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Home Building Association Bank
Newark’s Sullivan-designed “jewel box” bank is located on a prominent corner across from the historic Licking County Courthouse Square. The Home Building Association Bank, also known as “Old Home,” has a smaller footprint than most of Sullivan’s other Midwestern banks, but it does have a full second floor and basement. Its corner location gives the two-story, concrete-and-steel frame building two primary facades. Unlike Sullivan’s other banks of this period, Old Home is not clad in tinted pressed brick; instead, the exterior elevations are terra-cotta blocks in a soft gray color. A decorative band at the top of each individual block creates a subtle horizontal banding pattern over the walls, forming the backdrop for the highly ornamented terra-cotta pieces in block and relief form that distinguish the building from those around it.
Like the Sullivan’s other banks, the decoration and ornamentation of Old Home has strong geometric characteristics while also appearing natural and organic; heraldic lions are part of the ornamental program. The two elevations feature tile mosaics, opalescent glass transoms, and banded, leaded-glass casement windows. The tile mosaics are the work of Louis J. Millet, and the relief and patterned terra-cotta the work of Kristian Schneider. The building was much abused in the last century, mainly prior to 1973: the original window openings along the south elevation have been lowered and enlarged. On the east facade, the entire corner of the building was removed, destroying the original entrance and replacing it with a recessed and angled doorway. Inside, the original entrance vestibule, small conference room, and the marble and glass teller cages are gone. Now, the space is wide open but some of the original marble flooring and wainscoting is still in place. Along the north wall, just below the ceiling, frescoes designed by Sullivan and executed by Millet are still in place, though in need of restoration. The second floor has been completely altered except for some original restroom elements. The Home Building Association Bank was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1973. In 2007, Stephen Jones, an architectural enthusiast and a Newark native, purchased the building to ensure its preservation. In 2013, he donated Old Home to the Licking County Foundation, which is developing a plan for the building’s restoration and reuse.
Beers, Larry Alan, “Home Building Association,” Licking County, Ohio. National Register of Historic Places Nomination, 1973. National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, Washington, D.C.
Tebben, Joseph R. The Old Home: Louis Sullivan’s Newark Bank.Granville, OH: McDonald and Woodward Publishers, 2014.
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