The Great Northern Railway spread its tracks along the windswept Montana Hi-Line in the 1890s and the settlement of Chester emerged, named for the first telegraph operator’s Pennsylvania hometown. The rail line was straightened in 1907 and Chester picked up and moved a quarter mile from its original site to the present location. C. M. Atkins founded the First State Bank of Chester in 1909 and this handsome brick building, by far the most extravagant in town at the time, was completed in 1910. The bank served the prosperous agricultural community during the homestead boom. Like other banks across Montana, First State fell upon hard times as crops failed and homesteaders moved on. The bank closed in 1920, but the building continued to serve the community in a myriad of other ways. Over the years it was a residence, rooming house, bakery, pool hall, barbershop, and hospital, where a former lieutenant governor, Allen Kolstad, was born. Although safety dictated the removal of a second-story turret in the 1950s, Ionic columns, swan’s neck brackets, and graceful curved steps remain to frame the canted entrance. The original oak entry doors, pressed metal ceilings, woodwork, and the bank vault are still in place. Representative of small-town banks that once flourished across Montana, the landmark building is a community centerpiece and central to the town’s history. Students of Chester’s graduating class of 1997 researched and prepared the nomination for listing in the National Register of Historic Places in conjunction with the Montana Heritage Project.