Newspaper photograph of one of several automobiles parked near the First State Bank during the robbery. This auto was in the line of fire and was hit repeatedly.
The First State Bank got its start at the turn of the 20th century (Holland Sentinel, 6-5-1972). For many years it was located in Holland, MI at 1-3 west 8th Street, on the northwest corner of west 8th and Central Ave (1908, 1921, 1934 city directories). In 1936 it merged with the Holland City State Bank to become the Holland State Bank (Holland Sentinel, 6-5-1972). The Holland State Bank remained in the building at 1-3 west 8th.
The First State Bank is, perhaps, best known for being robbed. On the morning of Thursday, September 29, 1932 five or six bandits entered the First State Bank through the front door. They grabbed an estimated $12,000 from the bank vault and cash trays before shooting their way out. Hundreds of bullets were exchanged, wounding Holland Police Chief Peter A. Lievense (1886-1962). Peter De Jongh (1877-1944), a resident of Holland, was also wounded.
Cornelius Vander Meulen was lead cashier at the First State Bank in 1932. Wm. J. Westveer and A.A. Nienhuis were assistant cashiers. Westveer opened the vault for the bandits. Both Vander Meulen and Westveer were struck in the head by the bandits.
The bandits got away by driving down 7th Street to Lincoln before turning east onto 16th Street. One car chased them as far as Burnips before the bandits got away.