History

Serving since 1890

We’re proud of the fact that we have been serving Giddings and our surrounding communities since 1890.  As the 16th oldest bank in Texas, we have a long history, but have never strayed from our goal of providing the citizens of Lee and surrounding counties the friendly customer service you deserve.

From a historical perspective, the First National Bank of Giddings might well be called the first bank in Lee County, although there was a private banking business in Giddings a few months prior to First National coming here, known as P.M. Cuny and Company. 

On September 1, 1890, the Comptroller of the Currency authorized the First National Bank to begin the business of banking. In March, 1891, the First National Bank consolidated with P.M. Cuny and Company, and the resulting entity has been known as the First National Bank of Giddings ever since.

Early Exterior of FNB of Giddings
First National Bank Lobby circa 1900 
History Early Exterior History Early Lobby

 

The legendary Monroe Hannes became president of the bank in 1945, and presided over the growth of both the bank and Giddings until his death in 1978.  After his death, his brother, Emmett Hannes served as President until 1982.  Chief Executive Officers who have served since 1982 include Gary Falke, Mark Sheffield, and our current President and CEO, Bill Landiss (1999 – Present.) 

Counter check from the 1890's
First National Bank $20 bill
History Counter Check
History 20 Dollar Bill

 

In 1947, assets and liabilities of the Guaranty State Bank, Paige, were transferred and relocated to First National, and Guaranty's President, H.G. Lehmann, became employed by First National Bank here in Giddings. 

First National Bank lobby at Christmas time, 1954
Nighttime view of First National Bank in the 60's 
History Lobby Xmas 1954 History Nighttime View 

 

First National Bank remains at its original location on Austin (Hwy 290) and Main (Hwy 77) Streets.  It has been remodeled and redecorated several times; a night deposit vault was instituted in 1948, a glass door installed in 1949, and a director's room built in 1950. 

In 1959, two adjoining buildings fronting Hwy 290 were purchased and in September temporary quarters were set up in the former York drug store while the old wood frame building was razed to make way for a more modern and sturdy structure.  Walter Droemer was the contractor for the new building which featured an award winning suspended mezzanine for the second floor.  This remains visible in the bank lobby today.

Postcard of the architect’s rendering of the current First National Bank building in 1978
History Postcard

 

 In 1976, the bank began construction of an expanded bank and drive-thru facility located next to the main bank building and in 1978 it opened.  The Drive Thru facility and the expansion to the main building were both constructed by Gaeke Construction Co. of Giddings. 

Motor Bank Construction – 2003
Motor Bank 01 Motor Bank 02

 

In 2003, the Bank purchased a parcel of neglected and abandoned railroad right of way from Union Pacific Railroad for the construction of a new and much larger motor bank facility that, due to its location, would have the appearance of a train depot.  The bank commissioned an architect to design a style to fit in with the antique depots already owned by the City on other nearby rights- of-way.  Gaeke Construction Co. again served as the contractor for this project.  The colors that were chosen for the brick and for the paint on the outside of the building are colors that would have been found in a train depot at any given time in the early 1900’s in Giddings.  

Antique depot-style motor bank – Current
Antique Depot Style

 

Our new drive thru features eight lanes with two-way color video monitors and a walk-in lobby.  

Motor Bank lobby - Current
Motor Bank Lobby

 

The inside of the depot-style motor bank features extensive crown molding, wallpaper patterned after the early 1900’s styles, wrought iron teller ‘cages,’ similar to what a train ticket booth might have looked like.  We incorporated a patterned brick lobby floor and custom made wood features throughout.  Furniture was commissioned, with the help of a local furniture store, to reflect the period, and it is featured in the lobby waiting area, offices, and conference room.  The pictures on the wall are reproductions of actual photographs borrowed from citizens of the community.  The pictures all feature local interests, with three being of local area depots in the 1800’s and early 1900’s, one of Giddings High School circa 1915, and the interior and exterior of First National Bank from the 1890’s.  Also displayed and archivally mounted are early checks from our bank, dated as far back as the early 1900’s that were found in a recently renovated historic home in Giddings and donated to us by the current owner. 

The Giddings post office was built in the central business district in 1937.  Like most downtown areas, parking became inadequate, and the postal service purchased the local lumber and hardware store next door.  The 1920’s vintage lumber store was torn down after it relocated to a different part of town, and a parking lot was constructed in its place for postal patrons.  This has worked out well, with only one noticeable problem.

Mural BeforeAs a result of the postal service demolition, the common wall between the now demolished lumberyard and the existing business, a flower shop, became exposed and was not sealed against the weather and the elements. More importantly, the wall was unsightly, especially since it was located on the main street through Giddings (U.S. Highway 290.) 

As a result, First National Bank decided to take action on its own.  The Bank obtained permission from the flower shop owner to repair, seal, plaster, and paint the wall. 

Mural painter Johnny Jones and his son, Robert
Mural 01 Mural 02

 

The Bank then contacted Johnny Jones, a local sign painter, and conveyed the concept of painting an 80 foot long mural that would be 11 feet high, which depicted typical Giddings storefronts of the period.  

One storefront was taken from a photo of the First National Bank of Giddings in 1890.  Another storefront depicts a turn-of-the-century flower shop named Laverne’s (the actual store name of the current flower shop.)  The third storefront is a 1920’s style hardware store.

The painting of the mural took over 10 weeks to complete because every painted character, brick, window, awning, - every detail - has a shadow.  This makes the actual mural wall appear to be three dimensional.  In fact, near the end of the project, someone actually parked in the postal lot, took a chain saw out of their truck, and tried to enter the hardware store to have his saw repaired.

Finished mural wall
Mural Completed

 

The artist also painted 14 hidden objects into the mural - a fish hook, nail, clothes pin, marble, penny, four-leaf clover, lizard, needle and thread, safety pin, dime, and a butterfly.  Bring the kids out to see the mural and see if they can find these objects!

Clerks Office Before Clerks Office After

 

First National Bank occupies nearly one entire block of land at our primary location and we are directly across the street from the Lee County Courthouse on one side and the First Presbyterian Church on the other.  The Courthouse was built in 1898 and was completely remodeled in original turn of the century fashion a few years ago.  The First Presbyterian Church was built in 1876.  Additionally, the First National Bank has shared its own block of land with the historic Fletcher Home, built in 1879 (the original home of Concordia University,) and an appliance repair store that was constructed in 1950.  When the store owners retired and closed their appliance repair business, First National Bank purchased the property.  We then employed an architect to redesign the façade, so that the 1950’s building could be redesigned to fit more aesthetically into our Historic District.  The expected result would be a building that on the outside would resemble a turn of the century building.  The ultimate goal of this endeavor would be to compliment and enhance the appearance of our historic 1898 Courthouse, the 1876 Presbyterian Church, and the 1879 Fletcher Home. 

Through these efforts, we have been able to enrich some of the history of our community and the architecture of the late 1800’s and early 1900’s.  We are very proud of our history and have been blessed with many generations of satisfied customers.  We invite you to bank with us as well.