J. P. Kearns came to Townsend from Benton, Wisconsin, in 1899. Business-educated and experienced, Kearns astutely recognized the town's need for a new financial institution and founded the State Bank of Townsend only three months later. The bank was first located at 312 Broadway Street. Then in 1916, plans for a new building were begun. Albert Mooreman and Company of St. Paul, Minnesota, a firm specializing in bank plans and construction, designed the Neo-classical style building. The structure features an imposing entrance in temple motif framed by columns and pilasters with a pediment of colored sandstone. Completed in 1918, its secure and commanding presence came to be especially significant during the hard financial time ahead. Despite drought, depression, and the area's dependency on an agricultural economy so devastated by these circumstances, the State Bank of Townsend managed to survive when many small-town banks did not. J. P. Kearns' cautious loan policies and conservative banking methods provided a solid foundation for long-term success. For almost a century, the State Bank of Townsend has been owned and operated in principal by members of the same family that chartered it, thus setting a record unmatched by any other bank in Montana.