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History

 

The First National Bank at Paris was established in 1891 as The Bank of Paris by a group of local businessmen who had a deep commitment to the people of Paris and Logan County. At that time, Paris was a bustling community of 600 people. Founded by W.R. Cherry, the bank occupied the first floor of the two-story native stone Hall Building on the southwest corner of the city square. According to "old timers," in front of this corner passed all covered wagons on their way to Texas and back.

P.B. Cox served as the Bank’s first president, while Mr. Cherry served as the Bank’s first cashier. The first 18 shareholders were: W.R. Cherry, C.C. Wood, Cora Wood, Anthony Hall, P.B. Cox, J.N. Ingle, George M. Zeller, Jerry Carroll, Thomas Fuller, L.F. Holloman, James Sewell, J.B. Carter, W.B. Conaster, H.C. Carter, C.S. McKinney, F.A. Quaile, L.R. Wallace and L.B. Crenshaw.

 

 

The Bank became a National Bank in February of 1920, and was reorganized in 1934 as the First National Bank at Paris.

 

 

Much of the economy in Paris and Logan County was driven by coal mining and agriculture, for which the Bank helped facilitate. Coal was first discovered just one mile north of Paris near Short Mountain Creek in 1880. By that time the railroad had been shifted to run through Paris, as Paris had been named the Logan County seat in 1874, over Roseville, coal and cotton cars were a common sight along the rails.

In August of 1964 the Bank moved into its current location, which has seen numerous updates over the years to keep up with customer service and technology.

The Caulksville branch was established in 1965 to enhance and augment the Bank's services in that portion of the Bank's trade area. A major renovation of the branch was undertaken in 1997. With all the conveniences of a modern bank branch, and the same high tech solutions for it's customers, the Caulksville branch is located on Highway 22, one of the original 1926 Arkansas State Highways, and at the junction of Highways 22 and 23.

An opportunity to expand the Bank's community focused and relationship driven style of banking to Scott county came in 1998. First National Bank purchased a small branch of another financial institution in Waldron. The Community National Bank brand was created to give the Bank an identity as unique and independent as the communities it serves. September 11th, 1998 was the first day of business for the Bank. In 2002 the Bank expanded into its current location and held an open house on April 7th to celebrate the occasion.

 

 

In 2000, a Booneville branch was opened to service the Bank's customers in southern Logan County and to create opportunity for potential customers to choose a local bank. Shinning stars of 'commitment to community', the Community National Banks embrace the same proud heritage as First National and always put 'People and Community First'. With the conveniences and technology solutions in place for their customers, Community National is poised to help with banking solutions and economic development in their trade areas of Southern Logan and Scott Counties.

Today, the Bank employees approximately 37 people and has an annual payroll of over $1 million. The Bank is regulated by the OCC and FDIC, which insures its deposits. The officers, directors, employees and their families actively participate in community activities. The Banks invest in their neighborhoods, schools, civic organizations and business because we all work together to meet the challenges of tomorrow and realize the dreams of today. Our founders could not imagined banking as it is today, but they gave us the sense of community that allows us to say with pride that we are The First National Bank at Paris and Community National Bank - People and Community First!

 

Paris in the 1890s, showing the east side of the public square. On the far right is George M. Zeller & CO. Mr. Zeller was one of the first stockholders and second president of the “Bank of Paris.” The name of the bank was changed in 1920 to the First National Bank of Paris. (Photo Courtesy of Mrs. Babe Houser)

 

Distinguished as the first butcher shop in Paris, this 1900 photo pictures Girard Brothers, operated by Theodore, Joe and Louis on the west side of the square. During the winter months, ice cut from the Arkansas River served to refrigerate the meat. (Photo Courtesy of Wilfred Girard)

 

In 1891, when the First National Bank of Paris was established, the population stood at 800. In June of 1898, the first train arrived at the newly built depot, bringing even greater prosperity to the coal-rich community. (Photo Courtesy of Mrs. Babe Houser)

 

To meet the needs of the burgeoning community, Mr. & Mrs. L.P. Jacobs expanded their hardware and general supply store. Mr. Jacobs, a stockholder of the First National Bank at Paris, also served as a bank director. (Photo Courtesy of Helen Dombek)

 

Cotton was the major agricultural crop for many years. Here a Southern locomotive freight train is transporting bales of cotton from local Paris fields. The cotton was then taken to local gins for processing. (Photo Courtesy of Patricia Cromer)

 

The Girard Brothers later expanded to a grocery store, circa 1910. In those days, the proprietor not only knew every customer by name but also had their order memorized as well. (Photo Courtesy of Wilfred Girard)

 

L. P. Jacobs, general merchants, was all decked out for the Fourth of July celebration near the turn of the century. Local Paris gentlemen of all ages donned their Sunday best for the day’s festivities. (Photo Courtesy of Wilfred Girard)

 

A summer sale was in progress at Raphan’s Department Store where a gentleman of style could outfit himself for under $5.00. No ready-to-wear for the woman, only bolts of cloth on the right to sew her own. (Photo Courtesy of Wilfred Girard)

 

Bromo and quinine could be purchased from Ingle’s. John Deere and Moline wagons from P. B. Cox. The son of a Presbyterian minister, Cox served as organizing president of the Bank of Paris when it opened September 1, 1891, as the county’s first banking institution. (Photo courtesy Mrs. Babe Houser)

 

The first coal mine, the Lone Star, was founded in 1880. The photo shows miners preparing for the 1939 coal season. In August of 1938, 1,200 cars of coal had been mined and shipped out of Paris. (Photo Courtesy of Elizabeth Hickman)

 

Paris Hardware circa 1925. This good-sized company stood at the present site of Wiggins Hardware. The brick facility produced goods to meet the needs of the growing agricultural and business community. (Photo Courtesy of Suzanne Cauthron)

Wiggins Livestock Auction sale was a special event the first Tuesday the company opened its doors in post-war 1945. A crowd of bidders has gathered to review the stock of the day. (Photo Courtesy of Suzanne Cauthron)