The landscape and structure of Ardmore looks completely different than it did 125 years ago. But one business has remained a constant.
At 9 a.m. today, the First National Bank & Trust Co. will begin a celebration of its birthday. Founded 125 years ago, the bank was the fifth bank to place its roots in what was known as Indian Territory. But it is the First National Bank that has withstood the test of time to proudly lay claim as “Oklahoma’s oldest bank.”
“I have read some of the history of banks in Oklahoma, and it is impressive to visualize how banks got started without infrastructure,” says Curtis Davidson, president and CEO. “You had dirt roads and tents. The railroads had started, and that was the way information came through.
“There were four banks that started before First National, but they have all deceased. We are the oldest surviving bank in Oklahoma.”
The birthday celebration will begin with a ribbon cutting at 9 a.m., which will serve as the kickoff. Between 10 and 10:30 a.m., Davidson said the bank will open a time capsule that was sealed during its 100th birthday celebration.
“That will be interesting,” he predicts. “People put whatever they wanted to in a box that is two feet by two feet. It is pretty good sized. We are going to open it, look in it and circulate everything that was put into it.”
Hot dogs will be served from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., and throughout the day, there will be an old-time photo booth where people can come and take a picture. In addition, there will be drawings, with several Visa gift cards given away.
In looking at the history of the bank, Davidson says there are a number of familiar names in the community who, along with the bank, have remained members of the community throughout its history.
“You can go back in our records and see some of the old names that are familiar in the fabric of Ardmore. The people that were instrumental in the early 20th century still have family here.”