Molena was originally called Snidersville, named after Mr. A.A. Snider, the original owner of the first store near what is now known as Molena. The store was later purchased by Mr. Newt Jenkins, and the "ville" changed from Snidersville to Jenkinsville.
Mail was brought to the village located nearly 75 miles southwest of the city formerly known as Marthasville and renamed in 1845 to Atlanta. With the addition of a rail line and train station, the name Molena was adopted, and the City of Molena was incorporated in 1888.
Notable firsts in Molena: The first store in Molena was built by Mr. H.G. Jordan. The first citizens were Mr. Jack Brooks, Mr. Newt Jenkins, Mr. Bob Pilkinton, Mr. Jim Justice, Jr., John Thompson, Mr. Samuel Parks, Mr. Green Blount, and Mr. Jim Brooks. Molena was a farming community with mill owners, inventors, teachers, and business owners who helped the city grow and prosper. The first churches in Molena were the Baptist Church organized in 1888 and the Methodist Church organized in 1892.
There have been five school buildings in Molena ranging from a one-room school building to a modern brick multi-classroom school building. None of these are in operation as a school at the present, although the final school was later converted to a nursing home. One of the schools was torn down and the lot converted to a residence where Dr. J.H. Grubbs resided. Another structure made of concrete blocks was converted to a dwelling.
Molena's banking needs were formerly served by The Bank of Molena founded in 1899. Although it began as a branch of the Barnesville Savings Bank, it was later purchased by several Molena citizens. It gained its charter as The Bank of Molena on October 11, 1901.
Today, Molena is still served by The Bank of Molena under a new name. From the "About Us" section of the First Bank of Pike website:
"The First Bank of Pike has been serving the people of Pike County since 1901. It received its charter in September of that year as the “Bank of Molena” when a group of local citizens worked together to buy out the Molena branch of the Barnesville Savings Bank. Those original stockholders are names still familiar to the people of Molena: Jordan, Brooks, Carriker, Hardy, Dunn, Willis, and Lawrence. Since that time, the bank has acted as a partner with the communities it serves to assure the financial stability of the area.
Meeting the needs of its customers has always been an important role of the bank, and those needs have changed dramatically over the years. In 1916, for example, the Bank of Molena purchased a registered bull to be shared by the community to up-grade the quality of the local cattle. During the early years, items such as mules, milk cows, pigs, horses and buggies, bales of cotton, pianos, as well as automobiles, were listed as collateral on loans.
The Bank of Molena made its first installment loan in 1926. A Ford Tudor sedan was purchased by the Molena’s Rural Letter Carrier. Thirteen separate notes were made, each coming due one month after the other, for $33.30 each.
Surviving the 1926 financial panic and the great Depression following the 1929 stock market crash were a challenge to the Bank of Molena. Employees took pay cuts, stockholders shored the bank financially, and citizens of the community had enough faith in the bank to leave their money deposited in the bank, thus averting a run on the bank. All of these factors played a part in the bank weathering those turbulent times.
By the mid 1930’s, money had started to flow into the community again, and the Bank of Molena again saw black ink on its balance sheet in an era when many banks closed their doors forever.
The bank continued to grow, and by 1978, the building that had housed the business since the turn of the century was no longer large enough. A new bank building was completed that incorporated the original banking house entirely within it. The Molena branch has the original bank’s marble name and date embedded in its façade.
The growth and expansion continued with the opening of its Concord branch on August 7, 1989. The Zebulon branch was opened February 19, 1991, and the Bank of Molena changed its name to the First Bank of Pike to reflect its growing interests throughout the county.
The First Bank of Pike is proud of the part it has played in the history of Pike County. We pledge to continue to inspire the confidence of our customers, who are the bank’s most valuable asset."