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Corn Belt Bank

The Corn Belt Bank was organized December 2, 1891 by General John McNulta, J.T. Snell, and

A. S. Eddy. The bank was incorporated in 1892 with capital stock worth one hundred and fifty thousand dollars.

General McNulta was a Civil War veteran who later served as an Illinois state senator and a member of the 43rd Congress of the United States. McNulta was also a senior member of the law firm McNulta and Weldon. A native of New York City, McNulta lived in McLean County from 1857 until he moved his family to Chicago in 1894. He was the receiver for the National Bank of Illinois at his death on February 2, 1900.

The Corn Belt Bank was located at 213 North Main Street, Bloomington in 1892. McNulta served as bank president only during its first year. His successor in 1893 was V.E. Howell. The bank remained at the North Main Street location until the June, 1900 fire in downtown Bloomington destroyed four city blocks, including the bank. The bank moved to a temporary location at 425 N. Main Street while its new building was under construction at the corner of Main and Jefferson Streets in 1901. The new building -- named the Corn Belt Bank Building -- was designed by George H. Miller and was noted for its pilasters “topped with endearing capitals of stalks and ears of corn.” The owners of the building were Howard E. Hayes, Superintendant of the Bloomington Stove Co., Fredonis Hayes Griffith, and Elizabeth S. Hayes. The bank did not actually purchase the building until 1960.

The bank occupied the first floor of the building from 1901 until 1962. The six stories above the bank were rented to a number of businesses over the years. On September 13, 1960 the Corn Belt Bank purchased the building from Ralph J. and Amy Heffernan. Shortly thereafter, the bank began construction of a new building located at 207 N. East Street.

The Corn Belt Bank operated at 207 N. East Street until it merged with the Midwest Financial

Group. The name was changed to Banc Midwest: An MFG Bank.

After the bank moved in 1962, the first floor of the Corn Belt Bank Building remained vacant for several years. In 1964 the Corn Belt Bank Building was sold to George Meara, a local lawyer and businessman, who changed the name to the Meara Building. Between 1966 and 1974 the first floor of the building was occupied by several different retail clothing stores. In 1976, First Midstate Investment Broker, Inc. occupied the first floor of the Meara Building. On May 4, 1978, the Meara Building was sold to Leo Forbes, Jr.

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