Looking Back at First National History - Commercials, Photos from its Glory Days
More thoughts on First National Center closing....
It is a sad irony the closing is occurring 30 years after the closing of First National Bank. For those who are too young or didn't live in Oklahoma City, the bank's closing on July 15, 1986 was devastating. First National Bank was the bedrock of the community. We never thought it would go away. It's permanence was represented in the grandeur of its home, especially in the Great Banking Hall.
Oklahoma City was hit hard by the start of the oil bust and the collapse of Penn Square Bank in 1982. But we thought we'd pull through. It felt like Oklahoma City collectively lost all hope when First National failed in 1986. If it could fail, nothing was safe. And indeed, it took some amazing leadership with Ron Norick to pull Oklahoma City out of its economic depression.
That story, of course, is the story of MAPS. But my thoughts tonight are on First National. Be sure to enjoy the commercials at the top of this post. And here are some of my favorite historic photos of its heyday (all courtesy of the Oklahoma Historical Society):