Somerville Bank to relocate to former PCAA site


Preble Arts sees sell of property as “monumental”

R-H Staff



After much discussion in recent years, the Preble County Art Association (Preble Arts) closes 2021 announcing the recent sale of its property located at 601 Hillcrest Drive in Eaton, to Somerville Bank. According to officials, the bank will develop a branch operation at the site and will provide a gallery for Preble Arts to exhibit local artists’ work.

After much discussion in recent years, the Preble County Art Association (Preble Arts) closes 2021 announcing the recent sale of its property located at 601 Hillcrest Drive in Eaton, to Somerville Bank. According to officials, the bank will develop a branch operation at the site and will provide a gallery for Preble Arts to exhibit local artists’ work.


After much discussion in recent years, the Preble County Art Association (Preble Arts) closes 2021 announcing the recent sale of its property located at 601 Hillcrest Drive in Eaton, to Somerville Bank. According to officials, the bank will develop a branch operation at the site and will provide a gallery for Preble Arts to exhibit local artists’ work.


EATON — After much discussion in recent years, the Preble County Art Association (Preble Arts) closes 2021 announcing the recent sale of its property located at 601 Hillcrest Drive in Eaton, to Somerville Bank.

According to officials, the bank will develop a branch operation at the site and will provide a gallery for Preble Arts to exhibit local artists’ work.

The sale is historic for Preble Arts, according to PCAA Executive Director Claudia Edwards. The Hillcrest location was Preble Arts’ first free-standing facility. The very first Preble Arts location was destroyed on April 1, 1987, when the St. Clair Building in downtown Eaton was leveled by fire. Board members at that time raised funds to construct the Hillcrest facility on land leased from the Preble County Commissioners, and the grand opening was held on Oct. 13, 1990.

After Preble Arts conducted an extensive strategic planning process, the association decided to move back to downtown Eaton, to increase visibility and provide easier access to the entire county. After a successful community fundraising campaign, Preble Arts opened its new center at 207 East Main Street in Eaton in July 2019 with almost 15,000 square feet of usable space. The new Preble Arts features a state-of-the-art ceramics studio with access to a courtyard, a large youth studio for classes and camps, a music studio, a studio for adults, a fibers studio, a photography studio with a dark room and a lab.

In 2021 the Preble County Commissioners put the acreage under the Hillcrest building up for bid, and Preble Arts was able to purchase the land and eventually sell the entire package of land and building to Somerville Bank under the leadership of Edwards.

“I am pleased to see that the property is going to such a caliber of bank as Somerville, and I am looking forward to collaborating with Mr. Paul Taylor and the entire staff. I have no doubt they will enhance our community and do great things here” Edwards said.

According to Edwards, the sale of the Hillcrest property is monumental in many ways. It has enabled Preble Arts to pay off its mortgage on the East Main facility and to enter a period of programs expansion including the creation of a graphic design lab for classes and access to members with a “library concept;” and reaching out to new constituents and communities in the area.

“My hope for the Graphic Design Lab is not only to offer classes to youth and adults, but to also create an opportunity for students who have completed classes, to generate supplemental income from the Preble Arts graphic design lab. Preble Arts is more than just an Art Center. I see Preble Arts as a source of support to so many in the community and a boost to the local economy,” Edwards added.

“Somerville Bank would like to thank the Preble County Arts Association and Claudia Edwards, Executive Director, for the opportunity to purchase their former headquarters located at 601 Hillcrest Drive, Eaton,” Somerville Bank officials said in a press release last week. “Somerville Bank’s growth over the past several years has caused the board of directors and senior management to search for additional office space. This location on Hillcrest Drive will provide the bank with the needed office space for loan administration, branch retail operations, loan officers, senior executive officers and a board/conference room.”

According to the release, Somerville Bank was chartered in 1910 as a national bank with the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. The bank has grown from its one room bank office in Somerville, to seven retail branch locations in Butler, Montgomery and Preble Counties in Ohio and one mortgage loan center in Richmond, Indiana. As of January 1, 2018, the shareholders of the bank elected to change the bank’s charter from a national charter to a state charter and form a holding company, Somerville Bancorp.

“Somerville Bank is a full service bank, offering all types of deposit products (i.e. checking accounts, savings accounts, certificates of deposits, Money Markets, etc.) and loan products, specializing in agricultural, commercial and mortgage loans. The bank has several ATMs available in our market area including two remote machines located in Camden and the Kettering Medical Center in Eaton,” Somerville Bank President/CEO Paul Taylor said in the release.

Somerville Bancorp’s current board of directors includes Donald Baker, Michael Besecker, William (Bill) Brower, Wilfrid (Bill) Dues (Chairman,) Jodie Hunsucker, John Muncy, Donald Pollock, Melanie Stone, Taylor, and Douglas C. Ulrich. The bank’s executive team is made up of Taylor, Jodie Hunsucker (Executive Vice President,) David Douglas Ulrich (Senior Vice President and Chief Lending Officer,) and Douglas C. Ulrich (Investment Officer.)

After much discussion in recent years, the Preble County Art Association (Preble Arts) closes 2021 announcing the recent sale of its property located at 601 Hillcrest Drive in Eaton, to Somerville Bank. According to officials, the bank will develop a branch operation at the site and will provide a gallery for Preble Arts to exhibit local artists’ work.
https://www.registerherald.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/41/2021/12/web1_somerville1.jpgAfter much discussion in recent years, the Preble County Art Association (Preble Arts) closes 2021 announcing the recent sale of its property located at 601 Hillcrest Drive in Eaton, to Somerville Bank. According to officials, the bank will develop a branch operation at the site and will provide a gallery for Preble Arts to exhibit local artists’ work.

After much discussion in recent years, the Preble County Art Association (Preble Arts) closes 2021 announcing the recent sale of its property located at 601 Hillcrest Drive in Eaton, to Somerville Bank. According to officials, the bank will develop a branch operation at the site and will provide a gallery for Preble Arts to exhibit local artists’ work.
https://www.registerherald.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/41/2021/12/web1_somerville2.jpgAfter much discussion in recent years, the Preble County Art Association (Preble Arts) closes 2021 announcing the recent sale of its property located at 601 Hillcrest Drive in Eaton, to Somerville Bank. According to officials, the bank will develop a branch operation at the site and will provide a gallery for Preble Arts to exhibit local artists’ work.
Preble Arts sees sell of property as “monumental”

R-H Staff