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Museum (State Bank of Antler, U.S. Custom and Immigration Office)
A central town square was a popular feature in the Midwest, but early railroad towns had the tracks as their focus and often aligned their main streets parallel to the rail. Antler is one of the few North Dakota towns where railroad surveyors planned for a central square. This ornately formal building that occupies the central square represents the aspirations of townsite developer David Newton Tallman and other business investors in the early-twentieth-century agricultural boom in North Dakota. Soon after World War I, Tallman experienced financial difficulty, and by the mid-1920s, he had left the state, bankrupt. Tallman sold his bank in Antler in 1920, after which the building served as a customs and immigration office, telephone office, post office, rooming house, and a residence.
The two-story Beaux-Arts classical bank is wood framed and clad from head to toe in pressed metal shaped to simulate cut stone. Each elevation is divided into five bays, delineated by giant order pilasters and semicircular arches. The paneled pilasters sit atop a simple base with Doric capitals. Each arched window opening has architrave molding, with a full entablature. Egg-and-dart moldings at the top of the frieze rest over the pilasters and arches, with an elaborate parapet simulating cut stone. After 1988 this architecturally stylish building stood abandoned until reopening in 2008 as an informal local history museum commemorating Antler’s unusually diverse architectural heritage.
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