40 for 40: Grant County
Citizens Bank Building in Wilson Creek

By Holly Chaimberlain previous story | next story | all stories

The economy of early twentieth century Wilson Creek was based on dry land farming and its railroad operations when the Citizens Bank was built in 1906 at the corner of Second and Railroad Street. The bank, with its formal exterior of multi-colored brick and stone, and ornate oak teller cages with marble insets and filigreed iron screens inside, served as a center for small-town commerce into the 1930s. Subsequent usage as law offices into the 1940s was followed by decades of vacancy, under-utilization as storage, and physical deterioration.

In 1991, visionary citizens foretold a more active future for the National Register-listed building when the town purchased it with the intent to adapt it into a city hall and museum. Even given that the majority of its original features remained intact, most of a decade of fundraising was needed to bring the dream to reality, including a $1000 grant from the Washington Preserves fund. Board member Kris Young Bassett presented the check in the summer of 2000 to Mayor Kathy Bohnet and a group of volunteers who had given time and money to their city’s community-building and place-making project.

The Trust’s gift, used to repair interior plaster, contributed to the overall rehabilitation completed that same year. Today, the building continues to serve as town hall (including usage by the county sheriff and fire district officials) and museum – and Kathy Bohnet is still the mayor.

This story is part of a series celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation. Please consider making a special gift to the Washington Trust in honor of our accomplishments as we celebrate this year together! Continuous stewardship is needed to protect that irreplaceable legacy for future generations – we appreciate and look forward to your ongoing participation and support.

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