A Brief History of The Baxter State Bank—EST. 1905

The history of a bank is the story of people; its founders, its shareholders, its employees and its customers. It is people who have made THE BAXTER STATE BANK the oldest of the Main Street’s continuing business institutions.

In the early 1900’s, though not yet a “boom” town, Baxter Springs was enjoying a comfortable growth. The population had reached 1290, good farms were developing and businesses were growing. In February of 1905, J.M. Cooper, Lillian H. Moore, Tom Moore, F.S. Greene, T.J. Morrow, E.L. McCarthy, W. VonWedell and C.W. Daniels met to organize a bank that would meet the needs of the expanding community. Organized under state laws, capitalized at $30,000, with a directorate composed of well known, representative and successful businessmen and financiers, The Baxter State Bank opened its doors for banking business on April 21, 1905.

By 1908 expansion was necessary. Plans for construction of a new bank building were made and in 1910 the building was ready for occupancy at 1036 Military. In 1914 Will Hartley was elected president, a position which he held for twenty-five years. Deposits had climbed to over $90,000 and the condition of the bank was declared “Good and Prosperous”. During the first eight years in the new building, deposits multiplied eight times over!! In 1928, The Baxter State Bank was declared the strongest bank in Cherokee County and was most commonly known as the “Million Dollar Bank”. A set of scales was purchased for the benefit of our customers and in 1928 had registered the weight of 31,117. Those same scales still stand in the lobby of the current bank building. With the passing of time, changes were to be expected. Will Hartley retired in 1939 and John L. Cooper was elected president. Herbert W. Price held the office of president from 1951 until December 1966. At that time, Carl O’Leary was elected president of the bank serving until 1980. Floyd Chase held the position from 1980-1988. Richard Graue served in 1988. Our current president, Jim Hoskins, took office in 1989.

Due to continued increased business, ground was broken at the corner of Fourteenth Street and Military Avenue for the site of the existing bank building. A building of modern round design featuring the latest in banking equipment and furnishings soon favored main street. Yet even in the midst of today’s automation and computerization, we think you will find a good share of old-fashioned personal attention. For more than 100 years we have continually modernized our equipment and speeded our services… but never at the expense of a warm personal relationship with our customer and our community. The Baxter State Bank has maintained a consistent policy for conservatism and intelligence that has characterized its existence since its founding in 1905.