In 1898 local Sparta Leaders identify a need for Sparta residents to have a safe place to deposit their money and fund small businesses. In 1901, with only 15,000 in capital, Bruce N. Keister organized the incorporation of Sparta State Bank and it opens on the corner of Division and Union Street in 1902. Among the original directors were, C.A. Bloomer, Jason Bradford, and John Manchester.
For many years Sparta had two banks on Main Street. Sparta State Bank located on the corner of N. Union (then named Mills Street) and Division and People’s State Bank located where the Village offices are today. If you look to the top of the Village office building the name People’s State Bank is still there.
The People’s State bank was established in 1910. L.A. (Leslie) Anderson was Vice President and cashier until 1955 when the two banks consolidated. A name many of you will recognize, Mary Jean Chorman Herwaldt, took a job after her graduation from Sparta High School at People’s State Bank and moved to Sparta State Bank after the two banks consolidated. She held many positions there over the years and was a high-ranking officer upon her retirement.
On Saturday, November 24, 1951, Sparta State Bank moved across the street and held its open house on the corner of N. Union and Division where Choice One is located today. The public was invited to tour the new building. In October of 1966, the Sentinel Leader reports that Sparta State Bank “endeavors to operate a modern bank by adding a parking lot, a drive-in window, a time and temperature sign, piped-in music, electronic business machines for better service and now ELECTRIC DOORS (!)
For over 100 years the bank has served our local community and beyond. It’s grown over the years and is currently Sparta-based Choice One Bank, which was named Michigan’s top small bank by Newsweek. This year Choice One Bank re-purchased its original building. Thank you Choice One for restoring this historic building, it’s a beautiful addition to Main Street.