Morrow County Reflections: Remember the Enterprise Block

By Evelyn Long - Contributing Columnist

Those who lived in or near Cardington or visited before 1972 will remember the Enterprise Block, a two story brick building on South Marion Street extending from Second Street halfway to Main Street.

In 1867 the village had a brick factory established by a man from Delaware who had come to the village on the condition that the business men would use the brick to put up modern structures.

Sadly, in some way the bricks weren’t used as promised and the brick man was swamped financially so a group of business men united and erected the Enterprise Block in 1868. Because he felt there was plenty of money “floating” around, John Beatty withdrew from the First National Bank in 1874 and established the Cardington Banking Company in the Enterprise Block.

It remained a bank through the ensuing years, becoming the Cardington Citizens Bank in 1894. The bank’s claim to fame was the robbery in 1930 by the John Dillinger gang.

Although there were many businesses in the other rooms through the years, I recall Peoples Food Shoppe (once Rowley’s Grocery), Frew Jewelry (in the corner store) Isaly’s (later purchased by Kinsell Foods) and a pool hall on the north end of the block.

The Cardington Library was entered from West Second Street and was in a room behind the jewelry store. The latter was later occupied by Campbell Jewelry and then Tom Ray’s legal office.

The block was razed in 1972 when Peoples Bank assumed the property.

While removing the door of the bank’s vault built in 1918, Frank Patterson, then 92 years old, entered the premises and watched. The door was removed from the old vault and placed on the new vault in the Peoples Bank.

It took workers three days to remove it with Morrow County Mounted Deputies working in two pair each on four-hour shifts providing bank protection while doors were left open because of the dust from the use of an air drill in cutting and removing the door from the vault.

Patterson, since deceased, related that he was self employed in 1917 and was employed by the bank to construct the vault, add a director’s room and other remodeling. The vault was laid up under architect’s blue print with railroad rails, one and one half inches apart with the space between filled with cement. It was built on the base of an older vault built by the first bank that occupied the space.

Patterson’s work also included preparing the floor for marble and the construction of rooms at the rear of the vault. The bank rail and furniture were made by the J. S. Peck Furniture Factory from genuine mahogany which was received “rough.”

In 1981 the bank received prominence when the June 13 tornado stopped the parking lot clock at 3:21 pm.

First Federal Bank occupies the site today and one employee said as far as she knows that door removed from the old vault remains on the bank’s vault today.

From the Morrow County Independent: 50 years ago, September 1967: First soybeans of 1967 received at Don’s Feed and Seed in Cardington were from the Grove Farm, south of town, followed by Gerald Goodman, Walter Long, Kenneth Cook and C. W. Davis. The beans showed the effects of freezing nights.

Douglas Ebert and Larry A. Smith, Cardington-Lincoln High School students, were named semi-finalists in the 1967-68 National Merit Scholarship program, according to W. A. McAlister, high school principal.

By Evelyn Long

Contributing Columnist

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