FEATURES The New Castle Record

Bank buys historic building to expand behind it

NEW CASTLE – Farmers & Merchants Bank has purchased the historic little building next door on Main Street that was once the G.W. Layman Insurance Agency.

The bank plans to expand on the back, but not touch the front of the building that is part of the New Castle Historic District listed on the National Register of Historic Places, said bank board chairman Pat Charlton.

Farmers & Merchants Bank has purchased the former G.W. Layman Insurance Agency building from Barker Realty that used it for the agency's office in Craig County. Photo by Gwen Johnson
Farmers & Merchants Bank has purchased the former G.W. Layman Insurance Agency building from Barker Realty that used it for the agency's office in Craig County. Photo by Gwen Johnson

Barker Realty and the bank were scheduled to close the sale on Jan. 17. The real estate company has owned the little building for the last 10 years.

“We don’t know exactly what we’re going to use the property for yet,” said Charlton Monday. “We’ve got to sit down with the architects,” explained Charlton, who is one of seven members of the bank’s board. “We just need more room. I can assure the public we don’t want to take away from the looks of the historic building. We’re glad we could purchase it from the Barkers.”

Barker Realty President George Barker said his company was not interested parting with the building at first. “When the bank approached us several weeks ago to see if we were interested in selling, we were not. Over a period of time we decided to go ahead and sell it to them,” added Barker, who did not disclose the purchase price.

Barker assured the community that agent Ginny Fisher is continuing to work for Barker Realty, from the Salem officer and from her home in New Castle

Barker added he is glad the bank has plans to use the building. “It will be a great addition to Main Street in New Castle,” he said. “For that reason, I’m glad to see it’s going to happen.”

About the author

Meg Hibbert

Meg Hibbert held the position of editor of the Salem Times-Register and The New Castle Record from July 1999 - July 2014. She won more than two dozen awards from the Virginia Press Association for feature writing, columns, business articles, health and environmental writing and education coverage. She and her husband, Bill, live in Salem and are avid University of Georgia Bulldogs.

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