"The Corner Store"
Fred Bush & Phebe Mickle in the Bank
Outside the Bank - Stan Harris
In 1924, Bush moved his banking operation's headquarters to Alturas, leaving branches in Cedarville and Fort Bidwell. An undated Modoc Record story said, "But when Cedarville seemed on the verge of blowing away, he (Bush) moved to Alturas and changed the name to the 'Modoc County Bank'. Like other banks across the Nation, it failed in 1933. One reason for this failure was that the bank overextended itself in trying to help cattlemen who had been hit by a three year drought."
FDR was inaugurated on March 4, 1933 and within days declared a National Bank Holiday, suspending all banking transactions. By then, 11,000 of the nation's 25,000 banks had failed, including all three branches of the Modoc County Bank. None of the 3 local banks ever reopened.
Another article said, "Depositors in the defunct Modoc County Bank will be paid dividends this month totaling $18,248.00." The bank went bankrupt here on Sept.2, 1932, a time that is becoming known as the "infamous great depression".
Looking back, that final settlement for the bank's depositors was considered quite generous though the bitterness of the times has not been forgotten by some local families to this day.
After its failure, the bank’s Cedarville building was acquired by Walter and Dorothy Kober. They operated “Kober’s Kash and Carry” store in that location for 38 years before selling it to Ron and Lee Seibel and Allan and Patricia Leydecker in 1972. The new owners changed the name to “Cedarville Grocery”. It was next owned by Pat and Penny Flanagan who celebrated its history by displaying photos and artifacts from its heyday as one of the town’s banks.
Today the building is owned by Sandra Parriott.
If you visit the store, be sure to look over the historic photos on display. The frame of the bank’s vault is still visible in the rear of the store and one can faintly make out “Bank of Surprise Valley” under the old paint. The vault’s metal door was donated during WWII to a local scrap metal drive.
The floors, while refinished by the Flanagans, are original. Notice the coins embedded in the once-empty holes of the floorboards.
Occasionally, the old bank sign above the wooden porch cover on the front of the building is unbolted. It’s a simple sign that serves to remind residents of the building’s short life as an important local financial institution.
Page modified: 08 Dec 2022 13:27:08 -0800