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The Bank Vault of Dunnigan, Yolo County, California


Established 1892

About the Founder:

Henry Watkins Laugenour was born on the 5th of August, 1869 near the northern Yolo County town of Dunnigan, California. He was the second son of notable Yolo County pioneer, John D. Laugenour. His Mother was Emma C. Watkins.

Bio of John D. Laugenour 1823 - 1891

Henry married Sarah Watkins in 1885. They had two children. A daughter named Hazel Bess Laugenour (1889-1960) and a son named John D. Laugenour (1891-1904).

Around 1888, Henry W. Laugenour began his first mercantile store in Woodland, California. The establishment was known as Laugenour and Company.

Henry Watkins Laugenour

{Interesting Fact} Henry's Father, J.D.Laugenour, gave his son $2000 when he was 13 years old to start his first business. Henry chose to begin a book store. It didn't boom, but it set out his interest in building a business that would become established.

Shortly thereafter, Henry saw potential for business and banking in his native town of Dunnigan, California. By 1890, Henry had a building standing on Main Street. He closed up his mercantile in Woodland, and moved his entire stock of merchandise to the new Laugenour and Company building in Dunnigan. The transportation of goods occurred by railroad. The following year, 1891; The Laugenour and Company mercantile was noted in the Woodland Daily Democrat for having the largest stock of goods in Northern California.

Business boomed immediately. Henry W. Laugenour soon saw opportunity to expand upon The Laugenour and Company building. He had a 60 foot expansion built onto the rear of the establishment. Within the new portion of the building would stand the first and only bank ever built in Dunnigan, California.

{Interesting Fact} The metal vault door was built by the Diebold Safe and Lock Company.

January 15, 1892 The Laugenour Banking Company officially opened for business.

Only 7 months later (in August of 1892), Henry W. Laugenour traded the Laugenour and Company mercantile store for his brother, Phillip T. Laugenour's, Woodland home. Both properties were valued at $15,000.


{Interesting Fact} Phillip T. Laugenour and his wife, Kate, are known for their land contribution allowing for the Dunnigan Union Church (now the Dunnigan Community Church), to be built. It was completed in 1894. Kate's Father, Reverend Jones, occasionally performed services at the Dunnigan Union Church.


Around 1894, after Henry W. Laugenour was no longer a mercantile merchant; he set his sights on politics and became the youngest politician in California at 25 years old. By 1895, Henry moved his family to the suburbs of Oakland, California. The family made frequent trips back to Woodland to visit relatives and conduct business. Around this time, Henry W. Laugenour also began a wool company in Woodland, CA. He was forced to sell the Woodland Woolen Company to pay off a gambling debt.

{Interesting Fact}Henry borrowed $10,000 from his Mother in 1895. He took the money across the Country to New York where he lost it all in an attempt to win back his business losses. On his way back home while waiting at a train station in Missouri; Henry was confronted by a man who recognized him from Woodland, California. Henry insisted that he wasn't who the man believed him to be. The man insisted that he was certain of Henry's identity, but Henry adamantly denied.


{ March 5, 1898 }

Fire at Dunnigan - Noted in the San Francisco Call

1898 Dunnigan Fire SFCall


In early 1904, tragedy struck the Laugenour family again. Henry W. Laugenour's only son, John D. Laugenour, became very ill with a ruptured appendix. The doctors of the time could not do anything to save his life. John D. Laugenour died at the age of 13. He was known as a noble child who stood up for others and was a friend to all. He passed away surrounded by his family at his Grandparents' Woodland home.

{ 1911 }

On the 11th of August 1911, Henry W. Laugenour's daughter, Hazel Bess Laugenour, swam across the span of water where the Golden Gate Bridge stands today in San Francisco. She was also the patent inventor of a water tide invention to reenact her difficult swim on stage. Henry W. Laugenour acted as his daughters' publicity manager during her Cross-Country tour to demonstrate the difficulty of her swim using her invention. Henry W. Laugenour also holds copyright for a touring logo he made of his daughter.



Woodland Daily Democrat - August 19, 1890 "Laugenour's store building..."

Woodland Daily Democrat - October 8, 1891 "Hooray for Dunnigan!"

Woodland Daily Democrat - November 25, 1891 "Improvements at Dunnigan"

Woodland Daily Democrat - December 16, 1891 "Henry does nothing by halves..."

Woodland Daily Democrat - December 19, 1891"...will begin business January 15, 1892"

Woodland Daily Democrat - February 9, 1892 "...Banking establishment opened Monday..."

Woodland Daily Democrat - August 1892 "Real Estate Transfers"

Woodland Daily Democrat - 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. No public access is permitted except by authorized personnel. Photos taken with property owner permission.

Interior Photos Coming Soon

Website design and historical/genealogical research performed by SJ White E-Mail Questions / Comments.