FAIRMONT HISTORY

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Waccamaw Bank & Trust Company

After almost one year without a bank in town, Fairmont citizens were relieved when the Waccamaw Bank and Trust Company of Whiteville received permission to open a branch in Fairmont on January 2, 1934. The bank opened in the building at the corner of Main and Iona Streets. Wayland Lennon, a native of Chadbourn, was cashier and manager of the branch. He reported deposits of more than $40,000 during the first two days of business.

By December, 1937 the bank had established itself in lower Robeson County. During tobacco season its daily cash payouts were about $200,000, and the Fairmont branch led the Carolinas in daily transactions. From the November 29, 1937 Robesonian: "It is said that no other bank in North or South Carolina paid out that much money in the course of a regular day's business. More than $9,000,000 is cash is handled this way during the tobacco selling period."

Because business was so good, the bank sought to expand to a larger location but none was available. World War II broke out when they were ready to build, so building materials were rationed and unavailable for the duration of the war. In March, 1946, Lennon announced the purchase of the 65x56 lot on the southeast corner of Main and Center Streets to build a new building. Construction was to begin as soon as building materials could be procured through the still-in-existence rationing board. This took fifteen months. Construction began in June, 1947 and was completed July 1, 1948. An open house to show off the new facility was held July 8.

The building continued to be serviceable until 1966 when technology and modern creature comforts dictated that a remodeling was needed. Architects drew plans that completely redesigned the building inside and out. Offices upstairs were removed and the bookkeeping department was moved there along with an employee lounge. The downstairs was redesigned to improve customer flow. The grand re-opening was held July 31, 1967.

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