0522 Lost Huntington: Security Bank

File photo/The Herald-Dispatch

In a February 1976 photograph, the steel superstructure can be seen going up for a three-story addition at the Security Bank at 6th Avenue and 1st Street.

Editor's note: This is the 184th in a series of articles recalling vanished Huntington scenes.

HUNTINGTON — One day in 1955, Norville Frazier, an investment builder, and Daniel Wagoner, secretary of Wagoner Brothers, a supply firm, were talking about West Huntington. The two men concluded that something the neighborhood really needed was a bank — and then they vowed to make that happen.

The following year, in July 1956, Security Bank opened its doors in a former supermarket at 1403 Washington Ave. Veteran banker Francis J. Price was installed as president of the new venture. Fraser was vice president and Wagoner a member of the board of directors.

In 1963, Robert H. Beymer was named president of Security. Then 34 years old, Beymer became one of the youngest bank presidents in West Virginia.

With Beymer at the helm, the young bank made a bold move in 1965 when it purchased property on the northwest corner of 6th Avenue and 1st Street and began construction of a strikingly modern building. Erected by the Neighborgall Construction Co., the new building opened in 1965.

A decade later, in 1976, Security constructed a $3 million expansion that included a three-story addition to the main bank and two-story drive-in.

In 1983, One Valley Bancorp, the state's largest banking company, paid $9.9 million for Security's 110,000 shares of stock. "There are different owners, but nothing will change." Beymer told The Herald-Dispatch. "It stays the Security Bank, and the same people will run it." Fours later, in 1987, the Security name came off the big sign outside the bank when One Valley decided that all its affiliated banks should display the same name.

In 2000, in a $1.2 billion deal, One Valley was acquired by BB&T Corp. of Winston-Salem. North Carolina, and the towering sign at the 1st Street bank was changed again.

Do you enjoy the "Lost Huntington" series?

"Lost Huntington: Volume 1" is a hardcover, full-color book of some of the city's lost landmarks. The book is likely to be of interest to anyone who enjoys history and loves Huntington.

Books are $29.95 plus tax, shipping and handling. To order, visit media.herald-dispatch.com/ecom/ or call 304-526-2720.

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