CHAGRIN FALLS — The 1921 Chagrin Falls Savings and Loan building, once a fixture on North Main Street, has been donated to the village and will be moved from its present location – behind a private Hall Street home – to Evergreen Hill Cemetery where it will serve as a family meeting place and sexton’s office.
On Monday, Mayor William Tomko announced funds to move the small, single-story frame building will be raised privately. A Newark, Ohio company has quoted a cost at $18,000.
It was the lowest estimate he received, the mayor said, adding that local house moving companies declined to make estimates due to the small size of the project. The move to the cemetery is less than a half-mile.
“We are saving one of our older buildings, Chagrin’s version of the Bailey Savings and Loan,” the mayor said referring to the classic movie “It’s a Wonderful Life” in which a family-owned bank was a central theme.
Sexton Rob Arnold currently meets with families in his office at the cemetery’s maintenance building, which Mayor Tomko described as “a board on two sawhorses.”
The new space should be computer ready and may have room for the display of urns, the mayor said.
The mayor deemed the building in “structurally sound” condition and noted there will be additional costs associated with the move including a foundation, exterior paint, maybe a new roof and FirstEnergy Corporation’s bill for removing or raising overhead electrical wires and cables along the half-mile route.
“Hard numbers” for those extras are being gathered now, and extra expenses will be paid for through the village’s capital improvement fund.
Mayor Tomko said the timeline for the move is reliant on coordination with the electric company. “FirstEnergy is driving the bus on this one, (but) I am hoping we can get it done in late fall,” he said.
The current owner of the Hall Street property on which the Savings and Loan building is located is eager to start work on a new home he is planning, Law Director Dale Markowitz said, relating a recent conversation with the party.
Demolition must take place before the old bank building can be moved from the narrow, 65-foot-wide lot.
Addition of the old savings and loan building fits into plans which will sustain the cemetery for another 50 years, the mayor concluded.
Looking back, the Chagrin Falls Savings and Loan opened for business on July 30, 1921. Commemorating the event, the village’s newspaper of the time – The Exponent – stated:
“A large amount of business was reported transacted (while) the company’s officials were kept busy receiving congratulations of friends on their attractive and well-arranged offices.”
The news article listed 22 men as the bank’s new board of directors, which included names of Chagrin Falls’ movers and shakers of the era who are still recognized as having an early and lasting influence on the growth of the village.
They included the names Brewster, Church, Harris, Hissett, Sheffield, Stoneman, Stroud, Kent, Davidson, Shumaker, Howard, Jaros, Keck, Kupfer, Lander, Russell, Radcliffe and Tenny.
The article mentions the company opened with a “capital stock of $200,000” and was ready to conduct business, “encourage thrift and home building in the community and will specialize in first mortgage loans to people of moderate circumstances who will be able to pay the loan in monthly installments.”
Other stated goals were “considerate treatment of all patrons and careful attention to the safety of investment.”
First bank manager was A. R. Phillips who, according to the Exponent story, “entered the employ of the association and will be in the office at all times.”