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Savoyard Centre (State Savings Bank/Peoples State Bank)

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State Savings Bank/Peoples State Bank
1900, McKim, Mead and White; 1915 addition, John M. Donaldson of Donaldson and Meier. 151 W. Fort St.
  • Savoyard Centre (State Savings Bank/Peoples State Bank) (Library of Congress)

This small, refined, white marble Beaux-Arts classical bank is the only major building in Michigan designed by the great New York City firm McKim, Mead and White. Stanford White drew plans for the Frank J. Hecker Mausoleum at Woodmere Cemetery, Detroit, in 1897, and Charles McKim designed the St. Mary's Falls Ship Canal memorial obelisk at Sault Ste. Marie (see CH5). The symmetrical massing, white marble material, and classical detail contribute to the formality of the bank. Recessed fluted Ionic columns frame the main entrance off W. Fort Street. Large round-arched windows flank this entrance, which is surmounted by two figural sculptures representing Industry and Commerce. The banking room, which extends the full height of the building, is surrounded by an arcade of Ionic pilasters with metalwork that screens the offices. A mural of three women, painted by Thomas Dewing, is over the Congress Street exit. McKim, Mead and White was commissioned to design this little jewel in 1898, when State Savings Bank was the largest bank in Detroit. It was enlarged—doubling its size in 1915—after the Peoples State Bank (the result of the merger in 1907 with the State Savings Bank) had outgrown this building. The harmonious addition was planned by John M. Donaldson of Donaldson and Meier.

Writing Credits

Kathryn Bishop Eckert

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