James Rada, Jr.
The year 1899 marks the year that aspirin was created. It is the birth year for Al Capone, Duke Ellington, and August Anheuser Busch, Jr. Henry Bliss became the first person killed in a car accident in the United States. And, Woodsboro Savings Bank of Frederick County was chartered on May 1, 1899, with $25,000 in capital stock.
Today, 120 years later, the bank headquarters remains in Woodsboro, and six branch offices—Downtown Frederick, Monocacy, Thurmont, Rt. 40, Guilford Drive, and Homewood—are thriving.
“We have survived two World Wars, the Great Depression, and the great recession. That’s an achievement,” said Woodsboro Bank President and CEO Stephen K. Heine.
Although the three-story brick headquarters for Woodsboro Bank on North Main Street in Woodsboro looks aged and historic, when it was first opened in 1901, it was state-of-the-art.
“The building was equipped with every modern convenience and featured innovative fire and burglar proof vaults,” according to the bank history on the Woodsboro Bank website.
“We were the bank that funded the vast majority of businesses here, as well as the families,” Heine said.
The building, which was the heart of the town, was also home to the post office, a grocery store, and the Woodsboro Opera House. Community gatherings were held in the opera house space. Later, the Washington Camp No. 44 Patriotic Order of America held its lodge meetings in the building, and a dentist had his offices.
As the bank grew, its need for space increased. A two-story annex was built onto the rear of the building in 1984, and five years later, a one-story addition added drive-through banking to Woodsboro Bank’s services.
Then, in 1995, Woodsboro Bank took over the opera house space (which had closed in 1953). A floor was added in the opera house, giving the building a full third floor. However, the designers preserved the wooden proscenium, painted mural, and original opera house piano, which can still be seen today.
“We’re truly a modern bank, but you have to respect history,” Heine said.
The bank was growing outside of Woodsboro as well, particularly during the 1990s. It changed its name from Woodsboro Savings Bank to Woodsboro Bank in 1995, which seemed to reflect the bank’s growth.
“Up until the 90s, we were a traditional community bank,” Heine said.
Woodsboro Bank opened its first branch in Thurmont in 1993. Other branches soon followed.
The Monocacy Village branch opened in 1997. The Downtown Frederick and Rt. 40 branches opened in 1999. ATMs came along in 1995 and expanded the bank’s reach into Trout’s Market and Sheetz stores in Thurmont and Taneytown.
“As Frederick started to grow, the bank knew we needed to be part of the Frederick community,” Heine said.
Growth has continued into the 21st century. The Guilford and Homewood branch offices opened. A new Thurmont branch was built, and an art deco building in downtown Frederick was purchased to house Woodsboro Bank’s commercial operations.
Although Woodsboro Bank offers all of the services that larger banks offer, it remains focused on community banking.
“There’s a need and a want among businesses and individuals for a community bank,” Heine said. Heine explained that people want to be treated like individuals and to have bank employees work with them to find a solution to their banking needs.
While the bank’s customer base has grown throughout Frederick County, Woodsboro is still the bank’s home.
“This is our home. We are loyal to the community, and the community is loyal to us,” Heine said. He explained that the bank supports over 60 not-for-profit businesses and community organizations with money and volunteer hours.
Community banks like Woodsboro Bank are quickly disappearing, as they are absorbed into other larger banks, but Woodsboro Bank is thriving as an integral part of Frederick County.
The bank plans to celebrate its anniversary with a dinner at McClintock’s Distilling on May 14. There will also be a BBQ for colleagues and their families at Woodsboro Town Park in June.
The Woodsboro Bank building on Main Street in Woodsboro, was in the heart of the town. It was also the location of the Woodsoboro U.S. Post Office.
The building was also home to the Woodsboro Opera House, where community gatherings were held.
Woodsboro Bank, Frederick County Humane Society and K-9 Unsung Hero Fund joined together to provide the Thurmont Police Department with a new K-9, Majo. Steve Ott (VP/Branch Team Leader, Woodsboro Bank), Steve Heine (President & CEO, Woodsboro Bank), and Consie Meyers (VP/Business Development Officer, Woodsboro Bank), Connie Graff (Director, Frederick County Humane Society) and Martin Burall (VP/Technology, Woodsboro Bank and President, Frederick County Humane Society) visited with Corporal Duhan and Majo.