The Garrett State Bank and the City of Garrett were named after John Work Garrett. John’s father, Robert Garrett, had become a successful merchant and shipper in Baltimore and had extensive interests throughout the East. He stepped in to assist the financially embarrassed Baltimore and Ohio Railroad in several ways. Bonds were sold to finance the extension to Wheeling, WV, and his firm assisted in making various management decisions. Robert Garrett’s sons, Henry and John W. Garrett, became members of the Board of Directors of the railroad.

Chicago was rapidly becoming the railroad center of the United States. A railroad without connection to Chicago could not effectively compete in the natural market. Thus John W. Garrett started making plans to expand his railroad westward from Pittsburgh to Chicago. This proved to be impossible, so an alternative plan, which was far less expensive, was made to build a branch from the Newark-Sandusky line straight across the comparatively level areas of northern Ohio and Indiana to Chicago. John W. Garrett is credited with connecting Baltimore and Chicago with his railroad expansion. John W. Garrett died September 26, 1884.

The City of Garrett was founded as a divisional point for the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad on the Chicago route. The city was incorporated in 1876 and was laid out by Beverly L. Randolph. Mrs. Randolph named the main street in town after herself, and many of the original streets, including Keyser, King, Cowen, and Quincy, were named after officers of the Baltimore Land and Improvement Co., a subsidiary of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad.

Several prominent citizens of DeKalb County formed the Garrett State Bank as a private institution. The Garrett Banking Company opened for business on Saturday, April 16, 1892. The first shareholder was H. N. Coffinberry and the first depositor was Rueben Sawvel. The bank received a state charter on January 3, 1893, and in 1911, the name was changed to The Garrett State Bank.

The bank’s first location was a room on the ground floor of the Wagner Opera House on Randolph Street in Garrett. During the early 1900s, the bank bought a building and moved to the east side of Randolph Street. On March 5, 1917, the bank moved into their newly-erected Indiana limestone building on the corner of King and Randolph Streets. At the time, it was the finest and most modern banking facility in the area. The bank moved into its current Main Office in 1974. The building was erected on the site of the former Dr. Thompson medical office and home on West King Street.

*From the Garrett State Bank website.


The Garrett Museum of Art is located in the former Garrett State Bank building, located on the corner of King and Randolph Streets. It opened its doors in March 2008 for its Grand Opening.