Rock Creek State Bank

Joliet Residential Historic District

The Bank of Joliet opened in 1904 and began planning construction of this stately one-story building soon after. By the time the $8,000 building was completed in 1907, the bank had new owners and a new name. Built on Joliet’s most visible corner, the bank’s canted entrance welcomed passersby from both directions. Its design, according to the 1907 Joliet Journal, represented “both beauty and strength, thus adding materially to the appearance of … our rapidly-growing little city.” The symmetrical façade and use of stone and brick exemplified small-town bank design, which endeavored to relieve depositors’ fears of losing their savings to theft, fire, or bank failure by conveying the impression of permanence and stability. When drought and low commodity prices shattered the homestead economy in the 1920s, however, over half of Montana’s banks closed, including Rock Creek State Bank in 1923. Three years later, Lodge #77 of the International Order of Odd Fellows purchased the bank for $2,750 and six months’ back taxes. A fraternal organization, the Odd Fellows advocated love, friendship, and truth while offering fellowship and a social safety net for its members. Lodges paid members sick benefits and funeral expenses, contributed to a statewide retirement home, and supported local and national charities. The Odd Fellows and their sister organization, La Cuesta Rebekah Lodge #56, shared the building until 1979, when the Odd Fellows Lodge disbanded and sold the building to the Rebekahs for $10. The Rebekahs still meet here—continuing the longstanding tradition of Odd Fellowship in Joliet.

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Main Street (lot 1 of block 4 of the Original Townsite of Joliet), Joliet, Montana ~ Private