#Lookback: Amoretti, Welty, Helmer and Co. Bank

A County 10 series in partnership with the Fremont County Museum System
where we take a #Lookback at the stories and history of our community and
presented by Mick Pryor, Financial Advisor with Edward Jones.

Beginning with the Never Sweat Bank which closed its doors in 1888, Dubois has seen many banks come and go. Its most well-known bank was the Amoretti, Welty, Helmer, and Company Bank which was built by the Williamson brothers in 1913.

As the tie-hack industry grew, Dubois experienced a large influx of people and money. Even though the need for services was increasing, few could be found in town. Perhaps most needed was a reliable bank, so merchant Frank Welty Sr., along with banker Ernest B. Helmer and businessman Eugene Amoretti Jr. decided to form a partnership and open a private bank. The bank was located next to the Welty General Store and very quickly gained significant assets; three years after opening their doors, the bank was reported to have $66,798.67 in the vault. Dubois, like much of Wyoming, was expanding and residents utilized banks to save and invest their money.

During its early statehood, banking in Wyoming almost exclusively consisted of private banks which operated with little to no real regulations. These early banks, like the Amoretti, Welty, Helmer, and Company Bank, were run by merchants and businessmen who found that they could serve a need in their communities while making a handsome profit. By 1907, the Wyoming Legislature passed restrictions on private banks “regarding management, control, and examination” and these restrictions along with the added security provided by a state or national bank, led to a decline in the number of private banks in urban areas. However, they continued to thrive across Wyoming given the rural nature of the state.

Despite the faith Dubois residents placed in its managers, the Amoretti, Welty, Helmer, and Company Bank closed in 1927 as a result of the Wyoming Banking Crisis (1926-1927). Frank Welty Sr. gave the building to his daughter, Gladys, and son-in-law Paul Hawley who turned it into their home after World War II. It was later bought by Mable MacFarland who also used it as home until her son sold it to the Dubois National Bank in 1963. It remained the Dubois National Bank until 1986 when they constructed a new building, which today is the Wyoming Community Bank.

Next up for the Fremont County Museum

Oct 15 & 16, 6-9 pm at the Pioneer Museum, “Halloween Night at the Museum”

Bailey Tire/Pit Stop Children’s Exploration Series

Oct 16, 5:30 pm at the Riverton Museum, “Haunted Walking Tour of Riverton”

Wind River Visitors Council Adventure Trek Series

Oct 16, 5-8 pm at the Riverton Museum, “Pumpkin Trail”

Oct 30, 3-5 pm at the Dubois Museum, “Halloween at the Museum”

Bailey Tire/Pit Stop Children’s Exploration Series

Sept 24 thru December 30, 9-5 pm at the Pioneer Museum, “The Arapaho Way” By Sara Wiles

Photography on exhibit in the Western Gallery through December

Thru October, 9-5 Monday-Saturday, at the Pioneer Museum, “Joseph Scheuerle Western Art Exhibit”

Handle With Care: Reed Schell

The Dubois Museum, the Pioneer Museum in Lander, and the Riverton Museum need your financial support. In the current economic environment, the museums are more reliant than ever on donations from the private sector to continue to provide the quality programs, collections management, exhibits, and services that have become their hallmark over the last four years. Please make your tax-deductible contribution to be used specifically for the benefit of the museum of your choosing by sending a check to Fremont County Museums 450 N 2ndRm 320 or taking it directly to the museum you choose to support.