The Bank of Dexter
In 1889, a group of Kentuckians traveled to Stoddard County with the purpose of starting a bank in Dexter. Their intentions seemed honest enough that locals invested in the group’s plan to build the county’s first bank. Local business leaders got word that the group from Kentucky planned to run off with the money raised for the bank and soon ran the men out of town.
Still wanting to have a bank, E. C. Mohrstadt of St. Louis was hired by locals to reform the bank and get it on the right track. Mohrstadt had already worked several years at two well known banks in St. Louis and knew how to run the day to day operations of a bank. In 1892, Mohrstadt took control of the bank and renamed it the Bank of Dexter with a capital of $15,000. Mohrstadt took over as cashier and George Houck of Bloomfield was made president. In 1901, The Farmers Bank of Dexter folded into the Bank of Dexter which greatly increased its capital to $50,000. Harry O. Copeland joined Mohrstadt as cashier of the bank, having done the same job at The Farmers Bank, until he died in 1918 of the Spanish Flu.
When it was first built, the Bank of Dexter was located on the north end of the Citizens Bank Building (Metro building). In February 1900, it was moved to its new location on Stoddard Street (The Loft). In 1919, E. C. Mohrstadt and bank president, A. Q. Carter nationalized the bank and gave it a new name, The First National Bank of Dexter, the only national bank in the county and only one of five in Southeast Missouri. During the Great Depression, the bank was one of three banks in town that failed. Most customers were able to eventually recover about seventy-five percent of their deposits. Eventually, the bank folded for good and several businesses moved in and out until several years ago when a fire destroyed the interior of the building.