Robbins Hunter, Jr., was a collector of many things: portraits, clocks, card tables, musical instruments, and buildings! As a young man, growing up in Newark, he developed a fondness for fine things from the nineteenth century, especially those from Licking County.
He was instrumental in seeing to it that many of Newark’s fine old buildings were saved from the wrecking ball including Sherwood-Davidson House and the Buckingham House. He also was proud of saving the A.J. Smith Banking House which once sat on the square in Newark. Hunter moved the building to Granville and put in on property across from the Granville Golf Course.
When he purchased the Avery-Downer house, he moved the little bank once again to 221 East Broadway, where it sits today. It now serves as home to Alfie’s, a popular lunch spot in the heart of the Village.
The following story, written by Robbins Hunter, Jr., himself, was published in the January, 1947 issue of The American Antiques Journal.
One of the oldest bank buildings in Ohio is a two-room structure built about 1845 in Newark, Ohio. At one time this little bank had deposits reaching $400,000. It ceased to function as a bank in 1851 and in 1943 was moved to Granville, where it can be seen today across the road from the Granville Inn Golf Course, and is now the property of the writer. There are two rooms in the bank with eleven foot ceilings. The original cupboard where the bank records were kept still stands beside the old fireplace. The front door is faced with tin and studded with hundreds of nails to give added strength. The old brass chandelier shown in the picture, while not an original feature of the building is of the same period. Its four oil lamps have been wired for electricity, and about eighty prisms hang from its brass ornaments. The windows at one time had forged iron bars across them to keep out early bank robbers. The tile around the fireplace is English and of very fine design. The building, while small, has real dignity because of its perfect proportions, the design of the front door being especially fine. But what a contrast the little building is to our modern banks with all their marble and brass.