Bank of Brewton celebrates 126 years Wednesday
Today marks the 126th anniversary of the opening of The Bank of Brewton, following its opening on Jan. 7, 1889.
According to the history on the bank’s website, the first president of the Bank of Brewton was Charles L. Sowell.
Sowell was employed in the milling and lumber business until the Civil War broke out. He took part in the bloody battles of Murfreesboro, Mission Ridge, Lookout Mountain, Chichamauga, Franklin and Nashville. In the Nashville battle, Sowell lost his left arm when a rifle ball shattered it. The next day he was made prisoner.
After his release, he was appointed as station agent for the L & N Railroad in Brewton.
In 1869, he resigned and engaged in the buying and selling of timber. He built a large sawmill and employed a large work force until 1888.
Brewton residents began to talk about the need for a bank. At that time, he disposed of his mills and organized the first bank in Escambia County, the Bank of Brewton.
When the bank opened that Monday in 1889, business was carried on in a building on West Saint Joseph Street.
In 1912, the Bank of Brewton moved out of the small building into a construction adjacent to the Lovelace Hotel. Still a part of the bank today, the building has become one of Brewton’s landmarks, recognizable by its facade of imported, white tile decorated with a green border.
It is the oldest bank in the state of Alabama, and the first bank established between Mobile and Montgomery.
Today, Jerry M. Kelly, Sr. is president, and the Bank of Brewton, still home owned and operated as in 1889, continues to serve the greater Brewton area as a full service bank.