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Latest News / Centier Bank Opens Historical Museum Honoring Family, Corporate Roots in Whiting

Centier Bank Opens Historical Museum Honoring Family, Corporate Roots in Whiting

July 1, 2021

WHITING, Ind. — It all started in 1895 in a little town on Lake Michigan, when a German immigrant named Henry Schrage wanted to help his neighbors by opening a bank. Well before the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation was established there were nearly 30,000 banks in the U.S. One of them was the Bank of Whiting, the town’s first-ever bank.

Fast forward 126 years, four generations of family ownership, and more than 60 locations across the State of Indiana, that bank--now known as Centier Bank--is one of approximately 4,000 banks in the U.S., and happens to be Indiana’s largest private, family-owned bank.

The company’s longstanding history along with a family legacy with deep roots in Whiting is the inspiration behind the new Centier Bank Museum, which opened June 29 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Whiting Mayor, Steve Spebar, spoke at the event and presented a letter from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. The letter officially announced that the Henry and Caroline Schrage House on Schrage Avenue in Whiting is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

CEO and Chairman, Mike Schrage, expressed his gratitude and awe at the completed space, which he is excited to share with visitors near and far.

“To see 126 years of our history on display is really incredible,” Schrage said. “I’m very proud of all the hard work that went into this project, and how it will be used to promote our award-winning corporate culture to our associates. We hope visitors in Northwest Indiana and even those passing through on their way to and from Chicago will stop by to check out the artifacts and displays.”

The museum includes a 126-year-old concrete arch that framed the entrance of the bank’s original location on Center Street—and was carefully deconstructed in pieces by a construction company last fall. Additionally, an array of banking artifacts from old Monroe Calculators and check writers to a 3,000-lb. vintage safe, as well as a bank ledger from 1875 are on display in the bank vault portion of the museum.

“Even if you have no personal ties to Whiting Indiana or Centier Bank, we wanted to make it an interesting destination for people who might be interested in the history of banking, too,” Schrage explained. “It’s a niche topic with a lot of history, and we weave that into the exhibit.”

Centier Bank also presented a $1,000 donation to the Whiting-Robertsdale Historical Society at the event.

The Centier Bank Museum is free and open to the public and is open from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday and 9 a.m. to noon on Saturdays. It is located at 1500 W. 119th St. in Whiting Ind. For more information go to centier.com/museum.

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