Submitted by Nute Chapman
From Onaway Outlook Feb. 24, 2012
Caption: At right is Onaway State Bank. At the south end of Elm is the only building still standing from
that time, and Donna Buckley lives there.
(Editor's Note: Totem Pole Tales returns this week with a primary focus on the history of the area. Newton "Nute" Chapman, Jr. will share historical photos and knowledge he's collected from "old timers", his father Newton Chapman Sr., as well as other family members.)
Onaway State Savings Bank was located on the southwest corner of Elm and State in the heart of downtown Onaway.
It wasn't the first bank. Some people from Rogers City built the first one July 8, 1899. The Onaway State Savings Bank was established in the early 1900s.
In 1903, a second bank went up, but it closed after a fire. In 1932, the Onaway State Savings Bank moved to the corner of State and Pine across from the current Parrott's Outpost building.
In 1966, Citizen's National Bank built the building its in now and merged with State Savings Bank from the other corner.
When I came home from the service in 1961, the post office was in the old bank building, up until 1962 when we moved to the present location. That's another story I want to do on all the postmasters and post offices.
The building changed faces a few times. The steeple was taken off and they put a new roof on it. There also was a drinking fountain outside of the building with good, cold city water. A lot of kids played in it, and a lot of people got their drinks there. This was a good place to get a cold drink any time of the day.
The state inspectors came along, and they were working on getting rid of public drinking places. That's when it was taken apart and the city started testing our water and putting chemicals in it.
At that point, I continued drinking out of all the springs in the area that have good water that I've tested.
My dad helped me get a job as a janitor at the post office. He knew the postmaster. They were friends from childhood, Virgil Peacock.
There was a huge coal furnace in the basement. That was one of my jobs, stoking that furnace,a nd keeping it going. We had hardwood floors, which were difficult to keep clean.
One day I was in there cleaning when Bud Stout, who was a rural route driver, asked if I would be interested in learning his route and maybe give him some relief. I mentioned that would have to go through the postmaster. He said, "I've already talked to the postmaster. The first day you are available, you need to ride with me."
I helped him stack Michigan Farmer magazines in his truck. There were a lot of magazines that went out as every man and woman at each household received it, plus some people subscribed to it. There were a lot that went out.
I thought I knew all the people south and east of Onaway and west of Tower, but there were so many new people to meet on the route.
Next week, the queen of Onaway is highlighted. -Onaway Outlook, February 24, 2012 pg. 3. Retyped by J. Anderson.