A HISTORY OF THE State Exchange Bank BY MARCIA P. ADAMS
AS PRESENTED TO THE ANTIQUARIAN SOCIETY OF CULVER ON AUGUST 8, 1998.
An institution's chronological history can be as cold as stones that mark the dead. Personal stories of events that took place during the life of the institution are what impart warmth to the account and make it come live.
If I were to sum up the history of The State Exchange Bank, I would say it was an institution begun by one family that existed for its customers and built community trust and helped people toward financial security. An institution built of brick and stone with a foundation of honesty and love for one's fellowman was the bank that Good Will built.
We think of Will Osborn as the personification of the institution and he was that, but it would be unfair to tell about W.O. and leave out the many other facets of the bank and its people that made it the grand institution it was. So, bear with me. I'll not get every name in place nor every promotion and change listed, but I'll use some of Charlotte Jung's history, some of Bob Rust's historical facts and my own additions.
Schuyler C. Shilling was born in 1862 near Round Lake, south and west of
Knox, Indiana in Starke County. After high school, he attended Valparaiso University, the Bryant and Stratton Business College in Indianapolis, and taught school for two years. In 1887, he formed a partnership with brother Edgar to farm the 1000-acre shilling homestead in the Kankakee Valley, north of Hamlet, Indiana. After farming until 1900, he and wife Amanda with their five children moved to Culver, Indiana in Marshall County. On August 1, 1901, there was a privately owned Exchange Bank of Culver, located on South Main Street, second lot south of Jefferson Street. (Later, this building became the Smith Shoe Repair and after that, the
Cultice business) Schuyler Shilling bought the bank from M. C.
McCormick. With an increase of capital from $ 5,000 to $10,000, and with resources of $20,000 the privately owned bank began operation under new ownership. There were 240 private banks in Indiana at that time.
Interesting to note, The Exchange Bank, previous to McCormick, had been owned by John Osborn, father of W. O. Osborn. John bought the bank as an investment. To start a hotel for flourishing Culver Military Academy business, Mr. Osborn sold it to M. C. McCormick. The New Culver Hotel was situated on the corner of Jefferson and Madison. In the early seventies its name was changed to The Osborn House. (More to come on this) And in the early 80's, the building was razed for safety reasons. Today, the lot is vacant but for a small ornamental gazebo on the back
At 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday, December 29, 1920, robbers staged a bank hold-up. One of the men shot Jacob Saine, Culver resident who later died of the wounds. Jerome Zechiel was also wounded. Carl Adams twin brother, Earl, another defender on the scene, was not injured. Three robbers escaped on foot through the basement of the bank. One bandit who had crossed the street to the Ewald meat market and locked several customers of that store in the ice box after having sprayed the bullets that killed Mr. Saine got in the car with the driver of the get-a-way car and the two drove away from the scene. Later the three hold-up men who escaped through the basement were caught. The driver, named Byer, was apprehended in Knox, Indiana while he was walking into his home. The bandit who shot Mr. Saine was not caught. On January 1, 1921, the bandits were moved from the Marshall County jail to the Michigan City detention center as a precautionary move as the citizens of the county were very irate at the intrusion of their world. The bandits were arraigned on January 8 in Marshall County and were indicted by the Grand Jury on Manslaughter charges.
The getaway car, complete with bullet holes
The newly remodeled interior.
The newly remodeled interior.
Culver’s first banker, John Osborn, points to the bullet holes in Dr. Mackey’s car
Irene Bogardus, Wilma Smith, Martha Werner, Helen Kruman, and Lenore Medburn faced the bandits’ guns
Citizen publisher M.R. Robinson exhibits the special edition of the paper devoted to the robbery
Oliver C. Shilling demonstrates his shooting technique
the car of H.H. Tallman, riddled with bullet holes, and the same vehicle after evidence of the gunshots was removed by D. L. Jones
Some months after the robbery, Mr. Osborn received an extortion note from one of the robbers threatening death if W.O. didn't bring $20,000 in a bag to a particular location in Plymouth, Indiana. (A copy of this note is on the counter.) Daughter Francis Osborn Butler remembers her mother, her husbands another and father, who were visiting from Nebraska, and herself going to Plymouth and waited for news of the drop at a restaurant. While Will drove, Oliver Shilling was lying in the back of the car on the floor with a submachine gun. Four policemen were staked out in a house across from the alley. Osborn dropped the sack filled with fake bills beside a trash can. No one came to pick up the bag. But a lone car cruised by the site after midnight leading police to believe it was the robber who was tipped off to the stake-out.
The bank as it appeared in the 1930s; the Culver Public Library can be seen to the right.
the assembly room which included a state of the art theater-seating projection room
pantry in the kitchenette in the downstairs cafeteria area
the hallway leading to the kitchen area
Glenda Sellers (seated) speaks to Alice Mikesell (standing) in the kitchenette area
stairs leading to the basement kitchen area
A 1938 advertisement for the bank's Christmas Club
A 1930s advertisement shows the bank decked out in Christmas finery.
Charlotte Jung, having joined the bank in 1946, is pictured with W.O. Osborn in 1947.
W.O. Osborn at his desk at the bank in 1947
A gathering of the IBM officials who visited the bank in 1947, including famed IBM chairman Thomas J. Watson, Jr.
Wallace Clark and Zenith Crossgrove, State Exchange Bank custodians, in 1947.