Bank Robbery at the Old Schoolhouse

Back in the Spring of 1968, Centerville was a quiet, small town with two-lane roads passing through the center going north and south, and east and west.  There was little apparent to the casual observer to show it was changing from a farm community to a suburb.  Only the opening in 1957 of its first bank, a branch of the First National Bank of Miamisburg in the remodeled old Schoolhouse No. 5, indicated things were stirring in the community.  The small rectangular, red brick bank building, still showing many of its past school house characteristics, stood next to Gerber's overgrown orchard.  Casey's Pure Station was on the north side of the bank occupying the corner of Bradstreet and N. Main Street.  Across the road, Hill's Pills, the only drug store in the village, had a few cars parked out in front.  A barber shop and paint store along with Hill's Pills occupied Centerville's first strip shopping center.  Adam Zengel's new plat of homes was situated on Maple Street behind the bank and Gerber's nine acres.  Maple Street ran past C.L. Stingley Elementary School.  Children were noisily enjoying lunch recess on their playground.  The bank's parking lot at the back of the building was accessible by a drive on both sides of the bank.  This parking lot was separated from the Zengel plat of attractive Cape Cod homes by a fence and trees.  On the south side was Gerber's orchard, which was covered with scrub bushes and vines.  The bank was Centerville's first in its 172 year history and testified to its rapidly increasing growth and new prosperity.  Before 1957 the local farmers and merchants had always banked in Miamisburg or downtown Dayton.