The Lyons National Bank History 1852 – Present
Lyons Banks circa 1852.
The Lyons National Bank has a long standing tradition of excellence and service. Since 1852, dedicated individuals have ensured its prominent place in the community. Back during this time a lawyer, land baron and entrepreneur, DeWitt Parshall, chartered a private banking house in the upper part of a building on Canal Street in Lyons, naming it the Palmyra Bank of Lyons. In 1857, Parshall changed the name of the bank to Lyons Bank and erected a building on the corner of Canal and William Streets. In 1864, the bank obtained a national charter and “National” was added to its title.
Peter Westfall established Lyons’ second private bank in 1860 in a building on William and Church Streets. He was assisted by Saxon B. Gavitt, Vice President and Beardsley Van Arsdale, Cashier. When Westfall moved to Chicago in 1866, Gavitt formed his own banking partnership. In 1905, Gavitt reorganized as a national bank under the name of The Gavitt National Bank. In 1911, he purchased the building on William and Church Streets, remodeled it and moved in. Gavitt was President, his son, William S. Gavitt, was Vice President, and his grandson, Saxon B. Gavitt II was cashier.
In the late 1920s, the Lyons National Bank was extensively remodeled, and a new building was constructed for the Gavitt National Bank, replacing the original structure from 1838.
H.G. Hotchkiss Essential Oil Company Plant.
When the Great Depression of the 30s came along, a banking panic engulfed the nation. President Franklin D. Roosevelt closed every bank in the country on March 4, 1933. Banks were required to obtain a license to reopen and the banking department decided that Lyons did not need two banks. A public meeting was held at Lyons High School where Gavitt, president of the Gavitt National Bank, and Dr. Fletcher Towlerton, president of the Lyons National Bank, proposed a merger.
The depositors accepted the proposal, and the bank opened July 6, 1933. The new bank continued under the charter of the old Lyons National Bank, but used the more spacious headquarters of the former Gavitt National Bank. Some 800 local people bought stock to establish the new bank, when stock from the former two banks ceased to exist. Assets of the new bank totaled $1.9 million and capital to¬taled $180,000.
Williams Street Rendering.
Towlerton served as president of the new Lyons National Bank for several months. He was succeeded by Saxon B. Gavitt II, who served as President for 34 years, until 1967 when he became Chairman of the Board of Directors. His son, William S. Gavitt, Jr., a fourth generation banker and pillar of the community succeeded him. In 1988, he retired from the daily management of the Bank but remained on the Board of Directors until 1994. John J. Werner Jr. followed Bill as president until his retirement in 1997. Currently, Robert A. Schick I is President and Chief Executive Officer of the Bank.
Lyons Bancorp, the holding company for The Lyons National Bank was formed on August 4, 1987. At this time, holding company assets totaled $44.2 million. There were 33 employees and the total salaries and benefits expense for that year was approximately $660,000.
Following the opening of the Main Office headquarters in 1933 came many more offices, spanning into the next century. Today, the Bank has 11 offices located throughout Wayne, Ontario, Onondaga, Seneca and Yates County.