You are here

Old First American Bank and Trust

-A A +A
1919, Joseph E. Rosatti for Braseth and Rosatti; or Henry J. Scherer. Front St. at 3rd St.
  • (Photograph by Steve C. Martens)

The design of this Prairie Style bank has been credited to Rosatti of Fargo based on a 1918 rendering that corresponds to the bank as built, and to Scherer, who is identified locally as the bank’s architect. The bank is analogous to the Bank of Gilby (GF35), and others designed in a similar mode like that in Minto (WA3). Perhaps inspired by the design of Purcell and Elmslie published in Western Architect, several North Dakota architects dabbled in the Prairie Style. Rosatti was likely introduced to it as part of his education at the University of Michigan and Scherer from his years of study in Minnesota, where he might have seen Purcell and Elmslie’s banks there.

This bank and that of Gilby are composed as a simple rectangular frame of brick with a cornice extending across the front. The broadly proportioned entrance is subdivided by a pair of emphatic Prairie Style columns, surmounted by an expansive transom window. Designs of the terra-cotta capitals and escutcheons are drawn abstractly from classical motifs. Large upper windows that once spanned the entire front of the second story were replaced with glass block as part of a 1977 face-lift. The architecturally adventure-some bank ceased operations in 2010 and the building is vacant.

Writing Credits

Steve C. Martens and Ronald H. L. M. Ramsay


What's Nearby


Steve C. Martens and Ronald H. L. M. Ramsay, "Old First American Bank and Trust", [Forest River, North Dakota], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of North Dakota

Buildings of North Dakota, Steve C. Martens and Ronald H. L. M. Ramsay. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2015, 91-91.

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.