First National Bank

Early in 1907 a group of citizens felt very strongly for the need for banking services that would include the northern portion of Lebanon County and take in the northwestern section of Berks County.  After several meetings a charter to organize a bank was applied, along with starting capital of $25,000 on July 6, 1907 under the name of the First National Bank of Fredericksburg. Having the charter secured the bank was officially open for business on July 11, 1907 with their first location in the front room of the house at 101 W. Main Street.  The original space used by the bank was rented from Jacob B. Boeshore-a local huckster and creamery operator who owned the building and lived around the corner at 115 South Center Street.

Jonathan Swope-circa 1900

Jonathan Swope-circa 1900

The first president of the bank was Jonathan Swope who was a merchant from the area surrounding Frystown, Pennsylvania. Business was conducted in the original location until May of 1908 at which time the bank moved into the newly constructed P.O.S. of A. building located down the street at 124 E. Main Street at the southwest corner of Main and Pine Grove Street.  The bank occupied two rooms on the first floor of the building with the barber shop of John A. Lentz in the back of the same floor, while the patriotic organization occupied the upper floors of the building.  Local contractor and painter Jacob F. Strauss was the primary business in the construction of the new building in the summer and fall of 1907.

From the initial organization the assets of the bank grew quickly.  Ten year after the bank formation in 1917 the assets had increased fro $25,000 to more than $310,000.00 and still later in 1927 the bank figured reached $671,000.00 within the first twenty years of operation being open. After the retirement of Jonathan Swope who served as President of the bank from 1907-1952 his son Augustus Swope took over the leadership of the bank from 1952 to 1958, and was followed by Charles P. Long of Lickdale, Pennsylvania and after him by Curtis Swope.  The current president is Rodney P. Seidel who has served in his position for many years.

In addition to the changes in the key officers of the bank, other changes have taken place over the last 100 plus years. Initially the bank employed 12 persons with one main office in 1907, and at present more than 85 persons is employed with eight branches stretching into the surrounding counties of Berks and SchuylkillCounty.

In 1923 the board of directors of the bank included Jonathan Swope as President, Levi S. Moyer, Vice President, Charles C. Bensing as Cashier, Samuel A. Deck; as Assistant Cashier, Roy W. Gassert; as Teller and Eugene D. Siegrist, as the Solicitor. That same year the board voted to ask the P.O.S. of A lodge for more space in order to better service their customers and the general public.  In 1959 the board took action to purchase the property from the lodge and to enlarge their facilities.  A few years later the bank planned to open a drive-in window to meet the ever growing demands of their customers. This was in operation by 1961.

In November of 1992 the bank purchased land from Lloyd W & Effie Yerger on South Pine Grove Street for the purpose of building a new banking facility to serve the community.  With the purchasing done and construction completed the bank now moved from the old location which had served them for nearly 86 years and looked towards the future to serve their ever-growing base of customers into the twenty first century.

First National Bank-circa 1950

First National Bank-circa 1950

Charles C. Bensing-First Cashier

Charles C. Bensing-First Cashier

 

Photograph of bank President Jonathan Swope courtesy of his great-grandson Jonathan Swope.