The oldest banking institution in San Jose is the Bank of San Jose. now located at the northeast corner of First and Santa Clara Streets. It was opened for business in the Knox Block in March, 1866, by William J. Knox and T. Ellard Beans under the firm name of Knox & Beans and was conducted as a private banking house until January 31, 1868, on which date it was incorporated as a state bank. It was the first bank incorporated in Central California. The first officers were John G. Bray, president ; T. Ellard Beans, cashier and manager ; C. W. Pomeroy, secretary. In 1880 John T. Colahan, former city clerk, was appointed assistant cashier. In 1870 Mr. Bray died and T. Ellard Beans became president, a position he held until his death in 1905. Henry Philip succeeded Mr. Beans as cashier, acting in that capacity until 1875, when he was succeeded by Clement T. Park. W. V. Dinsmore was Park's successor. He resigned in 1912 and V. J. La Motte took his place. On the death of T. Ellard Beans, his son; William Knox Beans, became president. In 1871 the Bank of San Jose block, at its present location, was begun. It was completed in 1872. In 1906 the building was damaged by the earthquake and in 1907 it was torn down and a new five story, reinforced concrete building was erected on the site. The present officers are William Knox Beans, president; Victor J. LaMotte, vice-president and manager ; A. B. Post, cashier. The capital stock is $300,000; surplus and reserve, $358,000. T. Ellard Beans, one of the founders of the bank, was born in Salem, Ohio, and his early life was spent in mercantile and banking pursuits. He came to California in 1849, mined for a time and then went into mercantile business in Nevada City. He nearly lost his life in the great fire in that place in 1856. Ten years later he removed to San Jose. His death was generally regretted for he was one of the city's most reliable and competent business men. His son, William Knox Beans, entered the bank in 1878 and was vice-president before he took the higher office so long held by his father.

Bank of Italy

The Bank of Italy, a branch of the main institution in San Francisco occupies the three-story building formerly the home. of the San Jose Deposit Bank of Savings, presided over by the late E. McLaughlin, who founded the bank in 1885. When the Bank of Italy took possession the operating space on the lower floor was greatly enlarged and remodeled. Capital paid in $9,000,000; surplus, $1,500,000; undivided profits, $1,924,959.37. A. P. Giannini is president and W. R. Williams is cashier. San Jose officers are N. R. Pellerano, vice-president and W. E. Blauer, manager.

It was while the Safe Deposit Bank of Savings

was in existence with E. McLaughlin as president and John E. Auzerais as cashier that it was the scene of one of the most daring robberies ever perpetrated in California. It was over thirty years ago and at that time the banks of the city and state had inside approaches like grocery and dry goods stores. There were no cages, nol separate departments with either wooden or steel divisions. The gold was stacked generally at the end of a long counter and could easily be reached or handled by any customer. But the day came when the banks ceased to keep "open house."The cages and the steel safeguards came in to prevent any attempt on the part of the evilly inclined to steal the gold. The change was made after the robbery at the Safe Deposit Bank.

The robbery, shrewdly conceived, was the work of three men. One was detailed to enter the bank and engage the cashier in conversation while a second man was to do the actual stealing. The third man was to station himself on the outside near the door to prevent, if possible, any bank customer from going inside, and if not possible to do this, to give confederates warning that there was danger in the air. A moment for action was to be selected while the bank was free of customers and while the cashier (who was also the teller) was at some distance from the stack of money which reposed on a mahogany tray near the street end of the counter. Luck favored the robbers. With one man on guard at the door, the other two men entered the bank and successfully carried out the program agreed upon. While no unfriendly eye was upon him and while the cashier's attention was being diverted by robber number one, the second robber quickly seized the tray with the money—$10.000 in gold twenties, carefully stacked—concealed it under his overcoat and substituted for the tray of money a tray of gilded dummies. It was the expectation of the lawless trio that the substitution would not be discovered until the cashier had occasion to go to the tray to get gold for a customer.

Having performed the most difficult part of the program, the second robber, with his haul, passed out of the door. Following closely upon his heels went robber number one, his talk with the cashier having abruptly come to an end. Then the last member of the trio left his station at the door and joined his confederates. It was some time before the robbery was discovered. As soon as discovery was made there was a hurry call for the police, but when the officers arrived there was no trace of the robbers. The city was combed but nothing had been left behind to serve as a workable clue. Not one cent of the money was ever recovered.

