the lion, dorothy, tin man and scarecrow on their way to the emerald city

Toto, I’ve got a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.

2024. It has arrived, and with it comes a few exciting milestones. Of course, we’re definitely still in Kansas (and Nebraska of course), but this month we’re celebrating the fact that January 29th marks the 163rd birthday of our golden wheat state where the sunflowers fill the spaces between fields. In addition to that, this year marks the 140th anniversary of the Central National Bank, which was founded in Junction City, Kansas.

Bonus points if you recognize the quotes included here as headings. Can you count the references to unique Kansas things, places and people in this article? Answers at the end!

Someplace where there isn’t any trouble. Do you suppose there is a place Toto? There must be.

In honor of the holiday, we have rounded up some facts and figures about the state as well as our bank’s history. History buffs, buckle your seatbelts, grab an Icee and a Personal Pan Pizza, we’re going to hit the interstate and gather up a few interesting facts that, sort of, tie us back to the Tallgrass Prairie from which we hail.

First, a little bit of trivia connecting Central National Bank to the first Kansas Day celebration in Paola, KS back in 1877… The Kansas Historical society website notes that the holiday was chosen and celebrated by a group of students who were feeling particularly patriotic. One boy who gave a speech during the first celebration was named Charles Sumner. And Sumner just so happens to be the first name of our founding father here at the bank! No relation, of course, just a fun fact. 147 years of annual celebrations is quite the achievement!

Trivia tidbit number two, the first Northwestern Teachers Association meeting was held in Beloit, KS in 1882 where it was decided that a pamphlet should be published containing state facts and trivia. We may have a bank branch in Beloit, but this meeting was held two years prior to the bank’s founding in 1884 in Junction City. How many trivia facts do you suppose they had available to include in the booklet only a few years after the state’s founding?

Trivia tidbit number three, The Wizard of Oz doesn’t have much to do with the state of Kansas. The author was not from here, and the 1939 classic cinematic experience was not even filmed here. However, the story really put ‘flyover’ Kansas on the map. The heartwarming story about friendship and possessing character you think you lack is something most Kansans can get behind. Dorothy’s pluck, or evidence of bravery, determination, and courage, is a character trait you need to possess if you intend keep a business afloat for over a century. Plus, Dorothy’s a Kansas Farm girl and that’s something we can really relate to! The bank has a long history of supporting farmers and ranchers, a profession we’re honored to take part in. Flat as a pancake actually makes an ideal location for farming operations!

Come along, Dorothy. You don’t want any of “those” apples!

Dorothy faced several dangers in her adventures in Oz, and the banking industry has had just as many ups and downs in our long history of service to Kansans. The stock market crash of 1929 comes to mind. The early 1930’s brought bank failures by the thousands and by 1933 President Franklin D. Roosevelt declared a bank holiday in early March. In fact, our bank was the only bank in Junction City permitted to reopen the next day. The ag crises of the 1980’s also comes to mind given our history of supporting farmers and ranchers. We prevailed, and even continued to grow and expand our business into new markets across the state through the 1990’s and into a new century.

Some people without brains do an awful lot of talking, don’t they?

All this carrying on (wayward son)… at the end of the day we’d be doing an injustice to our customers and the communities we serve if we didn’t pass on thanks and recognition. We appreciate your business each and every day. There’s not really a fancy way to put it, and as Kansans we really don’t need the pomp and circumstance, but plainly put, we are what we are because of who is behind the curtain. Our hardworking employees and the customers who put their trust in us.

Lions and tigers and bears! Oh my!

A lot has changed in 140 years – and the ‘fun’ isn’t over. One of the newer challenges facing Americans and financial institutions alike is the rise of fraud and scams. As technology becomes increasingly more prevalent in our every day lives, so too does the risk of being taken advantage of. We take considerable effort to ensure we’ve got the best in technological security measures to protect your deposits; and we train our bankers to watch carefully for patterns of fraud and bad checks so we can provide multiple levels of protection. Aside from that, we also provide customers with helpful information, right here on this blog so everyone is equipped to learn about scams so they protect themselves as well.

If I ever go looking for my heart’s desire again, I won’t look any further than my own backyard.

The world is full of troubled times and places, but the Midwest is a great place to live. And, one thing is consistent here at Central National Bank, we’ll be making the same conservative financial decisions we always have. We appreciate that you’ve put your trust in us and are looking forward to the 140th year of business just as much as the last 139. There’s no place like home!

Answers to the Hidden Trivia References:

  • Kansas is known as the wheat state
  • The state flower of Kansas is the sunflower
  • The Icee was invented in Coffeyville, KS in 1958 and was the result of faulty equipment at a Dairy Queen.  
  • Personal Pan Pizza is a tasty treat for kids originating at Pizza Hut, which was founded in Wichita, KS in 1958.
  • Kansas opened the longest continuous section of interstate in 1956 which was part of the largest public works project in modern U.S. history. In fact, President Dwight D. Eisenhower who hailed from Abilene, KS enacted the Federal-Aid Highway Act which is responsible for over 800 miles of interstate in Kansas and kick started the national system we all know and use today.
  • Today, less than 4% of the Tallgrass Prairie still exists intact, and is mostly located in the Flint Hills of Kansas. An 11,000 acre preserve is located not far from the bank’s headquarters in Junction City.
  • Flat as a Pancake – is a popular phrase which means something is completely flat. This phrase is often associated with Kansas and sometimes people say Kansas is flatter than a pancake. Ironically, researchers proved not long ago that Kansas actually IS flatter than a pancake. A pancake was measured to have a flatness value of 0.957, while Kansas has a level of 0.9997. 
  • Carry on my Wayward Son is a song written by the band, Kansas in 1976. Kansas was formed in Topeka, KS and has many hit songs and records.
  • The man “behind the curtain” is a reference to the Wizard, who hides behind the curtain in The Wizard of Oz, which of course this article references many times! Thanks for reading if you’ve made it this far!
“Follow the Yellow Brick Road”
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