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Farmers National Bank (National City Bank, Titusville Trust Company)

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National City Bank, Titusville Trust Company
1918–1919, Alfred Charles Bossom. 127 W. Spring St.

This bank's exterior features four engaged Ionic columns, an anthemion cartouche above the parapet of its limestone facade, and the type of large round-arched windows found on many banks across the nation that date from the early twentieth century. However, it has two surprising elements: an English architect and colorful murals. Alfred Charles Bossom (1881–1965), from Maidstone, England, practiced architecture in New York City from 1906 to 1926. After he returned to England, he became a member of Parliament in 1931, was created a baronet in 1953, and in 1960, a life peer of the realm. Bossom came to the United States in 1904 at the behest of Henry Phipps to work on the design of the Phipps model tenement in Allegheny (demolished) and a nine-story office building at 947 Penn Avenue in Pittsburgh. In New York, Bossom met and married Emily Bayne, who had spent her girlhood in Oil City, where her father, Samuel Gamble Bayne, had been with the Oil Well Supply Company. Samuel Bayne became president of the Seaboard National Bank in New York City on whose board sat several Titusville oil men, including James Curtis McKinney. McKinney opened the Titusville Trust Company to handle oil certificates, and he wanted a handsome bank to commemorate the accomplishment that indelibly changed his home town. Bossom had not designed many banks by 1918, but McKinney looked favorably on his friend's son-in-law. Ultimately, Bossom designed a number of suave, classical banks from Kansas to Connecticut, in addition to skyscrapers and houses.

The interior, with an open central banking space lined with three kinds of marble, is a veritable temple of finance. The ceiling murals by Alfred Valiant and the firm of Mack, Jenney and Tyler depict the discovery of oil by Colonel Edwin Laurentine Drake and barrels of oil being shipped via flatboat and horsedrawn wagon; smaller lunettes surrounding the central medallion illustrate various modes of transportation that used petroleum, such as planes, trains, and dirigibles.

Writing Credits

Author: 
Lu Donnelly et al.
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Citation

Lu Donnelly et al., "Farmers National Bank (National City Bank, Titusville Trust Company)", [Titusville, Pennsylvania], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—, http://sah-archipedia.org/buildings/PA-01-CR23.

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of PA vol 1

Buildings of Pennsylvania: Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania, Lu Donnelly, H. David Brumble IV, and Franklin Toker. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2010, 519-520.

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