Warren S. Kessler, a member of Homestead’s board and an officer atthe Albion Malleable Iron Company, offered to furnish offices in the Malleable building. Homestead then moved into these new headquarters. Space however became short in the 1890’sand Homestead then rented facilities over Fred F. Hoaglin’s clothing store. Homestead later moved to its third location at 215.5 S. Superior St., on the second floor above Robert L. Staple’s shoe store., from 1896-1917.

401 and 403 S. Superior, home of Homestead from 1917-1961. On the far right note the 7th and current location that Homestead constructed in 1981.

4th Location, 401 S. Superior, 1917-1931
The population of Albion increased from five thousand people in 1910 to ten thousand in 1917. This also brought an increase in building and business to Homestead. When the Commercial & Savings Bank relocated to the renovated Stone Mill, the attorneys and Homestead moved into the banks old quarters on the south east corner of Superior and Erie St. Business was conducted there from 1917 to 1931.

By 1924, Homestead had more than 800 members who were carrying passbooks and receivingapproximately six percent interest on their money. Nearly $500,000 in earnings had been paid out. There were also 200 members who had invested in share certificates for larger sums, which also earned interest.

5th Location, 403 S. Superior, 1931-1961
For Homestead Loan and Building Association, the 1930’s were a time of challenge and survival. Thedecade began on a bright note for the Association, when it moved into new and larger quarters at 403 S. Superior Street, where it was to remain until 1962. In October 1936, over one third of the property once mortgages to Homestead had been reclaimed by foreclosure.

After World War II, Albion’s industries, housing, and population greatly increased. In 1950 Corning Glass Company, the world’s largest manufacturer of glass for technical purposes, built a $5 million plant in Albion. During the unprecedented boom of the 1950s there was a steady increase in the need for loans and building. On manyoccasions, applications for loans at Homestead exceeded the money available to grant them, and unfortunately not all applications were accepted because of it. It was also during this period that the name of the Association was changed from the Homestead Loan and Building Association, to Homestead Savings and Loan Association.

During this period, building increased rapidly. The development of the Sheridan Heights area north of the Corning plant began as early as 1946. The Maple Ridge plat was opened in 1948. Continued employment at Corning through the years resulted in a housing demand that saw other areas of the city being developed. The Magnotta plat was developed, and houses built along Cooper Street and Dean Drive. The Wiener plat was opened, which included Wiener Drive, MillerCounty, Ford Road, and the surrounding vicinity. Orchard Drive, formerly a fruit farm owned by mayor Hugo A. Rieger, was developed. Other areas developed were Locust Lane, Haven Lane, and the Industrial Park.

The boom of the 1950s had a great impact on the growth of Homestead Savings and Loan Association. Assets grew from about $700,000 in 1951, to nearly $5 million in 1965, as the boom continued into the 1960s In 1960 the Association cleared $50,000 in profits.One major change which occurred came when the board of directors voted to move from a strictly conservative 50% down – 50% loan agreement, to a more liberal 20% down – 80% agreement. This brought an increase in business, which in turn resulted in increased profits for the Association.

As an indication of the strength of the boom and of Homestead’s policies, the association incurred only one foreclosure during the years 1951 to 1965, and that was a paper-work move.Another interesting sidelight which resulted from the boom and Homestead’s higher profits, was that the association adopted a policy of paying board members per meeting for their services; it is a practice which continues to this day.

6th Location, 1961-1981
In 1961, Homestead moved to a new location at 211 S. Superior Street. The site was formerly the location of the Morlock U-Kan-Save Variety Store. The Morlock building was demolished, and Homestead constructed a new building, directly across the alley from City Bank and Trust Company for about $110,000. An Open house was held December 29, 1961, and Homestead opened for business at its new location on Tuesday January 2, 1962. The move gave the Association a more prominent, visible image inthe community, and allowed the installation of more technological equipment.

Location of Homestead Savings and Loan Association since 1981.

7th Location, 1981-present
William Mitchell became president of Homestead Savings and Loan Association in 1979. It was during Mitchell’s tenure at Homestead that theassociation constructed its beautiful Italianate style headquarters. Costing $1 million, Homestead’s eighth location was built at 415 S. Superior Street, on a site formerly occupied by Sears & Roebuck & Company. The Superior Street site was cleared on August 1980, and construction soon commenced. Plans for Homestead’s new headquarters had been announced at a breakfast meeting on August 15, 1980. Anartist’s rendition was unveiled showing a large two story brick structure of Italianate design, planned to harmonize with the existing buildings in the southern Albion business district. The building was completed in May 1981, and the grand opening occurred on May 19.

Homestead Savings and Loan applied for and received a federal charter in 1982, which allowed the association to be more flexible in its operations and resulted in additional services to patrons. Homestead had previously been chartered by the State of Michigan.

Homestead Savings and Loan remains committed to is basic philosophy of providing a safe place for depositors to invest their money, and to be a basic residential housing lender in the Albion area. The Homestead board of directors meets monthly to make policy and investment decisions and review individual loan applications. The president of the Association is actively involved in the day-to-day operations, assisted by Homestead’s eleven employees. Together, the team works to fulfill Homestead’s commitment to the people of the Albion area.

Source: Frank Passic. Homestead Savings and Loan and the Builders of Albion: One Hundred Years of Service, 1889-1989. Albion, MI: Homestead Savings and Loan Association. 1988.

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