Historic bank branch to close

Staff photo by Adam Urquhart Davis Thurber, who once served as president Second National Bank at 191 Main St. in Nashua, stands on the second floor of what is now a TD Bank branch. Surrounded by his grandchildren, he smiles while standing in the location of his former office.

NASHUA – By the end of the week, TD Bank will close the office at 191 Main St., consolidating the operations into a much newer facility at 300 Main St.

This means the longtime home of Nashua’s historic Second National Bank will no longer be in operation.

In remembering the historical significance of the 191 Main St. building, Davis Thurber toured the facility one last time as banking activities are still happening inside its granite walls. Thurber served as president of the Second National Bank, which operated where TD Bank is now. His family maintained lead positions for decades. Thurber’s father and grandfather also served as president, leaving behind a legacy for him to lead. He is also the former president of the Bank of New Hampshire.

Now 93, Thurber reminisced on how things have changed through the years last Saturday while passing through the hallway on the second floor where his office once was.

“This decision was based on a number of factors, including customer traffic patterns and store transaction volumes, and is in line with our commitment to grow locations and services in a way that will create the best experience for the more than 9 million TD Bank customers from Maine to Florida,” TD Bank Vice President Lisa Sawicki stated in an email.

“Normal operations will continue at both stores until the transition is complete, and we will work directly with our customers to provide any needed

support through this change,” she added.

Born in 1925, Thurber remembers coming to the bank through the course of much of his life, which is why he wanted to take this opportunity to have one last look. While looking around upstairs, he said it had been a long time since he had been up there.

The Second National Bank was founded in 1875, with the idea for a national bank in Nashua originating in the mind of Jeremiah White in the early part of the year. In February of that year, the bank began with $100,000 of capital.

Lester Thurber, Davis’s grandfather, became director on Jan. 10, 1893. Stockholders later unanimously confirmed him as the new presiding officer. Lester was appointed president of the bank at the same time that he was serving as president of the Old Guaranty Savings Bank, and held this post until the merger with the Second National Bank in 1930. Lester served as president from 1916-35.

As time went on, the offices of the bank, which at this time was located in the Merchants Exchange Building, were no longer suitable. The bank quarters were becoming cramped, causing customers and employees to complain. This caused the efficiency of bank operations to suffer, which led to a recommendation of the president on April 11, 1922 to construct a new building for the bank.

On May 2, 1922, the directors voted to purchase the Tremont House property (on the corner of Main and West Pearl Streets) for $50,000 and taxes for 1922 to take title when contract is let for the new building. Minutes of proceedings from Nov. 14, 1923 show that $187,384.35 was set aside for this new building, which then opened on Feb. 22, 1924. The bank began serving its customers at this new location the next day, and those granite iconic columns remain standing today, providing a glimpse at Nashua’s past for all who pass. However, the only difference is that the brand TD Bank looms above the sidewalk, at least for now.

On Feb. 26, 1935, Lester Thurber passed away suddenly. Although the Great Depression put a severe strain on the financial industry at this time, including heavy securities and loan losses of the early 1930s, the bank reported impressive numbers. At the time of his death, the bank reported assets of $7,713,455; deposits of $6,713,455; capital stock of $900,000; surplus of $200,000; and undivided profits of $137,263.

Soon after, Davis’s father, George Thurber, was elected to be the fourth president on March 8, 1935. He served as president from then until 1962. When measuring George’s achievements, from 1935 to 1940, assets grew to $8,433,500 and savings deposits to $7,230,180.

George eventually passed away on March 15, 1963, but Davis had already taken over presidency of the bank on July 31, 1962 at age 39. In just six years, he was able to open five branch offices and was awaiting the approval for a sixth branch. During his seven-year tenure as president, assets nearly doubled from $27,467,993 in July 1962 to $52,154,207 in 1969, while deposits grew from $24,795,973 to $44,729,447.

Then on Sept. 9, 1969, a resolution passed during a special meeting of the bank’s stockholders. That resolution merged the Mechanics National Bank of Concord and the Second National Bank of Nashua with and into the Manchester National Bank under the charter of the Manchester National Bank under the title of the Bank of New Hampshire, N.A. The Bank of New Hampshire then operated from 1969 to 1996.

“The family held onto it for a while,” Davis said.

Adam Urquhart can be reached at 594-1206, or at aurquhart@nashuatelegraph.com.