In 1850 America was young. Europeans were flooding the land of opportunity. The dollar had authority with butter at .15 cents a pound. People in both the North and South were wishfully thinking that compromise would solve the slavery question. Baseball was fast becoming the national pastime; Jenny Lind was on the lips of the “Four Hundred” gathered at Saratoga and Newport.
In 1850, the one commercial bank in town was the Litchfield branch of the Phoenix Bank of Hartford, later known as The First National Bank of Litchfield. The first incorporators of Litchfield Savings Society were aware of the New America. Acutely aware of the small reservoirs of savings hidden under Litchfield mattresses, in socks and other secret spots – they decided to pool their savings and participate in the growth of the country. The Founders were men of experience. Three of the officers of the original bank had connections to the Litchfield Branch of the Phoenix Bank of Hartford. The two banks shared the same building for 64 years until the Society built their own structure between the First National Bank of Litchfield and the historic Litchfield County Jail.
The new office had one paid employee, the Secretary-Treasurer, who alone transacted the business of the day. The only other active official for the first 50 years was one of the directors, appointed as “Loan Agent”, handling all personal loans.
Thomas L. Saltonstall made the initial deposit on July 23, 1850 in the amount of $200 one month before any advertising was done by the Society in the two local papers – the Enquirer and the Republican.
Our Lakeville branch opened for business on February 28, 1972 in the Valentine Building on North Main Street and moved to its present location on November 4, 1974. The house, which we call our Lakeville Office home, and formerly known as the “Bissell House” was owned by Dr. William Bissell who lived there with his family. Locals knew Bissell, born in Litchfield in March of 1830, as the “Old Doctor”, to distinguish him from his son “Dr. Will”. Bissell moved his family to Lakeville in 1856, in 1872 he purchased the corner house lot on Main Street and Pettee Street from William Pettee. After a two year building delay, their new home was completed in 1873. From that time on, the building served as his medical office and home until his death in 1919. Mary Bissell, the only daughter and youngest child of Dr. Bissell was born in the house in 1881 and died there in April of 1971.
Litchfield Bancorp purchased the Bissell home in 1974 and officially reopened for business on November 4, 1974. We remain there to this day. Litchfield Bancorp has been proud to be a part of the Lakeville community and look forward to many more years to come.