Banking on history
OCHS quarterly meeting Monday to feature Port Washington State Bank

News Graphic Staff

Oct. 29, 2015

CEDARBURG The late 1800s found Port Washington, and most of Ozaukee County, without proper banking services and with many previously failed ventures. Two partners, Clarence Hill and Dr. George Henry, both of Manitowoc, got together Sept. 11, 1899, to purchase a site and organize what was to become Port Washington State Bank. Hill, one of the organizers of the First National Bank of Manitowoc in 1895, and Henry, a local dentist with Port Washington ties, capitalized the bank with $25,000 in personal and investor monies.

Their venture, however, was not without problems. What became known as the Great Wisconsin Chair Factory Fire leveled most of the business district just two days after their land purchase! With determination and the support of the city and its residents, the bank pushed forward, survived world wars, the Great Depression, dozens of up-and-down economic cycles and now has six full-service locations throughout Ozaukee County.

Today, 116 years later, Port Washington State Bank is still principally owned and actively managed by the third-, fourth- and fifth-generation descendants of Clarence Hill, and also retains its independence and strong community ties. Ozaukee Economic Development announced earlier this year that Port Washington State Bank was named one of its 2015 Business of the Year Award recipients Large Business of the Year.

Join the Ozaukee County Historical Society to hear the stories and details of how this bank survived, grew and helped write the history of the county.

The OCHS quarterly meeting will be held Monday at the Cedarburg Cultural Center, W62 N546 Washington Ave., in downtown Cedarburg. The business meeting begins at 7 p.m., with the presentation starting at 7:30 p.m. This event is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served and free, on-site parking is available.