Celebrating 120 years in Milaca

First National Bank of Milaca celebrates anniversary with community birthday bash

Milaca – The First National Bank of Milaca is celebrating a major milestone Friday night, Aug. 25.

The bank will be celebrating 120 years of providing a valuable service to the Milaca community.
As a show of thanks for the community’s loyal patronage for more than a century, the bank is hosting its annual Birthday Bash, and the bank staff wants the community to join in the celebration.
This year the bank is bringing the country to the city, with a theme that mirrors that of an old country hoedown right in the middle of Main Street Milaca, said Tracy Otten, marketing manager for the bank.
There will be activities for people of all ages, Otten said.
Activities begin at 4 p.m. Friday, Aug. 25 with bingo for members of the bank’s Primer Timers Club over at the Milaca Senior Center, located a few doors down from the bank at 170 Second Ave. SW. Also at 4 p.m. will be the Kids Pasture with a petting zoo, games and a bouncy house.
“Local 4Hers are helping with the petting zoo,” Otten said.
Bingo is from 4-5 p.m., the Kids Pasture runs from 4-7 p.m.
One of the highlights of the Birthday Bash will be a pig roast, with food being served from 5:30-7 p.m.
In addition to the pork, all the fixings will be served.
At 5:45 the Cambridge Corners square dancing group will liven up the street with square dancing demonstrations. The demos will lead into an opportunity for Birthday Bash attendees to hit the street and show off their own square dancing skills, Otten said.
The Cambridge Corners will be followed by She’s My Sister, the four-person band made up of the Truebenbach and Larson sisters. The girls, fresh off performances at Milaca’s RecFest and the Mille Lacs County Fair, will perform on the First National Bank of Milaca stage until 10 p.m.
There will also be regularly scheduled cash giveaways throughout the night. One lucky boy and girl under the age of 15 will also be recipients of new bicycles on Friday night.
Everyone young and old is invited to take part in the Birthday Bash activities. One does not need to be a First National Bank of Milaca customer.
“This is a community celebration, so everyone is invited to attend,” Otten said.
Celebrating history
The bank was first opened as the Bank of Milaca on Aug. 24, 1897 by Merrit M. Ring, who came to Milaca from Owatonna. The first bank building was a small structure built on the Dahlstrom block. Two years later, on Sept. 14, 1899, bank robbers blew up the bank by putting a dynamite charge in the cashbox of the bank after emptying the box of its deposits.
Within two months of the explosion, the bank changed hands and a new structure was built. Over time, the bank went by the names of Mille Lacs County Bank, Farmers State Bank, and then the First National Bank of Milaca.
It was in 1907 that bank began its 110-year association with the Allen family.
It was February 14, 1907 that the February of 1907 that the Mille Lacs County Times noted that J.A. Allen took over as manager of the bank. In the 1920s, his son Burton P. Allen joined the business. His son Burton P. Allen Jr., known in the community as Pete, joined his father in managing the bank in 1956.
The bank moved to its present location at 109 Second Ave. SW in 1961.
Pete Allen operated the bank until into his 80s. He passed away on April 4, 2012. His wife Thora passed away a year later on May 3, 2013.
Today, First National Bank remains in the control of the Allen family. It is owned by Rum River Bancorporation, Inc., a privately held corporation owned by the local Allen family.