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Lost Huntington: Guaranty Bank

April 1, 2019 GMT

Editor’s Note: This is the 281st in a series of articles recalling vanished Huntington scenes.

HUNTINGTON — Huntington businessman D. Sterling Diddle (1896-1980) was chairman of the board and founder of both the Guaranty National Bank of Huntington and Huntington Steel and Supply Co.

He and his father, James A. Diddle, founded Huntington Boiler and Supply in 1904. The name was later changed to Huntington Steel and Supply. He founded the Guaranty Bank and Trust Co. in 1939. The bank became the Guaranty National Bank in 1954.

That same year saw the bank move from its original quarters in the Chafin Building at 517 9th St. to a new location just around the corner, in a new building erected at 919 5th Ave.

Guaranty took pride in the fact its new building was designed so it could be expanded in future years.

In 1959, an adjacent house was acquired and razed to make way for additional drive-in windows and a larger parking lot. In 1978, the bank dedicated a $2 million expansion, which more than doubled the size of the existing building.

When Guaranty first opened its doors in 1939 it had assets of $500,000. By 1978, its assets had grown to $100 million. By 1988, when its assets had grown to $140 million, Guaranty merged with the Charleston-based National Banc of Commerce, one of the state’s largest bank holding companies. In 1991, the bank changed its name to Commerce Bank.

Commerce Bank became Huntington Banks when it was purchased by Huntington Bancshares in 1993. Huntington Banks was not named for the city of Huntington and did not originate here.

It opened in 1866 in Columbus, Ohio, as W. Huntington & Company. In 1905, it was incorporated as the Huntington National Bank of Columbus.