Saturday, February 26, 2011

Exploring My Neighborhood: America's Credit Union Museum

A few days ago I visited America's Credit Union Museum, located a few blocks from my home. The museum is a house built around the turn of 20th century and used as headquarters for the first credit union in the United States. Apparently, some lawyer opened the credit union in 1907 with a little help and advice from a Canadian credit union pioneer and a local priest.

The lawyer ran the operation in the evenings for no pay. The idea was to pool money from local working class community members and use the pool as a small loan fund. The idea worked like a charm clear through the Great Depression, during which three thousand banks failed but not one single solitary credit union failed.
I entered the museum during normal hours through an unlocked door, but nobody was there to greet me. The whole place was just wide open and unattended for any bum to wander into. I even had to flip a couple of light switches. I had ithe place all to myself and took full advantage of my time there, exploring every room and inspecting every exhibit.

It's a pretty nice museum stocked with period pieces like a piano, antique cash register, and the original desk and chairs at which the nice lawyer dude met with loan applicants. Many of the original documents legally recognizing the credit union are framed on the walls, along with plenty of placards humanizing the history of credit unions in the States.

Pretty momentous stuff if you're a complete and total nerd for niche historical museums. I enjoyed haunting the house all alone with my camera. Have a look at the photos if that's your cuppa joe. I threw in a map, too.

You're most welcome.


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