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Windsor antique store repurposes former bank building

Sunday, July 6th, 2014 | Posted by
Robert Schwartz uses the vault of the former Exchange Bank as his junk closet at Robert's Relics, his Windsor antique store. (John Burgess / The Press Democrat)

Robert Schwartz uses the vault of the former Exchange Bank as his junk closet at Robert’s Relics, his Windsor antique store. (John Burgess / The Press Democrat)

By James Lanaras / Windsor Correspondent

The Exchange Bank’s first branch outside of Santa Rosa was in Windsor.

Hundreds of people attended the March 21, 1925 opening of the store front branch in the recently completed Independent Order of Odd Fellows lodge  building on Windsor Road  on March 21, 1925, The Press Democrat reported the next day. The bank had savings, commercial and safe deposit departments. The building also housed the F.J. Pool & Son merchandise store.

“The Pool store, bank and lodge rooms were crowded all during the day with visitors and county business men who called to wish the proprietors success in their new location,” according to the news article.

Bankers from other North Bay cities were on hand to inspect the building and wish success to Exchange Bank President Frank P. Doyle, cashier A. J. Le Baron and Vice President Ralph Williams who welcomed visitors and provided a tour of the new branch.

An orchestra played in the bank’s quarters until 9 p.m. when the Odd Fellows hosted a dance in their lodge hall. Members of the bank’s staff and a few friends banqueted at the Windsor Hotel that evening.

The Odd Fellows lodge building burned in a fire in 1932 and a new building was built for the Exchange Bank on another lot, Windsor historian William Beedie wrote in “Windsor History and Happenings.” The building is now home to Pohley’s Market.

The night deposit box is still visible outside Robert's Relics.

The night deposit box is still visible outside Robert’s Relics.

The Exchange Bank then moved  a short distance to the east in a building that now houses Robert’s Relics at 335 Windsor River Road.  Owner Robert Schwartz said a night deposit box is still located inside the front of his store, and there is a concrete vault approximately 10 feet-by-7 feet with a steel door at the rear of the antiques store which Robert described as “my junk closet.”

The current Exchange Bank is now located just east  Old Redwood Highway and Lakewood Drive just east of U.S. Highway 101.

Denny Pedersen, secretary of the Odd Fellow Lodge 215,  said the Odd Fellows  built two lodge buildings in Windsor.  The second building was rented  out to finance the Lodge’s activities. The Odd Fellows Lodge has been in Windsor since 1873, Pedersen said. They still  meet upstairs at 337 Windsor River Road.

Robert’s Relics was once a video store, and the vault was used to store adult movies, Pedersen said.

 

James Lanaras

 

Writer Spotlight

James Lanaras is our Windsor correspondent.
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