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Established in 1847, National Iron Bank is New England’s oldest private bank.

The mid-1800s was a prosperous time in and around the Housatonic Valley. The local residents worked in the ore beds, or the many iron works that were in almost non-stop operation up and down the river; they worked for the railroad, or in any of the countless small businesses and industries that grew up along the frequented transit routes; or they worked the abundant acres of farmland that itself created a profitable industry.

The Iron Bank was established to meet the resulting credit demands and financial needs of the thriving community. In May of 1847 a charter was granted by a Special Act of the General Assembly to establish a bank at Falls Village called The Iron Bank. The first meeting of the stockholders was called for and held at Hunt's Hotel in Canaan on August 17, after which William H. Walton was chosen as President. Appointed Clerk was Alexander H. Holley, who later became Governor of Connecticut.

The bank opened less than two months later on October 11, with assets of $193,725. Its seal, the ironworker with his triphammer, made its first appearance the following month. It was printed on the $10 bills issued by the bank; also issued were $1, $2, $3, $5 and later $20 bills.

One of the directors' first acts was to appoint a committee to construct a building at Falls Village, its total cost not to exceed $2,500 - including land. This was built, along with a "good, solid privy," with living quarters for the cashiers upstairs - it was their job not only to maintain their customers' funds but to guard them as well.

Four times yearly, the directors gathered around the pot-bellied stove in the office. The sole purpose of these meetings was to record - and to burn - the worn bank currency so new bills could be issued.

The increased prosperity during the Civil War, drew an inflow of workers who worked long hours and visited the taverns when not working. This raised the first concerns about security, so in 1865, after 18 years in business, the bank finally ordered "one of those Burglar Alarm Systems" for its doors and windows. And to be safe, the directors installed "a good dog" in case the newfangled equipment should fail. The first burglar-proof safe was installed in 1870 and a watchman was hired.

In 1864, the National Banking Act was adopted to help finance the war. Heavily taxed local currency gave way to a new national currency. Keeping pace with these changes, The Iron Bank became a National Bank on July 5, 1865.

Our customers' needs have changed over the years and National Iron Bank has evolved to meet those needs. One thing has remained constant - we have remained a small community CT bank providing private, quality service to the communities we serve. Our product offering is the result of living and working with our customers, realizing their needs, and offering banking services to meet those needs from childhood to retirement.

Some may call us old fashioned, which, to us, is high praise. If it's old-fashioned to treat banking as a profession, and to offer our professional services in a friendly and helpful manner, then we must plead guilty. And we have been serving each and every one of our customers the same way for more than 175 years!

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