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Gridley Herald

A Look at History

Apr 17, 2024 04:19PM ● By John Raspanti
The Rideout Bank building still stands proudly in historical downtown Gridley. Photo by John Raspanti

GRIDLEY, CA (MPG) - Ancient but proud, the elegant 124-year-old building stands quietly on Hazel Street in downtown Gridley. Reddish window frames and green pillars rise to a peaked roof where one can see the year the Rideout Bank opened for business.

The bank bears the name of its founder, Norman Rideout, who would also open establishments in Marysville, Oroville, Willows, Chico, Sacramento, and San Francisco. 

After Rideout’s passing in 1907, his widow, Phoebe, administered the banks. E.E. “Ed” Biggs, who had been with Rideout since 1885, was the manager. Well-liked and known for his generosity, Biggs worked long hours, his office light shining into the night.

On August 1, 1910, Biggs appeared before the board of trustees of Gridley to ask for a permit to build a bank on Hazel Street. The vote was unanimous.

Gridley resident Pleasant Perkins applied for a job at the bank soon after it opened. Known for his “can-do” attitude and affable personality, Perkins worked at the bank for the next twenty years.

Many changes have occurred inside the bank since Biggs and Perkins worked there. The marble baseboards, ornate wood counters, and tellers’ cages with glass panels have long since disappeared. Reportedly, the original title lives on.

The Bank of Italy took over the location in 1921, then the Bank of America of Gridley from 1936 to 1963. Later occupants included a teen community center, the local chamber of commerce, an architect, and McDowell Printing. 

Nowadays, peering through the old front window reveals a hodgepodge of shelves, boxes, and a lone soul reclining in a chair.

At dusk, time can stop as one stands and thinks of all the people who passed through the wood frame doors.

History lives on.