You are here

South Jefferson Street Banks

-A A +A
1908–1991. 10–202 S. Jefferson St. SW

These four buildings, along with SunTrust (RK17), are a study in the evolution of bank architecture in the twentieth century. Each occupies a prominent corner lot and their respective architects took advantage of these locations. John Kevan Peebles of Norfolk designed the First National Bank, now Liberty Trust Building (1908–1910; 101 S. Jefferson SW), a granite and buff-colored brick structure. Following the late-nineteenth-century high-rise tradition of tripartite division, the rusticated first story is followed by five stories of office space and a top story emphasized by greater elaboration and a balustrade. The former Colonial National Bank, now HomeTown Bank (1927, Frye and Stone; 202 S. Jefferson SW), is also a tripartite high-rise design. However, the twelve-story building of granite and gray glazed brick with its sleeker lines, diminished ornamentation, and large windows on the first floor presages the coming stylistic simplification. A source of great excitement when built, this was Roanoke's tallest building for almost fifty years.

Wyatt and Nolting of Baltimore designed the former First National Exchange Bank, now Wells Fargo (1911; 1933 extension), at 201 S. Jefferson SW, a massive, three-story building with full-height engaged Ionic columns and pilasters and a heavy entablature beneath a solid parapet. It conveys beauty, strength, and stability. The Wells Fargo Tower, former Dominion Tower (1991, Clark, Tribble, Harris and Li Architects; 10 S. Jefferson SW), is now Roanoke's tallest edifice and it caused an equal furor when built. This Art Deco-influenced twenty-one-story pink behemoth was designed to dominate the downtown skyline. Its pyramidal-roofed, central core rises above four barrel-vaulted sections set perpendicular to the core and connected to each other by lower diagonal walls. Above the tower's two-story, polished granite base, the walls are of precast concrete and glass. The building's garage to the right is low-rise, built to the scale of the adjacent City Market (RK25) buildings.

Writing Credits

Anne Carter Lee


What's Nearby


Anne Carter Lee, "South Jefferson Street Banks", [Roanoke, Virginia], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of Virginia vol 2

Buildings of Virginia: Valley, Piedmont, Southside, and Southwest, Anne Carter Lee and contributors. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2015, 413-413.

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.

, ,