Garden City Bank and Trust Company

The Garden City Bank and Trust Company, formerly the Garden City National Bank, is located on the lower floor of a seven-story concrete building on the southwest-corner of First and San Fernando Streets. The National Bank was chartered and organized in 1887 with Dr. C. W. Breyfogle as president and Thomas F. Morrison as cashier. • In 1893 it ceased to be a national bank and became a state bank. Until the erection of the new building in 1906, it occupied quarters on the northwest corner of First and San Fernando Streets. S. B. Hunkins became president after the death of Dr. Breyfogle and held office until death claimed him in 1914. Then Thomas S. Montgomery took the presidency. Mr. Montgomery is the only one living of the original directors and stockholders. The capital stock is $500,000; surplus, $625,000; deposits, $8,005,984.59. The present officers are T. S. Montgomery, president ; Dr. J. J. Miller, John F. Duncan, vice-president; W. G. Alexander, secretary ; C. J. Tripp, cashier. The bank has branches at Campbell. Gilroy, Santa Clara and Saratoga. 

Dr. Breyfogle, the founder, was a native of Columbus, Ohio, and a graduate of the Ohio Wesleyan University. The same year he left college he entered the U. S. Army, rose to the rank of captain and was compelled to resign on account of failing eyesight. After a partial recovery from his affliction he studzed law until his eyes again failed. Homeopathic treatment cured him and then he resolved to become a homeopathic physician. Entering a medical college, he graduated in 1865 and in 1870 came to San Jose. In May, 1886, he was elected mayor of the city. In 1885 he organized the San Jose Building and Loan Association.

Security State and Savings Bank

The Security State Bank and Security Savings Bank occupy cosy rooms in a concrete building on First Street, opposite Post Street. It was organized as a savings bank in July, 1891. with Frank Stock as president. L. G. Nesmith, vice-president, and Paul P. Austin, cashier and manager, in the rooms adjoining the First National Bank. In 1900 W. S. Richards obtained control of the stock and moved the business to East Santa Clara Street, between First and Second Streets. In 1902 the Security State Bank was organized as an adjunct of the savings institution. In March. 1909, the business was removed to its present quarters. E. T. Sterling was cashier under Richards until his resignation in 1907. He was succeeded by Wilbur J. Edwards. Mr. Richards died in 1915 and Mr. Edwards succeeded to the office of president, and George B. Campbell became cashier. The vice-presidents were C. M. Richards and W. A. Johnston. The combined statement of the condition of the two banks, issued June 20. 1920, shows the following: Resources, $4,687,924.59 ; capital, $100,000; capital, surplus and profits, $492,646.81 ; combined deposits, $4,175,277.78.

First National Bank

The First National Bank of San Jose was organized July 11, 1874, with a paid up capital of $500,000, with John W. Hinds as president ; W. L. Tisdale, vice-president, and G. P. Sparks, cashier. On July 6, 1875, the office of assistant cashier was created and L. G. Nesmith elected to the position. In 1880 W. D. Tisdale became president and L. G. Nesmith cashier. Tisdale was succeeded by George M. Bowman, who held office until 1903. On his death the presidency fell to J. D. Radford. In 1907 he resigned and W. S. Clayton was his successor and is still in office. In 1910 a new, up-to-date finely appointed concrete building of nine stories, the tallest building in San Jose, was erected on the site of the old building on the southwest corner of First and Santa Clara Streets. The capital stock of the bank is $500,000; surplus, $200,000; deposits, $7,108,100.83 ; undivided profits, $171,742.62. The present officers are W. S. Clayton, president ; S. F. Leib, vice-president ; Paul Rudolph, cashier.

The Growers' Bank

The Growers' Bank, a new institution, was organized in May, 1920, and opened for business in July of that year, in the Rea building, on the northwest corner of Santa Clara and Market Streets. It is purely a county bank, with its stock broadly owned within the district. The capital stock has been placed at $300,000; surplus, $60,000. The officers are : V. T. McCurdy, president ; S. E. Johnson, vice-president ; Fred W. Sinclair, cashier and manager.
The banks have a Clearing House Association and weekly reports are made. The officers are W. R. Beans, president; Paul Rudolph, secretary.

 History of Santa Clara County- E. T. Sawyer, 1923, page 270-272


SANTA CLARA COUNTY The Valley of Heart's Delight