Standing as a statement of Alderson’s once prominence as a commercial hub and center of education in the Greenbrier Valley, the Alderson National Bank Building is currently on the market. The building was constructed in 1910 at a cost of about $10,000. In addition to the bank shown in the above early photo, the building was also occupied by M. D. Woodson that sold “groceries, notions and sporting goods” and the Rexall Pharmacy. The third floor of the building, named the Jarrett-Massey Hall, was used as a public hall for community events.
The bank was organized in 1909, and the first board of directors were T. H. Jarrett, John Hinchman, O. D. Massey, Dr. E. H. Campbell, and Mark L. Jarrett. The bank was capitalized with $25,000 from 25 stockholders. T.H. Jarrett, one of the largest stockholders and a prominent cattleman, was elected president. As the first president of the First National Bank of Alderson, he brought experience to the new bank.
Upon his death in 1929, Jarrett was succeeded by O.D. Massey. Sadly, tragedy and misfortune followed Massey’s appointment. Despondent over the loss of his wife two years earlier, Massey committed suicide in 1931 by drowning himself in the Greenbrier River. His body was found at the Markley swimming hole down river from Camp Greenbrier. After Massey’s death, two of the bank’s employees pleaded guilty at a trial in Federal court to the misapplication of funds and false entries.
The bank closed in September, 1931. The depositors, investors, and creditors received about 20% of what was due.
Photo: Courtesy of the Greenbrier Historical Society.
Sources: Hinton Daily News, The Independent Herald, The Raleigh Herald, The Leader.