"The best years of service are before them, and they are more than ever in a position to meet any needs of their customers."
- Lismore Free Press; December 1st, 1925 -

An impressive history parallels the activities of the State Bank of Lismore, now in its 101st year of business.  Some of the earlier memorabilia includes the original alarm system, clock, posting machine, interest calculator, old oak office furniture, all refinished, including a standup desk, telephone, file cabinet and work tables, as well as earlier history and pictures.  All of this can be viewed in the bank’s museum located in the bank’s lower level.

When the Rock Island Railroad, Burlington Line, chose to lay track for new townsites in 1899, the northwestern Nobles County site of Lismore began to grow in earnest.

Pioneer businessman, Emil Graf, Senior and A.J. Rice, were predominant among those who developed the town site and organized the State Bank of Lismore in 1900.

Leo, Marvin and R.R. Sell

Winnie, Marlus Johnson, R.R. Sell
and Marv Loosbrock


State Bank of Lismore in 1910

Emil Graf, Sr. had lived in Stein-on-the-Rhine, Switzerland for ten years, one of two children of John J. and Margaret (Strasser) Graf.  He was born March 22, 1839.  In April of 1849 the family left Germany and set sail from France for “the new world”.  They arrived in New Orleans in 34 days, and settled in the St. Louis area.  In June 1850, the family decided to relocate in Minnesota territory.  After his discharge from the First Minnesota Regiment, where he had served between 1861 and 1864, and his marriage to Frederica Zeb of Philadelphia, the family homesteaded in Wilmont Township in 1879.  They eventually took up residency in the Village of Lismore in 1900, where Mr. Graf was one of the active founders of the town.

A.J. Rice was born August 28, 1856, a descendent of the American branch of the Rice Family who were among the early settlers.  Of Scotch-Irish ancestry on his mother’s side his boyhood days were spent on a farm near Whitesville in Allegheny County, New York.  He attended school there and learned the pharmaceutical trade.  At the age of 20 Mr. Rice came to Nobles County arriving in Worthington in September 1876.  After one year he moved to Adrian where he opened a drug store and later engaged in the real estate business.  He was active in county affairs and served a four-year term as County Commissioner.  During these years Mr. Rice resided in Adrian but worked energetically for the development of the western end of Nobles County.

Doing private banking business in an office of the Ramage Lumber Company on the east side of Main Street in Lismore in September of 1900, the organizers of the bank received their charter on December 11, 1900 and began doing business as “State Bank of Lismore”.  In 1901 they moved to a new location (later known as the site of Hebig Hardware)

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