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Merchant's Exchange Bank

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1928. 203 Railroad Ave.
  • (Photograph by Gerald Moorhead)

Sadly and literally, this building chronicles the fortunes of Benavides. Owned by the Spanish immigrant Vaello family (as noted in the V in the terrazzo floor entranceway), the stately, classically proportioned and detailed, two-story bank is executed in limestone with a black granite base. It includes finely sculpted medallions with Indian and buffalo effigies (similar to those on a five-cent piece) in its spandrel panels, and a spacious lobby with plastered beams and pilasters. The bank closed its doors in the 1950s after failing to guarantee its uninsured deposits. It anchors a series of commercial storefronts to its north in a range of styles that, like the bank, are today all vacant and in disrepair.

Writing Credits

Gerald Moorhead et al.


What's Nearby


Gerald Moorhead et al., "Merchant's Exchange Bank", [Benavides, Texas], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of Texas

Buildings of Texas: Central, South, and Gulf Coast, Gerald Moorhead and contributors. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2013, 264-264.

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