Three Valleys State Bank

Also known as: American National Bank, First Security Bank, Headwaters Historical Society, Headwaters Heritage Museum
202 Main St., Three Forks, Montana

Photos 

Three Valleys State Bank 3 Forks MT

Front & side view

Photo taken by David Jones in July 2019

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Map 

Street View 

Description 

"Solid bank buildings were designed to assure customers that their money was safe from both theft and bank failure—a tenuous premise in the days before Federal Deposit Insurance. Here Romanesque arches, rusticated sandstone, thick masonry walls, and cavernous entryways marked the first-floor façade and symbolized the bank’s ability to endure, just as had the stone buildings of the Middle Ages. The less elaborate brick second story provided offices for Three Forks’ professionals, including doctors, dentists, and lawyers. Built in 1910, when the town was less than two years old, the sturdy building—financed by John Q. Adams, who founded Three Forks for the Milwaukee Land Company—also expressed its owner’s faith in Three Forks’ future. The bank changed hands several times before American National Bank purchased the seemingly prosperous enterprise in 1917. Soon after, however, extended drought and low commodity prices shattered the homestead economy. Thousands of farmers lost their land, land values dropped by fifty percent, and over half of Montana’s banks failed, including American National in 1923. Two years later, an earthquake shook Three Forks. The quake’s effects can be seen in the blond replacement brick and truncated cornice on the building’s west side. After the bank closed, Adams’ son Benjamin used the building for his real estate office until 1942. Thereafter, it housed a variety of businesses. In 1960, it became a bank once more when Security Bank of Three Forks opened the town’s first bank in thirty-seven years. The building became home to the Headwaters Heritage Museum in 1982." - NRHP/Montana Historical Society plaque

National Register information 

Status
Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on April 11, 2005
Reference number
05000256
Architectural style
Other architectural type; Western Commercial
Areas of significance
Commerce; Community Planning and Development; Architecture
Level of significance
Local
Evaluation criteria
A - Event; C - Design/Construction
Property type
Building
Historic function
Financial institution
Current function
Museum
Periods of significance
1900-1924; 1925-1949; 1950-1974
Significant years
1911; 1923

Tags 

20th Century (29,078)
Bank (1,367)
Brick (42,466)
Built 1911 (919)
Built during 1910s (8,877)
Commercial building (6,232)
Gallatin County, Montana (134)
Have Street View (48,285)
Montana (2,299)
Private owner (54,403)
Stone (26,168)
Three Forks, Montana (7)

Update Log 

  • November 24, 2021: New Street View added by Bill Eichelberger
  • July 18, 2019: Updated by Richard Doody: Added historical information
  • July 14, 2019: New photos from David Jones

Sources