Farmer's Bank of Weston
108 East Main Street (SW corner of E. Main Street and N. Franklin St). Historic name: Farmer's Bank of Weston. Common name: City Hall/Weston Museum Date of construction: 1891. Style: High Victorian Italianate. Significance: Primary
Farmer's Bank - now City Hall
Backstory and Context
This is the only brick building in the district of genuine high style employing architectural cast iron.
Constructed of locally manufactured brick, the two-story building is rectangular in plan and presents a frontage of approximately 62 feet on Main Street, approximately 72 feet on Franklin Street. Openings in the ground story of the Franklin Street facade are segmental arched and are framed with architrave molding. The main entrance, a round-arched portal, is contained in a angled corner bay and is framed with a classical surround of cast iron. The ground story of the Main Street facade is arranged as conventional shop windows with cast iron columns marking off the major divisions. The westerly end of the building contains a separate shop space presently occupied by the Weston Museum. Second story openings are elongated double-hung windows under top lights with segmental arch heads and concrete lintels. The major divisions are marked by rusticated strip pilasters of brick. Inset spandrel panels occupy the spaces below the window sills. The building is exceptionally well preserved except for the loss of what is presumed to have been a galvanized sheet metal cornice from its high parapet. With the angled corner bay originally surmounted by a pedimented crest, the roofline of the Farmers Bank of Weston was the highest in town. Brick flues still stand along the east parapet but are missing their corbeled caps.
The building houses Weston City Hall and the rear of City Hall now houses the Weston Food Pantry.
When the Farmers' Bank of Weston was first built, the second level was the Weston Opera House, but when the upper level was sold to three fraternal orders and their auxiliaries, the town was left without an opera hall. A contractor had promised to build another. As he was thinking about leaving town, he wanted to make good on his promise and one was built behind the Watts and Rogers Hardware Store, which is now the Long Branch Cafe. The new building was used for many purposes, even a basketball court.
With the come of the Depression, the bank felt the need to close. It is not known how long before it reopened as the Weston City Hall. At sometime a dropped ceiling was installed and the entire office was painted beige, from top to bottom. In an attempt to lure a bank into Weston, the City conducted their business in the Club Room at the Memorial Hall, then the front of the City Shop. The Bank of Commerce spent much time and money tearing out the false ceiling revealing the ornate original ceiling, stripping the woodwork and painting the walls the original colors. It was a masterpiece to behold.
When the bank was ready to move in, the money arrived from Milton-Freewater by stagecoach and was attacked on the way by robbers. A blank was fired from a rifle that made a mark in the ceiling that is still visible today. The bank eventually moved to their own location and the building is once more the City Hall. The office next to the City Hall has housed an undertaker, council chambers and the Police Station. Further to the right, was the Weston Furniture Store, and for many years. was the Telephone Office. Many locals can tell of helping in that office. Later it was a doctors' office operated by Dr. Bruske, who lived up the mountain, just past the Tucker place.
Bob Gilliland and Amy Mayer remember attending a holiday party held in the upper lodge hall. They don't remember who hosted it, but Bob thinks he remember someone in a pig costume. Bob remembers calling in from the ranch, our number was 29R22. It was two longs and 2 shorts. Anyway, we were looking for Dad. And when the operator looked across the street and saw his pickup, she transferred the call to the barbershop. Dad was found!