First National Bank of Orange: Texas Historical Marker
Until the industrial revolution reached Orange in the late 1880s, most banking needs in the area were handled through Galveston.The growth of Orange as a lumber center and deep water port, however, necessitated the development of a local banking facility.The organizational meeting for the First National Bank of Orange was held in 1889 at the office of Dr. D. C. Hewson. A board of directors was elected, and their application for a charter was accepted the same year. A major instrument in Orange's growth as a center for the timber industry, the First National Bank was associated with many of the town's prominent lumbermen. Successful sawmill operator Henry Jacob Lutcher (1836-1912) served on the bank's first board of directors as its president and built the institution's first facility at the corner of Front and Fifth streets. His sons-in-law, William H. Stark (1851-1936) and Dr. Edgar W. Brown (1888-1917), also were members of the board of directors. Among the bank's initial investors were merchant and Texas Legislator Jerome Swinford and shingle mill owner Leopold Miller. Over the years, the bank has changed locations, names, and investors, but it remains an important part of the city's commercial heritage.