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furley bank vault

Furley Bank Vault

Location Class:
Built: 1911 | Abandoned: 1960s
Status: Endangered
Photojournalist: Fred Plummer

The small town of Furley Kansas was sitting at a population of 200 in 1911. Gene Merrill felt the city was in need of a bank and decided to be the head organizer for an institution. With help from investors and businessmen from Wichita, the capital stock was $10,000 and fully paid up. F.W. Sanders, a prominent farmer in Furley became president with Gene Merrill as the cashier.

A one-story brick building fitted with oak and tile floors, pictures and a plate glass front was under construction with the expectation of being finished in the summer of 1911. This would become known as the Furley State Bank and even though it was a small town it would not be an exception for the rise in bank robberies throughout the 1920s.

The Wichita Eagle July 3, 1922 – Well laid plans of bank robbers to loot the Furley State Bank…early Sunday morning were thwarted by the timely arrival of Sheriff Doug Simmons and deputies, according to information at the county jail Sunday.

Responding to a call from a farmer near Furley that he saw some men cutting the telephone wires south of the town, Sheriff Simmons, Frank Fisher, undersheriff and Frank Boone, George Calrk, and Elmer Wilkerson deputies hurried to the township. Investigation revealed Sheriff Simmons said that telephone wires east, as well as south of the city, had been cut also evidently by highwaymen who planned to rob the Furley State Bank.

Sheriff Simmons and his officers remained until daylight on the outskirts of the town but the robbers departed without carrying out their plans. The sheriff is of the opinion a lookout for the bandits saw his car and notified his companions whereupon they departed. Residents of Furley reported to Sheriff Simmons that they noticed four men in a high-powered motor car drive through the town several times Saturday afternoon.

Furley Bank Vault
Furley Bank ca. 1968 Credit: Vintage Aerial

The bank fell abandoned and sat neglected for over two decades becoming further and further deteriorated. Per the picture above of the bank in 1968, it was already well into abandonment. After no plan to save the bank came forward it was demolished in the 1980s and all but the bank vault was destroyed. Still, in existence today are the tile floors and a lonely vault that holds nothing but history and stories on a lonely corner in Furley, Kansas.






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Emily Cowan

Emily is a two-time published author of "Abandoned Oklahoma: Vanishing History of the Sooner State" and "Abandoned Topeka: Psychiatric Capital of the World". With over two hundred published articles on our websites. Exploring since 2018 every aspect of this has become a passion for her. From educating, fighting to preserve, writing, and learning about history there is nothing she would rather do.

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