Guide to the County Bank of Santa Cruz Collection (Unprocessed) – History

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In March 1870 the Santa Cruz Bank of Savings and Loan. The original trustees for the bank were Samuel Bartlett, Henry Philips, Frank Cooper, E.M. Heacock, and John N. Besse. There were only 6,000 residents in Santa Cruz when this bank was formed. It was the first bank in the city of Santa Cruz. By 1870 the lumber, lime, wheat, and leather business was booming – a financial clearing house was needed to handle this business. The bank was opened in a corner room of the Pacific Ocean House.

In 1875 the Bank of Santa Cruz County was formed. It was the second bank of the city and the third bank in the county. In 1878 it merged with the Santa Cruz Bank of Savings and Loan. Both banks maintained their individual corporate identity’s, however they did occupy the same brick building on 56 Pacific Avenue. After the 1894 fire that destroyed many of the buildings between Pacific Avenue and Front Street the bank purchased the fire blackened site at Cooper Street and Pacific Avenue; a new building was constructed at this site.


In March 1933 there was a run on banks across the country. The newly elected president, Franklin Roosevelt, instituted a bank holiday. This bank holiday helped to stabilize the financial markets. The Santa Cruz Bank of Savings and Loan, and the Bank of Santa Cruz County were among the first banks allowed to reopen on March 13, 1933. During this bank holiday county residents continued to make deposits in these banks, the money was kept in a holding account until the bank reopened. The bank continued this tradition of serving the public.