Most Handsome Building in Layton Turns 130

I love my bank: the institution, the people–and the lovely old building.

The First National Bank building celebrates its 130th birthday this year. Located at the southwest corner of Gentile Street and Main Street, it is arguably the handsomest building in Layton, Utah and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It was built ???????way back in 1882, the year that the first ocean pier in the United States was completed, the first district in New York was lit by electricity and Thomas Edison created the first string of Christmas lights.

Back then, the building wasn????????t a bank and it didn????????t have a brick exterior. It was the Farmer????????s Union Building, and the brick wasn????????t added until 1892. Over the years, it????????s been a grocery store, a dentist????????s office and a furniture store, to name a few, with people living over the storefront at times.

First National Bank (FNB) originally opened its doors across the street in a small white (now brown) building on the northwest corner of Main Street and Gentile Street, on May 15, 1905. That first day the bank had just one employee, Laurence Ellison. The story goes that at the end of the bank’s first day of business, Laurence tried to balance the accounts and discovered he was two dollars short. Worried, he worked until 2:00 a.m. before he realized that you cannot count silver dollars by measuring one stack against another.

In 1981, the restoration of the old Farmers Union Building was completed and FNB????????s Main Street Branch moved to the building across the street. The old vault doors, as well as the long marble teller windows, were moved into the restored building and attest to the solid longevity of Layton’s first community bank. Today, FNB employs about 100 people and has 7 branches along the Wasatch Front, from Clearfield to Draper. (www.fnbutah.com)

I admit that at first, 10 years ago, I chose FNB based solely upon the Fairfield Road Branch????????s proximity to my home, so I didn????????t deserve to end up with a really good bank–but I got lucky. They know me there. My favorite tellers, Brady Stratton and Chyrel Adsit, know better than to count silver dollars by stacking them; but more importantly, they remember my name, whether I come inside or use the drive-through teller window. Assistant VP and Bank Operations Manager Leanne Hartman helped me open a business account. Over the years, the people at both Layton branches have helped me transition from check writing to using debit cards, PIN numbers, online banking and e-statements. Generations of Layton families have banked at FNB; generations of Layton children have happily enjoyed FNB lollipops.

Yes, the beautiful First National Bank building in Layton is turning 130. I think we should have a party!


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