Pictured circa 1915, the Bank of Biloxi officially opened its doors for “legitimate banking business” on March 1, 1893.
But before its opening the Biloxi Herald newspaper had campaigned for such an institution for a long time, saying that “Biloxi, a city of 5,000 people, a center of trade and the headquarters of winter and summer tourist, a city of growing commercial importance should have no bank has been absurd.”
Biloxi’s first bank was located on the west side of Lameuse Street midway between Jackson Street and Pass Christian Road (present day Howard Avenue). It opened with a basic stock of $25,000 divided into 250 shares at $100 each. The first board of directors consisted some of Biloxi’s most successful businessmen: C. P. Theobald, I. Heidenheim, Charles Redding, N. Voivedich, L. Lopez, Ed Glennon, S. Picard, O.M. Nilson, W. K. M. Dukate, John Walker and E. J. Buck.
In January 1900 the bank’s officers invited a Sun Herald reporter to see their latest technology, the Burroughs Register Accountant. Made by the American Arithmometer Co. It was one of the first adding machines, which the reporter described as a “truly remarkable invention.”
Sometime around 1913 the bank moved its headquarters into a section of the Dukate Theater on the north side of Howard Avenue between Lameuse Street and Delauney Street (present-day George Ohr Street).
By 1914 the Bank of Biloxi had complied with all of the provisions, including a capital stock of $100,000, to become a national bank. It welcomed its first customers as the The First National Bank of Biloxi on July 7, 1914. In 1974 the First National Bank of Biloxi merged with the First National Bank of Hattiesburg and became the First Mississippi National Bank.
Murella H. Powell, a local historian, writes the weekly Flashback column. Do you have a local photograph to submit to Flashback? It can be of any subject or event in the Coast’s distant or recent past. Please send a description with your name, address and daytime phone number to Flashback, the Sun Herald, P.O. Box 4567, Biloxi MS 39535; or call 896-2424; or email firstname.lastname@example.org.