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First State Bank of Leroy

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1914, Purcell and Elmslie. 102 W. Main St.

In 1914, after George Feick Jr. left the firm, Purcell and Elmslie received the commission for the First State Bank of Leroy, about twenty miles south of Grand Meadow. The building, situated on the corner of Main Street and Broadway, is faced with tan bricks on both of its principal facades. The only variety in the exterior is afforded by three elements: a large Romanesque arch with long, radiating brick voussoirs over the front entrance; a small, colorful art glass lunette (containing a “P E” signature) above the main door; and a large, beige-colored art glass window on the long facade that provides natural light. The firm had learned that one of the bank’s directors would veto any proposal for a design that exceeded $10,000 and so the architects eliminated a decorative terra-cotta arch over the front entrance in order to lower the total cost. Purcell lamented the building’s resulting simplicity, saying “… due to extreme economy, the building was at best all too severe in character, and greatly needed the lift which color and pattern in the entrance arch would have given the facade.”

However, Purcell was very proud of the building’s interior, which, in his Parabiography writes, “… is interesting and practical in every way, a perfect little country bank full of light and sunshine, very conveniently arranged and interestingly modern…. The interior materials and forms were all detailed to correspond with the then available lines of good looking functional office furniture, so we secured the effect of specially designed equipment at catalog prices.” Like the firm’s other Mower County banks, the bank featured an open floor plan so that a single employee could watch the entire premises and run the banking business alone.

The building continues to function as a bank and is in good condition. In 2005, however, a pair of teller’s wickets removed and sold at auction for $7,200.

References

Millett, Larry. The Curve of the Arch: The Story of Louis Sullivan's Owatonna Bank. Minneapolis: Minnesota Historical Society Press, 1985.

Purcell, William Gray and George Feick, Jr. to Carl K. Bennett, April 13, 1910. William Gray Purcell Papers (N4), Northwest Architectural Archives, University of Minnesota Libraries, Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Purcell, William Gray. Parabiography for 1910. Unpublished manuscript, c. 1950. William Gray Purcell Papers (N4), Northwest Architectural Archives, University of Minnesota Libraries, Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Roberts, Dr. Norene A., “First State Bank of LeRoy,” Mower County, Minnesota. National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination Form, 1986. National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, Washington, D.C.

Writing Credits

Author: 
Richard L. Kronick
Coordinator: 
Frank Edgerton Martin
Victoria M. Young
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Data

Timeline

  • 1914

    Built

Citation

Richard L. Kronick, "First State Bank of Leroy", [Le Roy, Minnesota], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—, http://sah-archipedia.org/buildings/MN-01-099-0086-01.

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