Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Road Trip - Why Historians Love Pack Rats

Historians love pack rats. The years of accumulation sometimes allows a reconstruction, as is the case of the Tampico Bank. When the bank closed the teller and bookkeepers cages were dismantled and stored in the basement, thereby preserving them. All the bank records and everything from the interior of the bank was stored in the home of the original owners.

The woman whose family had owned the bank kept everything, in true pack rat fashion. That was a bit of good luck for those who restored the bank. They even found the original blueprints which allowed them to reconstruct the cages.

It's like walking into a movie set. Here's the original desk where you would fill out your deposit tickets.


The bookkeeper's cage.


Here's the teller's cage.


The woman had kept all the ledgers, including some that recorded deposits made by Nellie Reagan.


This is an old comptometer, the precursor to the electric adding machine.


The scary thing is that on my first job the office clerk used a comptometer similar to this. Does that make me as old as dirt?

The large bank vault cost $1,200 and contained it's own non-electric alarm system.


The most interesting thing to note is that in those days even the most utilitarian item was a thing of beauty. Look at the beautiful designs on the metal panels.


Adjacent to the bank is a small gift shop and museum space filled with Reagan memorabilia.


The last time the Reagan's were in Tampico was on Mother's Day of 1992. The Reagan's attended services at the church he had attended as a child with his mother.


Our tour guide Bill made us promise to come back in the spring and we will certainly do that. Thanks to Bill, Bertha, Father Louie and all the volunteers who made for an interesting day.


BittersweetPunkin said...

Suzanne...your pics or so neat. So happy to hear that all those items were preserved for the rest of us to enjoy.

Jody Blue said...

I will tell my kids I need to save for future generations to enjoy!May be they made stuff so pretty back then because life was hard, and people worked hard. Thanks again for the day trip.

Vee said...

I can remember when banks looked about that way so the answer to your question is, no, you are definitely not older than dirt. Good heavens, Suzanne!

The Reagans visited in 1992? That's pretty recent in the great scheme of things.

Wonder what more there'll be to learn in the spring!

chocolatechic said...

OH....history is so beautiful.

I love, love, love it when they people restore things like that.

Vee said...

Oh meant to tell you that we just discovered that there's a Rufus Porter (famous muralist and originator of Scientific American magazine) museum in a local town. We got all excited about the prospects of taking a day trip, but it doesn't open until June!

Anonymous said...

You are a great tour guide. Loved the pics.

Mrs Parks said...

I love our trips :)

Anonymous said...

I have been away from the computer for a few days but I loved catching up on this trip. I know I have mentioned before that I can't get away for more than a day so I really enjoy these trips to a little piece of Americana. It's so nice that you take us along and I, for one, really appreciate it!

Rue said...

I loved the tour! Reagan is my favorite president. I think because I was so young (about 11 or 12) when he came into office and he seemed so nice LOL Now that I'm older I know how much he did for our country :)

Thank you for taking me with you Suzanne!


lifeinredshoes said...

This building and it's contents are a national treasure! Bless the packrats of the world.

Molly said...

This has been great - the first election I voted in was the one in which Reagan ran for president against Carter, and Reagan was who I voted for.

Heidi said...

What fun!! I LOVE to go to places like this one! If I get to come south, I want to GO THERE!!!

Anonymous said...

Oh Suzanne~ You are wonderful for all the excellent tours you take us on! I doubt I will ever get to see the many Historical Places in person.
And when I saw the comptometer...YIKES!
I learned on that vile machine in my Sr. yr. of H.S. Thankfully on my first position as a Sec'ry/Clerk in the local CHEVROLET DEALERSHIP they had the new electric adding machines! SIGH!
...and add me to the Pack Rat Society! But you know, every time my daughter asks me for an item, etc. that she remembers she had or I had.........YEP, I can usually produce it! Smile!!
When my daughter married and moved out: She pitched and I stashed!LOL

Thanks again! You are a TREASURE!
Liz in PA

Cottage Rose said...

Hello Suzanne; What a great set of photos of the bank. Must have been so amazing to actually be there.


Anonymous said...

Love the bank tour...the workmanship in the beautiful woodwork is unbelievable..it is fantastic that people have kept it altogether..
luv Ann.xx

Louise said...

"...in those days even the most utilitarian item was a thing of beauty."

I think this is why I love antiques.