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History of the Laugenour Banking Company Vault

Road 89A, Dunnigan, Yolo County, California



The man who built the vault:

Henry Watkins Laugenour

Henry Watkins Laugenour was born in 1869 - Dunnigan, California. He was the second son of Yolo County pioneer, John D. Laugenour. His Mother was Emma C. Watkins.

He was an active member of the business community, holding political office at a young age, and serving as the second postmaster in Dunnigan after Anthony W. Dunnigan (the town founder). Henry Laugenour began many businesses in Northern California including: The Woodland Woolen Company around 1900, and even a cartoon studio in Chico, California in the 1920s.

In 1890, Henry W. Laugenour constructed a new store building on Main Street, Dunnigan. The back portion of the new building contained a 2 foot thick, arch top, brick dead-air vault. The vault was to establish Dunnigan's first savings bank.

The same year in Woodland, California: A sister vault was also erected of the same size, design, and composition. That sister vault is located within a building once owned by a Doctor in Old Town Woodland.

The vault walls are approximately 2 feet thick stacked brick. The extra layers of bricks were intended to withstand TNT as long as possible. It is assumed that the vault door was manufactured by the Diebold Company {Est. 1876}. Diebold introduced the first manganese steel vault doors in 1890, that were billed as TNT-proof.


In late 1892, Henry W. Laugenour traded his store, (known as: Laugenour and Company); for his brother's Woodland home. Both properties were valued at $15,000.

Henry W. Laugenour's older brother was Phillip T. Laugenour. Better known as P.T., or Phil.

P.T. changed the name of the store to P.T. Laugenour General Merchandise (as seen in the photo above).

Phillip T. Laugenour was a well known Yolo County banker and Colusa County cattleman.

He is noted in Yolo and Colusa County histories. He was the President of the Winters Savings Bank in Winters, CA - and one of the founders. He was also a founding member of the Woodland Elks Lodge.

P.T. Laugenour and his wife, Kate (Jones) Laugenour, were also historically known for their land contribution allowing for the Dunnigan Union Church to be built in the 1890s. P.T. Laugenour was also the President of the Dunnigan Union Church Committee. And was even the postmaster for Bartlett Springs later in his life.

March of 1898: Tragedy struck the town of Dunnigan..

1898 Dunnigan Fire SFCall

The fire threatened all of the businesses on the north side of Main Street Dunnigan. The P.T. Langenour store was the only one unable to be saved.

Today, the vault and church are left as historical landmarks of a much different time in Dunnigan. They are both now over 120 years old.


Woodland Daily Democrat 1890s Newspaper Clips:

August 19, 1890 "This will make the finest store in town"

October 8, 1891 "...a new bank with a capital of $100,000.."

November 25, 1891 "...has put in a vault as large as any of the bank vaults.."

December 16, 1891 "Plumbers are at work putting in the gas and water pipes.."

December 19, 1891"...will begin business January 15, 1892"

February 9, 1892 "...Banking establishment opened Monday..."

August 1892 "Real Estate Transfers"

September 9, 1892"...transferred to P.T. Laugenour"



Henry W. Laugenour Find-A-Grave Memorial

Daughter of H.W.Laugenour Swims Across Golden Gate

Historic Dunnigan (By P.B. Perazzo)

1879 Dunnigan Area Lot Map

1908 Dunnigan Area Lot Map


Please note that the bank vault is located on private property. Trespassing is prohibited. Street side viewing/photography allowed. The vault is located on ROAD 89A. First Left off of Main Street.

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