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The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

COMMERCIAL BANK OF LAKE ERIE - The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

The COMMERCIAL BANK OF LAKE ERIE was the first bank in Cleveland and briefly played an active role in the town's early economic life. Incorporated by 8 Clevelanders with $45,000 in capital and a 25-year state charter, the bank opened for business on 6 Aug. 1816 in a house at the corner of Superior and Bank (W. 6th) streets. With ALFRED KELLEY† as president, the firm carried on a prosperous business in mercantile credits and real-estate loans for two years. However, it fell victim to the Panic of 1819 and in 1820 it was unable to redeem $10,000 worth of its paper money with specie funds (gold and silver coins) to the Second Bank of the U.S. The bank reopened on 2 Apr. 1832 after paying off its federal debt, with LEONARD CASE† president and TRUMAN P. HANDY† cashier. Reorganization coincided with a tremendous growth in Cleveland's canal trade in the 1830s, and the bank extended credit to Cleveland's merchants and financed shipments of Ohio farm surpluses. The enterprise was successful until the Panic of 1837, when the bank was unable to collect its heavy merchant loans and had to suspend payment of specie for over a year. Although it survived the panic, the Commercial Bank never recovered, and when its charter expired in 1842, the state legislature refused to recharter it. By 1845 the bank's remaining assets had been distributed, including prime parcels of downtown real estate.

Commercial Bank of Lake Erie Records, WRHS.

Peter Weddell Records, WRHS.

Last Modified: 04 Mar 1998 03:02:43 PM

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