Thursday, October 2, 2014

Excavation of Bank of Commerce parking lot begins

Excavation work Wednesday at Yellowstone and A Street
Four months after an errant crane broke through the pavement revealing an underground parking structure, repair work has begun at the Bank of Commerce's parking lot at A Street and Yellowstone Avenue.

The incident occurred May 6 when the driver of a 40-ton crane tried to make a wide turn coming out of the alley onto the thoroughfare. Although the existence of the parking structure came as a surprise to many, it's no secret to anyone who has lived here a long time. The bank stands where Dad Clay's Garage used to be. Clay built his garage in 1910 and briefly sold Buicks and Fords before other businessmen acquired exclusive dealership rights.

Bank of Commerce CEO Tom Romrell said the door to the underground parking structure is on the bank's south side. He said that while some city officials claimed after the accident that they might not have been aware of it, it had been inspected as recently as five years ago.

In case you're interested, this week is the 50th anniversary of the Bank of Commerce's downtown branch, which opened in early October 1964. There was an open house that featured a display of federal reserve notes from $1 to $10,000. Who was on the $10,000 bill, you ask? Salmon P. Chase, Abraham Lincoln's treasury secretary.

Large denomination bills were last printed in 1946. Since then, the largest bill you can get at the bank is $100, featuring the picture of my favorite American, Benjamin Franklin.

Since you're dying to know, here's who was on the larger bills, or Gold Certificates, as they were officially called by the Federal Reserve:

$500: William McKinley
$1,000: Grover Cleveland
$5,000: James Madison
$10,000: Salmon P. Chase