He only planned to spend a couple of days visiting the South Plains and then return to his established banking business in East Texas.
But Charles Maedgen so liked the potential of the area that he moved west to help build a city ... Lubbock.
His family is still active through Lubbock National Bank and community service.
Maedgen was born in Troy, Bell County, Texas, one of seven children.
He graduated in 1904 from Texas A&M, where he majored in agronomy, and worked his way through school by collecting and delivering laundry. After graduating, he and his brother established Citizens Exchange Bank at Troy, owned and operated a gin and were engaged in the cotton and grain business. His early banking days also included offices in Temple State Bank and Farmers State Bank in Temple.
In one of Maedgen's few memoirs, late A-J Editor Chas. A. Guy wrote of a conversation between the banker and his longtime legal adviser, Elmer East:
"I came out to Lubbock expecting to spend two days and spent a week just riding all over the country.
"I studied the rainfall records and found that the average over the past 35 years was 20 inches. Since nearly all of it fell during the growing season, and with the vast expanse of land, I could see nothing but a city being built at Lubbock. So I came back to stay, organized the bank - and later, rode the Depression through."
The Maedgens' bank in Troy had closed by 1935, but his business in Lubbock was well on its way to becoming a pillar of the city's economic arena.
In 1917, Maedgen moved his family - wife, Minta, and children, Charles Ernest Jr. and Mary Ellis - to Lubbock. In June of that year, he established Security State Bank and Trust Company, which purchased the Farmers' National Bank in 1920. Five years later the name was changed to Lubbock National Bank.
During the financial panic following the crash of 1929, Maedgen declared that should his bank go under he would put "every single thing I own, including my home" into its assets "for the benefit of its creditors." However, the confidence of the bank's depositors averted such a crisis.
By 1939, he had formed the Lubbock National Company and had begun construction of a new eight-story bank building that was completed in October 1940.
Maedgen's business acumen and dedication to the good of Lubbock earned him a seat among the city's storied "King Makers," an unofficial group of businessmen who determined what was best for the town, who should run for office and what needed to be accomplished next.
In "Lubbock: From Town to City," Roger Schaefer described the group as ... "individuals (who) were without a doubt the 'movers and shakers' of Lubbock. In essence, this group consisted of a relatively small close-knit power structure built around important 'downtown' institutions."
Fruits of Maedgen's efforts are evident today. In 1928, he helped secure congressional legislation to establish a federal district court in the city. From 1920 to 1932, he served on the Lubbock school board. He was president in 1931 of the Lubbock Chamber of Commerce and Board of City Development and was a leader in the bond-issue campaign that provided 100 miles of paved roads in Lubbock County at a cost of $3 million. Maedgen served on committees that obtained for Lubbock the Fort Worth and Denver Railway, Texas Tech and the city's first airline service.
He was a charter member of the Lubbock Kiwanis Club and country club and was selected in 1940 to be president of the Panhandle-South Plains Fair Association. He also helped establish the Lubbock Symphony Orchestra and worked for the construction of the Museum of Texas Tech University. He served four years as president of the West Texas Museum Association.
Maedgen stepped down to became chairman of the bank's board in 1951 and was succeeded by his son, Charles Jr.
The son carried on his father's sense of involvement. He showed particular dedication to the West Texas Museum and the Ranching Heritage Center.
He died in 1972, only eight years after his father.
Whether by design or by reputation, Lubbock National under Maedgen's guidance became a training ground for bankers and for civic leaders. His offspring and their families, too, have been loyal to the values of the patriarch.
Foremost among those who would perpetuate the bank's and its founder's reputation was the Key family.
In 1946, Marion Key, fresh from a stellar World War II military career and with a law degree heavy on banking practice, married Maedgen's daughter, Mary Ellis. In addition to his law practice, he served for several years on Lubbock National's board of directors while involving himself in a myriad of his city's civic activities.
Although he died in 2004, Key's sons carry on the Maedgen-Key traditions, frequently volunteering for the same offices held by Charles Maedgen Sr.
Today, Terry Key sits as president and CEO of Lubbock National Bank. Charles Key is executive vice president of the bank. Roger Key is chairman of the board. Howard Key is a member of the board of directors.
At the end of 2008, the bank's assets were $619 million.
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