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Woman banking on restoration

April 15, 1999

Fonda ThomsenBy KIMBERLY YAKOWSKI / Staff Writer

photo: JOE CROCETTA / staff photographer




KEEDYSVILLE - There were tears in Barbara Wyand's eyes the day the Keedysville Bank closed in 1998.

The Keedysville resident had worked at the bank for more than 15 years before transferring to the Boonsboro branch.

"I stopped by to make a deposit and the door was locked. I just went home. I was shocked," she said.

Before it closed, the bank had changed hands and names over the years. It was owned by American Trust/Keystone Bank at the time of its closure.

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The 19 S. Main St. building was purchased in March by Fonda Thomsen, of Keedysville, to house her museum consulting business, Textile Preservation Associates Inc.

Calling it a "labor of love," Thomsen is restoring the bank building, which was erected in 1906 by P. E. Kretzer.

"It's one of the most significant buildings in town," she said.

Because of the private nature of her business, she said the building will not be open to the public when the renovations are complete.

She will, however, hold an open house on May 22 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and on May 23, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., for those who would like to view it.

"There has been so much interest. People have been stopping by all the time, so I thought this would be a good way to let everyone get their chance," she said.

She purchased the building for $50,000 and is spending about $30,000 on the renovation, Thomsen said.

Workers will be at the site for the next few weeks, she said.

The one-story, red-brick building's plasterwork is being restored by craftsmen who worked on the Maryland Theatre, she said.

The bank's enormous metal vault at the center of the building will remain because it is too large and heavy to remove. The original vault in the basement also will stay. The facade will not change except for the removal of the two outer lights, she said.

Thomsen said she would like to decorate the building with copies of photos of the bank and its employees. Anyone with such pictures can drop them off there or mail them to Thomsen at P.O. Box 193, Keedysville, MD 21756.

"I would love to hear everyone's memories of the bank and see their pictures," she said.

Many of Wyand's memories of the bank are of the little things.

She is quick to remember details like the barbed wire that used to top the teller windows or the way the Little Antietam would flood the basement with 2 inches of water.

She said the bank served about 30 customers a day from the Keedysville, Sharpsburg and Boonsboro areas.

"There is a closet in the bank with a phone. We would use it to call people to tell them when they've overdrawn their account," she said.

"It's hard to tell people you go to church with that they're overdrawn," she said.

She said customers at the bank could always count on personalized treatment.

"We rolled out the red carpet. We tried to meet their needs any way we could," she said.

Employees knew all the customers by name and worked with them in times of financial trouble, she said

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