Rocky Mount, N.C. — Banking usually isn't the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of eastern North Carolina, but it is for many people in Rocky Mount.
Rocky Mount wasn't solely a farming or textile community, and its banking history can now be seen on the walls of the Imperial Centre in town.
"I think people love looking at old pictures and history, and I think people that come down to the Imperial Centre to see other things will be really impressed by this legacy project," Rocky Mount Mayor David Combs said Wednesday.
PNC Financial Services Group Inc. put the history lesson together to honor its predecessor banks in the community.
In 1899, Planters National Bank was founded in Rocky Mount, followed by Peoples Bank and Trust in 1931. In 1990, they merged to form Centura Bank, which was later acquired by Royal Bank of Canada and then PNC.
"It's important to remember our history as we work to build for our future, and the PNC Legacy Project helps us do just that," bank spokeswoman Dorsey Tobias said.
Curator Mary Beth Corrigan said area farmers were key to building Rocky Mount's banking heritage.
"All farmers needed to take out money so that they could cultivate their crops, and then they essentially repaid the loans as soon as they sold their crops," Corrigan said.
The project includes an interactive video of interviews with people who have ties to the industry and community.
"I'm not surprised that there's an exhibit here because banking was so significant to this community," said Tom Rogers, a retired RBC Centura employee who worked for Rocky Mount banks for more than 30 years.
PNC expects to maintain the legacy project at the Imperial Centre for at least one year, and it also has an online exhibit.