Enumclaw National Bank Building: Enumclaw Landmark

  • By William Kombol
  • Posted 4/25/2017
  • HistoryLink.org Essay 20339

The Enumclaw National Bank building at 1602 Cole Street in downtown Enumclaw was designated a landmark by King County in 2016. Built in 1923, the stately building housed a cobbler, as well as professional offices and later small apartments, after its namesake bank failed during the Depression. This People's History of the building was adapted by Bill Kombol from his December 11, 2016, "When Coal Was King" column in the Voice of the Valley. Kombol's grandfather, John H. Morris, owned the building from 1945 to 1964, and his father and mother, Jack and Pauline Kombol, owned it from 1964 until 1983.

Enumclaw National Bank Building

The Enumclaw National Bank building was constructed in 1923 for $20,600 by J. C. Jenson, prime contractor, while Price Lee installed plumbing, and T. T. Tiggs completed the wiring. The bank had been founded in 1910 as People's State Bank by Byron R. Kibler, J. W. Davis, S. L. Sorensen and others, to compete with the nearby First National Bank of Enumclaw. People's was renamed Enumclaw National Bank in 1922, and a year later had a new home in the building named for it. The bank failed in the midst of the Great Depression of the 1930s, as did 9,000 others across the country. Fortunately for depositors, rival First National Bank agreed to assume all of Enumclaw National's debt and liabilities, saving countless Enumclaw businesses and citizens from potential financial ruin.

After the bank's failure in 1932, Steve Polenus, a cobbler, moved his Steve's Shoe Service business into the main space previously occupied by the bank. Doctors, dentists, and other professionals occupied the second-story office spaces. Notable tenants included attorney Byron Kibler; W. W. Wick, M.D.; Leo A. de Merchant, M.D.; Mary Agnes Deneen, D.C.; and Dr. Paul H. McKinnon, dentist. In the late 1960s, the professional offices were converted to small apartments with shared bathrooms in the hallway.

Like many buildings of the era the Enumclaw National Bank building was heated by a coal stoker located in the basement, with a boiler circulating steam to radiators throughout the building. Interestingly, the street that the building faced was originally known as Coal Street but later renamed Cole. In his youth in the years before natural gas replaced coal heat in the early 1970s, Bill Kombol (the author of this People's History) was responsible for daily filling the coal stoker in the building and taking out the ashes.

Since 2001 Peggy and Toby Wenham have owned the Enumclaw National Bank building, operating Almost Necessities, a gift shop, in the larger space on Cole Street, and Sweet Necessities, a coffee, tea, and confectionary, in the smaller space facing Griffin Avenue. The stately building at the corner of Griffin and Cole in downtown Enumclaw was designated a landmark by King County in 2016.


King County Assessor Records for tax parcel 236180-0030; King County Landmark Nomination form -- Enumclaw National Bank, September 26, 2016, King County Historic Preservation Program; Enumclaw Directory, 1944; Enumclaw Directory, August 1937; John Anderson, "A History of Banking in Enumclaw," Enumclaw Patch, June 18, 2013 (https://patch.com/washington/enumclaw/pictures-for-a-history-of-enumclaw-banking); "When Coal Was King: Corner of Griffin and Cole in Downtown Enumclaw," Voice of the Valley, December 11, 2016 (http://voiceofthevalley.com/2016/12/11/corner-griffin-cole-downtown-enumclaw/).

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