The first Bank of Mauston was established by J.B. Rosencrans on December 12, 1868. It was a “private bank” without stockholders. J.B. Rosencrans then sold to Captain Perry R. Briggs, attorney and postmaster, in 1871. Shortly after purchasing the bank, Briggs took his son as a partner.
In 1886, the then millionaire, Jeff T. Heath, returned to Mauston and purchased the bank from Briggs. It remained a private bank until 1902 when it then became incorporated. It is believed J.T. Heath built the white brick building on the corner of Division and State Street in downtown Mauston around 1888. The building had an entrance on the street corner, and the first telephone line in Mauston connected Heath’s office in the bank with his home. This building was newly renovated in 2008 and is still being operated as a branch. Heartland Title and GMADC also have offices in the building.
Upon the unexpected death of Heath in 1903, it was found that his financial affairs were badly tangled. The Bank of Mauston was then reorganized and a number of local businessmen became stockholders.
The Juneau County State Bank
After Briggs sold the Bank of Mauston to Heath he moved to Redfield, Dakota Territory. He and his family returned to Mauston and he incorporated the Juneau County State Bank with a capitalization of $25,000.00. The bank then began business in the building that formerly housed the Mauston Public Library on State Street in Mauston.
When Perry Briggs sold his interests in the Juneau County Bank and moved to Texas, George S. Grub became the new president, William F. Windsor became the cashier, and W.G. Hosig became the assistant cashier.
When the Juneau County State Bank was reorganized some years later – William F. Windsor became the president and W.G. Hosig became cashier. Later on W.G. Hosig became the president of the Juneau County State Bank.
The Consolidation of 2 Banks
Both banks prospered through the late 1920’s. However, in 1932 the Depression forced the consolidation of the two banks and they became The Bank of Mauston. The new officers were E.J. Otto, President, Charles L. Behnken, Vice President, E.P. Kuehn, Cashier, and R.H. Hale, Assistant Cashier. The Board of Directors were E.J. Otto, C.L. Behnken, J.H. Ensch, E.P. Kuehn, John Seitz, T.W. Pfaff, and M.L. Powers. The Bank of Mauston moved to the location to the building on the corner of State Street and Division Street, which currently is known as the Downtown Branch. Shortly after the relocation, the Juneau County State Bank building was leased to the Post office Department to house the Mauston Post office (later the building housed the Mauston Public Library).
On March 28, 1935 three men held up the bank and shot Assistant Cashier R.H. Hale in the shoulder as Hale attempted to reach for his deer rifle in the vault. All three robbers were captured, and sentenced to prison terms. A year or so later there was another holdup attempt. Hale shot and killed the robber. From then on his close friends called him “Buckshot.”
On February 4, 1942, the Bank of Mauston purchased The Lyndon State Bank, located in Lyndon Station. The bank name was changed to The Bank of Mauston – Lyndon Station Branch. The building remained unchanged until 1971. At that time, the 1937 bulletproof teller windows were removed. Additional improvements were made to the building throughout the years including the addition of a vault, an office, and a drive up window.
By the late 1950’s, The Bank of Mauston’s building on the corner of State Street and Division in Mauston had become very crowded. The bank bought the Dockstader building which was located immediately south of the bank building. The Dockstader building was torn down. The Roth Brothers completed a two-story addition to the bank in 1958. A small parking lot and a Community Room were also included in the renovation. In the early 1970’s a drive up facility was built on State Street.
In 1978 the bank went from a manual posting process to computer processing. With many changes in technology our Bookkeeping department needed more space to accommodate the large computers. The building was extensively remodeled again in the early 1980’s to accommodate the large computers and equipment that were necessary for The Bank of Mauston to be on the cutting edge of technology.
In 1991 construction was completed on the new 14,000 square foot building on Highway 82 to house The Bank of Mauston – Main Branch continuing to accommodate the needs of our considerable customer volume and increased bank operations. Offering banking benefits beyond the traditional, our main branch is home office for Central Insurance Services, providing coverage for home, auto and more. In addition, the BOM Investment Group is on hand to provide investment and financial planning.
The old facility had become too small to accommodate the needs of the growing bank main office. Today, after a remodel in 2008, customers of downtown Mauston conveniently walk a few steps to The Bank of Mauston - Downtown Branch, still welcoming them at their familiar bank branch at the corner of Division and State Street.
Once again, The Bank of Mauston expanded customer service to extended areas of Juneau County by opening more branches. The Bank of Mauston - Dells Delton Branch opened in December 1997 on Highway A in Wisconsin Dells. In August of 2002 a new building was completed on site, providing ample space for additional branch operations.
Adding again, this time in New Lisbon, The Bank of Mauston - New Lisbon Branch opened in March 2001. Then in order to provide better service to our northern Juneau County customers, The Bank of Mauston - Necedah Branch was opened in August 2005.
The Bank of Mauston has experienced over 79 years of growth…And through it all we remain the same independent, locally owned community bank. All decisions at the Bank of Mauston are made locally. With friendly staff at six convenient locations and “Personal Banker” lending services for real estate, commercial and consumer loans, we proudly continue to serve our valued customers, helping our community grow.
The Bank of Mauston Board of Directors:
Left to right: Robert L. Fait – The Bank of Mauston President, Jim Mattei – Member of the Board of Directors, William H. Bosshard - Chairman, Kari L. Schmidt – Secretary and Michael Lindert – Vice Chairman