Third Cook Bank: Curtis-Ish  [formerly Charles S Sprague Co & Registration Trust Co.] 

Cook Bank Goldfield Check

J Emmett Walsh (signature) was an early Esmeralda County Supervisor and the building that appears on this check is the first Nixon Block which did not include the Ish building, and burned down in 1923. That block housed the second John S Cook Bank in Goldfield. The similarity in design of the two blocks has caused great confusion to researchers over the years.  The Cook Bank was eventually owned by George Wingfield and it finally failed in 1932 after a run on the bank.  Wingfield estimated that one million dollars in coin would have kept all of his Nevada banks open but the National Relief was stretched to the limit and previous losses in the Nevada cattle industry came at a very inopportune time for Wingfield's banks, making the demand for relief immediate; therefore the Depression hit the gambler state of Nevada particularly hard. 

 Third Cook Bank & Curtis-Ish Building of Goldfield Nevada

Interior of the Charles S. Sprague Co. offices (Curtis-Ish building)  

Frank Ish was a financier with interests in mining stocks, and Nevada bankers Curtis and Milton Ish financed construction of the east portion of the building in the picture below which housed the third Cook Bank by approximately 1912.  Shown above is the interior view of the Charles S Sprague mining stock brokerage and vault room ca. 1910.  When sell orders were placed for mining stocks then the stock itself was held as collateral on the order - the gentleman in the foreground is evidently examining a mining stock. 

This building was also referred to as the "sub-treasury" in a business directory of the time. It is believed that money and stocks were deposited in the vaults and the United States Trust Company also operated here.  The United States Trust was a trust company that also bought, sold and registered stocks in an unregulated fashion here, as was the practice in 1907.  This building is presently under restoration.    

Curtis-Ish building under restoration today: this was once a beautiful and proud building, as was all of Goldfield 

Photos inside courtesy Angela Haag & Steve Cramer


These vaults are located on the ground floor of the Ish building and the structure of the building began once the vault doors were already in place. Postcards from 1909 indicate that the building was occupied by the Charles S Sprague Mining Stock Brokerage and the Registration Trust Company at the time.

Ish Bank Vault doors: the doors weigh 5000 pounds each!

The vault inner doors are totally original and they are outlined in gold leaf.


Bank Vaults  Yesterday and Today

 View of the 3rd Cook Bank right-hand vault 2001:

The Ish vault room as it appeared in 2001 before restoration by the present owners - not shown in this view is a staircase at right that can be seen in the Sprague photo. Sprague probably had an office somewhere in the building and used a view of this room for his own promotional purposes.  The building is rumored to be haunted by the ghost of an unmarried pregnant woman who was killed by a much older manager (who got her that way) to avoid a scandal.

Charles S Sprague on his pony outside of the American Express building -  the American Express building was due south of the Goldfield Hotel on Crook Street and was destroyed by fire in 1923. 

Another vault in the basement proper of the Ish building 

This vault was just discovered in the basement of the building - it is difficult to read the name of the bank that is painted on the top sill of the vault - the only two legible words:  'United' as the first word and 'Trust' near the end - this undoubtedly relates to the United States Trust Co; the company operated in this building in 1910.

Panic of 1907!