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Des Moines National Bank (now Valley National Bank)

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now Valley National Bank
1931–1932, Proudfoot, Rawson, Souers, and Thomas. 520 Walnut St.
  • Des Moines National Bank (now Valley National Bank)

The Valley National Bank building is one of the really outstanding examples of the Art Deco style in the country. Externally and internally it strikes a wonderful balance between the assertive opulence of this late twenties Moderne style and a sense of classical sophistication and reticence. On the ground floor a band of highly polished black granite from Wisconsin is interrupted by the entrances and by repeated large glass openings. Above this is a file of wide, flat, fluted pilasters (without capitals) which rise through three floors of the building. The fifth floor is stepped back, and was meant to be the first level of a tower that was to have risen 16 stories. Because of the depression, the project was scaled back, and the tower was never built. The ground-floor entrance and lobby, and the second-level two-story banking room exhibit elaborately decorated ceilings and upper walls, as well as an extensive amount of ornamentation in metal. This building was cited in a 1939 survey as one of the outstanding recent designs within the city. In 1979 the building was extensively restored by Charles Herbert and Associates, and Sven Paulsen.

Writing Credits

Author: 
David Gebhard and Gerald Mansheim

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