Where the Gold Grows: Premier Valley Bank


Children on steps of old Groveland School House. Photo courtesy: Southern Tuolumne County Historical Society

In 1914, when Groveland was selected as the construction headquarters for the Hetch Hetchy Water Project, the area boomed with a sudden influx of workers and their families. Voter-approved bond measures supported the construction of the Groveland School House to invest in future generations of Grovelanders. A number of our current residents, including Leonard Cassaretto and Joan Gisler (Ranch Revived) attended school here before Tenaya Elementary School replaced it in the 1960’s. The building sat vacant until 1969 when the old school house became the sales office for Boise Cascade’s new planned community called Pine Mountain Lake...another investment in the future of the area.


It seems only fitting that this venerable building and its human stewards continue to be dedicated to wise investments and accumulation of wealth–whether one measures wealth in knowledge, experience, or financial decisions. The building became Yosemite Bank in the early 1970’s, transitioning to Premier Valley Bank in recent years.


Gold sponsor Premier Valley Bank is a division of HTLF Bank (Heartland Financial USA) which was named a Forbes Best Bank 2022 for the sixth consecutive year. HTLF Bank focuses on delivering community banking at scale by powering their geographically diverse group of banks with technology, efficiency and strength. Their strategy is to give local management the opportunity and insights to focus on customers and growth…a strategy that can only be successful when coupled with a deep investment in those same small communities that goes beyond deposits and withdrawals.


Groveland Branch Manager Betsy Duncan also sits on the Yosemite Chamber of Commerce board of directors.

“Community stewardship is important to Premier Valley Bank. We want to give back to the people and businesses that keep our doors open,” said Groveland Area Manager Betsy Duncan, who is also a board director of the Yosemite Chamber of Commerce. “We think of Groveland as a community that works together towards common goals and ideals, and we’re honored to be a part of that.” Premier Valley Bank hosts the Rotary's monthly flea market during the summer season and supports many local fundraising and community events.


True that. We’re proud to welcome Premier Valley Bank as a Gold sponsor of the 2022 49er Festival for their financial support as well as their willingness to pitch in to “get ‘er done,” as Hot Chili Charlie would say. Betsy and her colleague Debra Howell will be managing the Silent Auction on Festival Day. Premier Valley Bank is the central drop-off point for 49er Festival Raffle and Auction donations. Stop by, say "howdy," and drop off your gift certificates or products any time before September 15 to get your brand in front of hundreds of festival-goers.


Thanks, Premier Valley Bank. You’re like gold to us!


"Historic Buildings in Groveland & Big Oak Flat" by Carrie Carter for the Southern Tuolumne County Historical Society, first edition published 2019 was a source of the early history of the Groveland School House.



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