Can you guess what this bank window sign means? Can you tell what language it’s written in? Find out in this latest installment of “Banker on Wheels.”
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New to this blog? After he hung up his president hat, bank chairman Larry and Mary Ann decided to sell their house, buy a Winnebago, and see more of America. They are now blogging about what they see about banking for ABA Banking Journal. Read more about the Mariks in “Chairman of the Open Road.” See the link at the end of the story.
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Here are some of the scenes they snapped, and the stories behind them, during their summer’s travels.—Steve Cocheo, executive editor
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Seen from the road in Kansas
A visit to Wichita brings the Mariks a moving experience!
Heading down Maple Street in West Wichita, Kan., the Mariks spotted the Kanza Bank moving truck in the lot of its local branch. The “Homeowners on Board” yellow sign no doubt caught the attention of the banking pair, who are at home when they are in their Winnebago, in motion or parked.
As the sign says, Kanza Bank will lend the red moving van to homeowners who finance their purchase with the $193 million-assets bank.
Kanza Bank is a family-owned institution in business since 1905 and is headquartered in Kingman, Kan. It’s name was originally State Bank of Kingman, but in 2001 the name was changed to Kanza. The Kanza were the Native American tribe that once inhabited the area’s plains. This is where the state’s name comes from and thus adds heritage to the bank’s name on two counts.
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Biking the Katy Trail, and discovering a bank-turned-post-office
Throughout America, you can see buildings that were once local banks, their names often etched in stone or otherwise marked in a more-than-temporary manner. This repurposed structure serves as a local post office.
“We were biking on the Katy Trail, and stopped in this quaint little town for lunch,” emails Mary Ann Marik. The Mariks are avid cyclists, and the Katy Trail is red meat to the likes of them.
Rocheport, Mo., the quaint town, is at roughly the halfway point on the Katy Trail, which runs 240-miles from Clinton to Machens, nearly across the whole state. The trail is one of the nation’s largest “rails to trails” projects, and uses portions of the former right-of-way of the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad, or the “MKT,” plus other trackage. The name “Katy” comes from the “KT” in the abbreviation, and the Texas portions of the railroad gave their name to both Katy, Texas, and that state’s Katy Freeway.
History is all around Rocheport, with the city having been a trading post prior to the Louisiana Purchase, and after that transaction, Lewis and Clark traveled the area in the course of their explorations.
The Rocheport Bank shows up in the State of Missouri’s online historical indexes, but can’t be found in the FDIC’s online institution directory. It must have been acquired or gone out of business long before the agency was established.
In time, the building became a post office. Interesting, because in their previous report, the Mariks spoke of Nebraska City’s Farmers Bank and Trust, which turned a large defunct post office into a bank headquarters.
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In the Cherokee Nation’s capital, Tahlequah
The opening photo’s lettering, shown in context, is still a mystery without translation.
Tahlequah, Okla., in Cherokee County, is the capital of the Cherokee Nation, and where the Mariks found a Bank of America office with an intriguing sign in Cherokee characters.
The city’s website says that, according to legend, the city name derives from the Cherokee word, “Ta’ligwu,” which means “just two,” or “two is enough.” It is said that this refers to a gathering of two elders shortly after completion of the Trail of Tears migration. Originally, the legend has it, three elders were to meet, but the third had not shown up by dusk.
The website indicates that a less-colorful, but more likely true, explanation, is that the name is a corruption of the name of the ancient Eastern Cherokee town of Great Tellico. One source says “Tellico,” or, rather, the Cherokee word “talikwa,” meant “lost.” Another source thinks the word “teliquah” is the root, which means “plains.” Another source suggests that it comes from a word meaning “rice,” or “grain,” especially a red-topped local grain.
The Mariks came across the Bank of America office while cycling around Tahlequah, on South Muskogee Ave.
As for the sign--many street signs in the city carry both Cherokee and English names--it translates to:
"At this bank you are considered #1!"
Thanks to Travis Noland of the Cherokee Nation Communications Office for providing the translation above.
Keep your eyes open for Larry and Mary Ann Marik and their huge Winnebago Journey. If they come to your bank, you just might wind up as their next blog.