This Old Rockport Bank Building is no more. The effects of years and
years of neglect finally brought the brick shell down. The two story building caught fire and was completely gutted
on December 26, 1990. For several years, the eyesore of the gutted building stood until finally wind and weather
brought the bricks tumbling to the ground. A lot of the bricks were collected as souvenirs. A year or so back the
remaining bricks were hauled off. A few of the bricks were salvaged, but most were used as a fill medium. Now, only
a few pictures and memories of those that witnessed the old building are all that is left. Time is forever; People and
old buildings are not.
In 1870, Henry J. Young purchased Rockport Town Lot #61. In 1900, he
and his wife willed the lot to their daughter and son-in-law, Bill and Nell Iler. In 1903, the young property owners
deeded the lot to the newly formed corporation, The Rockport Deposit Bank. Instead of cash or other type settlements,
Bill and Nell Iler opted to receive stock shares in the new enterprise. The new bank opened for business on October 7,
1903 with James Edward Maddox selected as its' first president.
"The Old Bank Building"
The following is similar to an earlier write-up about the old bank building in Rockport. I received a different
picture from the Owensobor Messenger-Inquirer, as well as some new information. Thus, I thought that I would share
some thoughts with you. The text is new, but it is of the same nature that was written earlier. The picture is
different. Hope you enjoy.
Many years ago, and after the turn of the twentieth century, a group of men and women initiated action on forming
a new bank for the town of Rockport. It was decided that a capital investment of fifteen thousand dollars would be
needed to start a new bank. One hundred and fifty shares, at one hundred dollars a share, would be issued. Some of
the new owners bought several shares each and a few people purchased the minimum amount of one share. The name of the
bank was to be Rockport Deposit Bank.
In 1903, the Rockport Deposit Bank bought the old bank building from W. P. and Sadie Iler. That same year, the new
bank opened its' doors and was very successful until the doors were closed in 1927. For almost twenty-five years,
Rockport had a deposit bank that did well for each of the years it operated. At a meeting of the owners in 1927, the
membership voted to resolve and the bank was to be no more. Maybe Rockport was just not able to keep pace with the
larger banks in the area. Beaver Dam and Hartford were growing at a fast pace and each town had successful
and much larger banks. For whatever reason, Rockport Deposit Bank closed. The corporation dissolved and the old
building was sold to S. L. Keown in November of 1927. Shirley Smith in her "History of Rockport and Echols Ohio County,
Kentucky" has a full page write-up on the Rockport Deposit Bank. Information from her book was used for the previous
For the next twenty years, I am not sure how many tenants the old building had and what type business venture that
operated within its' doors. There were several restaurants that were opened and each operated for a few years, some
even less. There may have been other business operations. Twenty years is a long period of time, in Rockport history,
for information not be known. In reality, it is known and may be written, it is just that I am not aware of that
particular period. I am sure that others are aware of the history of the bank building from 1927 to 1947. If anyone
knows and wants to share, please let me know. Note: H. T. Kennedy provided some information that can be added to the
history of the old bank building. From H. T. Kennedy's memory; Charlie Sanderfur was in business from 1938 to 1940.
I am assuming that he operated a restaurant in those three years. Dewy Elder was also a renter of the Old Bank Building
in the mid forties. Clarence Doss had a barbershop upstairs in the late thirties until about 1941. Wow, this old
building, that is now gone, had some history. Thanks, H. T. for your input.
Adral and Irene Shaw kept a restaurant opened in the building longer than anyone else that I can remember. They operated
their restaurant in the time frame of late 1952 until the late sixties. There are some Rockport residents that proclaim
the Shaw's operated a restaurant in the building in the early forties. I am just not aware of this period. Thomas
and Dorothy Harris and Bill and Irene Tooley are two other couples that have been mentioned. As deep as the old memory
cells in my brain go, I just do not remember any restaurant operators until the late forties. Thus, a period of history
of the building from 1927 until about 1947 is vacant in my memories. Your help is requested on this manner and will
I am not sure where I received the following information. It may have been from one person or a collection of
information from various sources. Harold Welborn probably had some input for the following.
Roy and Myrtle Hoskins, as a team, was one of those entrepreneurs that rented the bank building and gave the restaurant
business a try. I would put this time frame in the late thirties. In 1939 Johnny and Margaret Welborn tried the
restaurant business for about a year or until Johnny started working for Cherry Hill Mines. In the mid forties,
"Cute" and Imogene Taylor gave it a try and after that, Clifford "Tip" and Lois Cardwell tried their luck. I don't have
any recollection of any operation until Hemon Johnson rented the building and opened a restaurant. My thoughts are
that he rented the entire building and used the upstairs as a living quarters. This was probably in 1945. I don't
recall those first few years of the Johnson Cafe. My recollections starts in 1947 when we moved just across the Main
Street from the place of business.
I can remember Hemon Johnson's restaurant well. I think that he stayed in the business for several years. The Johnson's
had a son that was a few years younger that the rest of us, and although he wanted to play with us, he was just a
little too young and a tad too slow. Do remember him spending a lot of "Trike" time on the sidewalks while we were
on bikes. Think that his name may have been Richard, but we called him "Dickey" and "Dickey Bird".
If you were facing Hemon's Restaurant, there was a concrete block building on the left. This building was the meeting
place and the Church for the "Church of God" members in the Rockport and Echols area. During this period of time, there
were several Churches on Main Street. I believe that we called this church the Holiness Church. Sister Louise lived
across the street from this church and just up the hill from our house, She, at one time, was the pastor. Oakley and
Bessie Bratcher were active members. So were "Fuzzy" Bratcher and his wife. This church used stringed music
instruments as well as tambourines and their music and sermons could be heard some several hundred feet from the church.
To the right of Hemon's Place was a General Mercantile Store owned and operated by Mrs. Kevil and this store would
later be owned and operated by Jamie Reid. Have a new picture of this old building and will work on a write-up for
Kevil's place as my next project.
I certainly hope that your time was not wasted in the process of looking and reading at this type material. I enjoyed
putting it together. I appreciate all of the help that was received. A special thanks to the Owensboro-Messenger
Newspaper, Shirley Smith, Harold Welborn, H. T. Kennedy, Betty and Bobby Sublett and especially Hilma Stewart for
their input and information.
Picture below, taken in January of 2007
Left Click on picture to reply.