Did You Know?
Orra Monnette (son of Mervin and Olive Monnette) was the founder of the Bank of America, Los Angeles.
Orra Monnette would later become the first president of the Bank of America, as well its co-chairman.
Prior to Orra Monnette’s creation of the Bank of America Los Angeles network, most banks were limited to a single city or region. He was the first person to create a system of centralized processing, bookkeeping, and cash delivery.
Later in life, Monnette also served as President of the Los Angeles Public Library System from 1915-1936.
Mervin Monnette was Orra’s father. In the early stages of his career, he was successful cattle rancher just outside of Bucyrus city limits. His interests soon turned to banking within the city of Bucyrus. However, after some financial hardships, he and his wife, Olive, moved West. Through a series of new investments and endeavors, Mervin became part owner of a gold mine in Goldfield, Nevada. That goldfield hit the mother lode in 1906, yielding a profit of $5,000,000 (approximately $150,000,000 in 2021 dollars).
From this financial windfall, Mervin enlisted the help of his son, Orra, to invest in several banks throughout the Los Angeles area. Through a series of mergers and acquisitions, his son Orra, eventually founded the Bank of America, Los Angeles. This institution was eventually renamed the Bank of America after a final merger.
Mervin and Olive Monnette’s Farmstead in Crawford County, Ohio
In April 12, 1873, Orra Monnette was born to Olive and Mervin Monnette. At that time, his family lived on the Scioto Stock Farm in Monnett, Ohio (Crawford County).
The rural town of Monnett was founded by Orra’s father (Mervin Monnette) and two uncles to develop a train stop aiding in the shipment of their cattle.
Monnett is located just 6.5 miles south of Bucyrus.
In 1882, when Orra was nine years old, his family then moved to the city of Bucyrus.
At that time, Orra’s father, Mervin, had given up his daily agricultural activities, but he retained his landed interests. Mervin was then free to pursue banking ventures.
Mervin invested in and became director of the formerly-named Crawford County Bank.
That bank was later renamed the Second National Bank of Bucyrus. Mervin Monnette was president of the Second National Bank of Bucyrus from 1881-1897. The bank was originally organized by Mervin’s father, Abraham Monnette and Mervin’s father-in-law, George Hull.
Orra later worked in the Second National Bank for several years.
Monnett & Company (est. 1881) was another family bank in Bucyrus, later renamed Bucyrus City Bank in 1886. Its president was Ephraim, Mervin’s oldest sibling.
That original building is located on the west side of the Bucyrus City Square. Today, you can still see the name, “Bucyrus City Bank,” atop that building.
Bucyrus City Bank eventually physically relocated in 1958 to the current site of today’s Park National Bank on South Sandusky Avenue.
History of the current Park National Bank building in Bucyrus
In 1982, Bucyrus City Bank and Crawford County National Bank merged and formed United Bank, N.A.
The bank at the new South Sandusky location was known as United Bank from 1982 until 2000. In 2000, United Bank Bancshares, Inc. was purchased by Park National Corporation. At this time, United Bank then became a wholly-owned subsidiary of Park National Corporation.
However, to Bucyrus locals, the bank remained known and referred to as United Bank from 1982 until 2020.
But in 2020, the United Bank building underwent a new branding, signage, and physical transformation. It is now officially known as Park National Bank. By joining under the umbrella, “Park National Bank,” all 12 community banking divisions not only share a unified name, but they also have the ability to deliver greater banking options to its customers.
Orra lived and grew up most of his childhood on Rogers Street in Bucyrus.
In that Bucyrus childhood home, Orra lived with his father, Mervin, and his mother, Olive. His brother, Clark, died at a very young age (b. 1887- d. 1888) Clark is buried in Bucyrus Oakwood Cemetery.
Orra’s boyhood home on Rogers Street eventually became the Kings Daughters Home, a home for orphaned children from 1921 to 1961.
The property on which Orra’s childhood home once stood is now the site of the Maplecrest Assisted Living facility.
Orra lived in Bucyrus (with the exception of his college years at Ohio Wesleyan) until the age of 32.
In 1895, Orra Monnette graduated from Ohio Wesleyan with academic distinction and subsequently returned to Bucyrus.
In this same year, he also married Carrie Lucile Janeway of Columbus, Ohio.
Shortly after Orra returned home to Bucyrus, his parents (Mervin and Olive) lost their fortune.
Deciding to move out West to start over, Mervin and Olive quietly left Bucyrus.
That move would ultimately be extremely fortuitous for the entire family.
Upon his return to Bucyrus, Orra initially worked at Second National Bank.
But by 1896, Orra resigned from the bank and entered the law office of Finley, Beer & Bennett in Bucyrus, Ohio. Later that year, Orra was admitted to the Ohio Bar.
In 1899, Orra Monnette purchased a home on 221 South Poplar Street (Lot #293) in Bucyrus. By this time, his parents had left Bucyrus and moved West.
Today, that same property serves as the law office of Attorney David Cory.
But by 1903, Orra Monnette resigned from the Bucyrus law firm and moved to Toledo, Ohio.