GIRARD — Girard is known for printing “Little Blue Books,” and The Appeal to Reason, along with being the first airplane factory in the Midwest.

Girard National Bank is also part of Girard’s history.

It was opened February 25, 1918 by a group of 116 local farmers, ranchers and minors — the original stockholders.

Over the years, the bank helped farmers, businesses and community with their first fields, buildings and homes.

On Sunday, the bank celebrated its 100 years with a name change and a special book, “Girard, a Great Place to Call Home,” designed by Alex Battitori and Samantha Guy.  

“It’s to commemorate 150 years of Girard and 100 years of the bank,” President CEO of GNBank Mark Schifferdecker said. “It’s our gift to the community.”

Schifferdecker praised Battitori and Guy for their hard work.

“They worked very, very hard for us to make the book,” he said.

Guy said it was very humbling to help create the book, Battitori agreed and they both thanked the bank for trusting them to take on the task. People can call or stop by the bank to sign up for a free copy.

This is the second edition, the first “A Window to the Past. Celebrating Eighty Years in Girard, Kansas” made in 1998, an idea of Martin Schifferdecker for the 80th anniversary of the bank.

The new name — GNBank — is to connect all the branches the bank has acquired over the years, which include 14 communities in Kansas and southeastern Colorado, President CEO of GNBank Mark Schifferdecker said. This includes University Bank in Pittsburg, Arma, and Galena which were purchased by Girard National Bank in 2015.

For Schifferdecker, the bank holds a special place in is heart as his grandfather Earl Schifferdecker started working there in 1923 when he was 19 years old, straight out of business school and Earl’s son, the late Martin Schifferdecker also worked there.

“My dad was here, Martin, I’m third generation,” Schifferdecker said.

He’s not the only one who has family connections, he said.

“We have a lot of customers that are second generation, third generation,” Schifferdecker said.

Schifferdecker said hearing their stories over from over the years is what the bank is about, watching the community grow and prospers.

For example, during the celebration a woman told Schifferdecker that his grandfather gave her husband his start in farming in 1960.

“It’s those stories where people say they came to the bank, and say, my grandpa, my dad or whoever helped them get started in farming or their business or even personal things such as their first home,” Schifferdecker said. “That’s what we really love to hear, the bank was able to help them get to where they are today.”

GNBank will host a cookout, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday, next to the bank in Girard. The public is welcome to attend.

— Stephanie Potter is a staff writer at the Morning Sun. She can be emailed at or follow her on Twitter @PittStephP and Instagram @stephanie_morningsun.