Does Santa Exist at Bailey Bros. Building and Loan in Martin City?

Story told by Bailey Bros Building and Loan owner, Patrick J. Cocherl Jr.

I stood in front of the Martin City State Bank 8 years ago wondering what I was going to do with the place when it finally dawned on me. I was staring at sheetrock, old carpeting, and a tattered drop ceiling and thought, “sure as there is brick on the outside of the building, there must be brick on the inside of the building too.”

I had my contractor knock a hole in the wall and of course, there they were… 100-year-old bricks that once encapsulated a place of commerce established in 1909. We tore it all down. Under the sheetrock walls, was a layer of plaster and after a week of chipping and power washing, I saw the vision of 100 years ago, and the necessity to preserve the history.

As we uncovered the hidden gems beneath the years of other restorations, we found bricked in windows that covered the original window units, a domed vault, a chimney flue and the piece that most supported our finding of buried treasure… a 100 year old tattered and worn sign made out of wood that read “Martin City State Bank”. We hired a historian/collector to help us date the building and furnish it with pieces from the time. He asked me, “So, what are you going to call it? Pat’s Bank?” Although that had a nice ring to it, it didn’t take me long to choose a name that was special to me.

Christmas is my favorite time of the year, it always has been. The joy of giving and the magic of children give me energy every December. The spirit of the season that brings out the best in people has always left a powerful impression on me. In the movie” It’s A Wonderful Life” George Bailey has dreams and aspirations of BIG things. He is going to sail the seas, see the world and build cities. However, a call to be more selfless and stay in his hometown to continue the work of his father, which was to help other people get what they want, became his life’s work. Thus, I named the building, Bailey Bros.

However, a call to be more selfless and stay in his hometown to continue the work of his father, which was to help other people get what they want, became his life’s work. Thus, I named the building, Bailey Bros. Building & Loan in memory of that idea, and to honor the movie that has always heightened my sense of the true meaning of Christmas.

As you walk by the Building and Loan this year, I hope you enjoy the Christmas scene we have set up. Christmas has a deep meaning and pure magic and as I said earlier, the magic of childhood is what truly brings this season to life. The toys, the wonder, the mystique..they have all perpetuated my belief that Santa Claus DOES exist.

I grew up in the 50’s and the scenes from the classic “A Christmas Story” have always brought me back to my youth. Though we have the bank restored to a historic look from the early 1900’s, the wonder of a 1950’s Christmas scene is something we always like to set up in our space. In a time of video games and cell phones dominate, we hope all can appreciate a simpler time when toys and imagination ruled a child’s mind.

Yours in the Christmas Spirit,
Patrick J. Cocherl Jr.