John S Cook is the founder and builder of the Cook Bank Building which is located in Rhyolite, Nye County, Nevada. He is an example of many men, who followed the gold miners from town to town and profited off of mining operations. Today, the three story Cook Bank Building is the iconic visual representation of the town of Rhyolite.
He started his career in Tonopah, Nevada working as a cashier for George Nixon. Nixon and his partner George Wingfield invested in various mining operations in Goldfield
John Cook and his brother started the John S. Cook & Company Bank in Goldfield, Nevada in January 1905. His original bank was located in a wooden structure next to the Palace Saloon before relocating to the Nixon Block Building.
Later that same year he opened a new branch in Rhyolite. The Rhyolite banks first location was in a rented building on Main Street. After buying a lot on Golden Street in Rhyolite construction of the Cook Bank Building in the spring of 1907.
The panic of October 1907 caused Mr Cook to suffer his worst month as miners withdrew this money from his banks. Many miners considered saloons to be more trustworthy can banks, and saloons such as Richard Northern Saloon benefitted from the panic. Oddly enough, the saloon would then deposit the funds bank into the bank, undoubtably, keeping a small profit for themselves.
The John S. Cook bank was the only bank in Goldfield to survive and remain open. In 1909, George Wingfield purchase control of the Cook Bank from investing and bought out Cooks shares as well. John Cook next moved to North and worked in the Cook Bank located in Reno. In 1929 the stock market crashed caused the Great Depression and Wingfield’s banks failed and the John S. Cook banks were closed into history. John S. Cook later moved to Los Angeles, California and died on July 22, 1945.
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