This bank is a remarkably fine example of Classical Revival commercial architecture in a remote small town founded by the GN in 1886 that is now an important border crossing from Canada. The front elevation is composed of three Ionic columns marking two bays, and the bank’s name is carved into the sandstone entablature. The pediment is detailed with a degree of classical faithfulness, extending to the cast-metal acroteria atop the pediment. This temple of finance follows a stylistic formula popular in the early twentieth century throughout the nation. Portal State Bank thrived during the Second Great Dakota Boom as a financial service center for farmers and ranchers from Burke and Divide counties. The bank closed in 1924, but reopened briefly later that year and served the community until 1929, when it failed once again to guarantee the deposits of local families. The bank’s interior appears frozen in time, with several carefully preserved architectural features including the tile floor, tellers’ windows, and various fixtures. A sealed glass “fire grenade” bulb containing carbon tetrachloride alongside the front door constituted leading-edge emergency fire suppression technology in 1903. Though the bank building has not held cash deposits for many years, it continues as a repository of local memories and stories about the growth and decline of a speculative border-crossing community. The building, with historic furnishings intact, now serves as a museum.
You are here
Portal State Bank
If SAH Archipedia has been useful to you, please consider supporting it.
SAH Archipedia tells the story of the United States through its buildings, landscapes, and cities. This freely available resource empowers the public with authoritative knowledge that deepens their understanding and appreciation of the built environment. But the Society of Architectural Historians, which created SAH Archipedia with University of Virginia Press, needs your support to maintain the high-caliber research, writing, photography, cartography, editing, design, and programming that make SAH Archipedia a trusted online resource available to all who value the history of place, heritage tourism, and learning.