This bank is perhaps the best Sullivanesque design in Wisconsin that Louis Sullivan did not design himself. Shortly after George G. Elmslie left Sullivan’s office, where he had been chief designer for fourteen years, he and his new partners created this bank. Earlier, in 1906, Elmslie had collaborated with Sullivan in creating the famous National Farmers’ Bank in Owatonna, Minnesota, whose office wing clearly inspired the plan for this Prairie Style building. The bank is boxlike, with a broad entrance arch and windows set in a deep reveal. Red brick walls contrast with dressed, white sandstone trim. Unadorned banding, panels formed by projecting courses of brick, and the row of windows emphasize horizontality. At the corners of the panels are cartouches and foliate-decorated terra-cotta blocks. A large, sinuous cartouche of foliated terra-cotta interrupts the stone course at the center of the roof to emphasize the entrance. Elmslie designed these characteristic Sullivanesque ornaments, having previously drawn the details for his mentor’s most famous works, such as the Carson Pirie Scott store in Chicago. The original interior plan was unusual for a small midwestern bank. The architects convinced the bank’s officers to place banking space at the rear of the building so that customers had to walk from the broad-arched doorway through a glass-lined lobby flanked by commercial rental spaces facing the street.
You are here
Associated Bank (First National Bank)
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.