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Encyclopedia Dubuque


"Encyclopedia Dubuque is the online authority for all things Dubuque, written by the people who know the city best.”
Marshall Cohen—researcher and producer, CNN

Affiliated with the Local History Network of the State Historical Society of Iowa, and the Iowa Museum Association.


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Bank Holiday

BANK HOLIDAY. The term "bank holiday" referred to the forced closing of the nation's banks in response to the more than 5,100 bank failures between 1930 and 1932 during the Great Depression.

On Saturday, March 4, 1933, Iowa Lt. Governor Nelson Kraschel ordered the start of a bank holiday. FIRST NATIONAL BANK OF DUBUQUE and AMERICAN TRUST AND SAVINGS BANK announced they would be closed on March 6. When the day came, the banks opened from 9:30 to 10:30a.m. to provide change for merchants. In one hour, the two banks distributed $20,000 in coins.

Area banks, opened for limited business on March 7, allowed money deposited to be withdrawn without restrictions. First National received more than $45,000. On March 8, Lt. Governor Kraschel again announced a complete closing of all banks. First National, a nationally chartered bank that announced it would remain open until ordered closed by the United States treasury secretary, was the only bank in Iowa open for business that day.

On March 9, Congress quickly passed laws allowing banks to reopen and outlawed the private ownership of GOLD. On Monday, March 13, Dubuque banks were again in operation.