Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Maynard's History of Banks

Approaching Maynard’s 150th anniversary, the town is served by Middlesex Bank and Citizens Bank. Of course, for many people their cell phone is their bank, but you don’t get a safe deposit box or free lollipops with that.

Facade has dates 1904 and 1929 for bank start and
this building. As of  1988,Middlesex Savings Bank.
The first mention of banking services in Maynard pre-dates 1900. The Assabet Manufacturing Company, under management by Lorenzo Maynard, allowed employees and citizens of Maynard to have money in interest-earning savings accounts; employees earned 5%, non-employees 4%. At the time the company declared bankruptcy on December 31, 1898, deposits were $132,000. According to the centennial history book, on August 12, 1899, assignees managing the distribution of mill assets paid the depositors 25%, and then on February 23, 1900 (after the purchase by the American Woolen Company), an additional 35%. [A different account of the event says employees got a combined 66 2/3.] There were rumors at the time that the mill owners and Maynard family had diverted funds before the bankruptcy, and that Lorenzo Maynard signed over mill property estimated at $250,000 to protect himself when the crash came. Such was the animosity that there was a failed attempt to change the name of the town to Assabet.

Starting in 1898, the Hudson Cooperative Bank (established 1885) – had an agent, not a branch – in Maynard. People could make mortgage payments and deposit savings with George Salisbury, who was station agent at the train station. This made sense because he could take the train to Hudson. George was succeeded by Charles H. Persons (main job, musical instrument salesman), and then by Frank E. Sanderson, who served as bank agent at his store. Frank is better known to Maynard history as the Town Clerk from 1913 to 1948, and also for being entombed in the Maynard family crypt with his wife, Mary Augusta (Peters) Sanderson (1874-1947), the great-granddaughter of Amory and Mary Maynard, last descendant to live in Maynard. 

Assabet Institution for Savings, the first bank in Maynard, opened on April 29, 1904. Its physical location began in the Riverside Block – building later home to Gruber Bros Furniture – then built an impressive brick building at 17 Nason Street in 1929, moved in January 1930. It survived the Great Depression, morphed into Assabet Savings Bank, and in time was acquired by Middlesex Savings Bank.   

Logo for Maynard Trust Company
bank, 1913. Click to enlarge.
The U.S. Postal Savings System was operated by the Post Office from 1911 to 1967. These savings accounts were popular during the Great Depression because they were backed by "the full faith and credit of the United States Government." President Roosevelt’s creation of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation in 1933 provided security for commercial banks, lessening the attractiveness of postal savings.

Maynard Trust Company began operations in 1913 as Maynard’s second bank. The MTC building at 75 Main Street, under a statuary eagle and the founding date, opened for business in 1926. MTC was acquired by Middlesex County National Bank in 1947, the building abandoned in 1965 for an existing building at 25 Nason Street. Middlesex acquired Assabet Savings Bank and moved into Assabet’s building, adding “Middlesex Savings Bank” signage with an electronic clock and a semi-accurate temperature display.

building vacant as of 2017
The United Co-operative Society of Maynard started Maynard Consumers Credit Union in August 1948. It was at 64-66 Main Street, later 68 Main Street, and lasted until the end of the Co-op in 1973. Bank-wise, there was then a quiet bank start-up period until the 1970s, when a spate of branch banks opened: Community National Bank (1973; at 52 Main Street), Garden City Trust Company (1973), Concord Co-operative Bank (1978) and Digital Credit Union (1979). None are in Maynard now. DCU had a branch office in the mill and at 129 Parker Street. DCU survived the end of Digital Equipment Corporation, but the closest branch is in Acton. BayBank Middlesex moved into the building at 25 Nason Street in 1979 and then underwent a series of name changes including BayBank, Fleet, and lastly Bank of America (2004), which closed its doors in the fall of 2017.   

building, as of 2019 vacant.
The most recent bank building to make an appearance in Maynard was 47 Nason Street, opened as Garden City in 1973, later housing Concord Co-op, then Citizens Bank starting in 2001. The company had started out as High Street Bank, Providence, Rhode Island, in 1828.

Traditionally, banks had impressive facades that often outlive the actual banks, leaving behind “ghost signs” on buildings that have been repurposed. “MAYNARD TRUST COMPANY” graces 75 Main Street. The building dates to 1926. The bank was acquired by Middlesex in 1947. Similarly, “ASSABET INSTITUTION FOR SAVINGS” is lettered atop Middlesex Bank, there since 1988.  

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