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Associated Bank (First National Bank)

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1911, Purcell, Feick and Elmslie. 8 W. Davenport St.
  • (Photograph by Jeff Dean, courtesy of the Wisconsin Historical Society)

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.

Writing Credits

Marsha Weisiger et al.


What's Nearby


Marsha Weisiger et al., "Associated Bank (First National Bank)", [Rhinelander, Wisconsin], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Buildings of Wisconsin

Buildings of Wisconsin, Marsha Weisiger and contributors. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2017, 328-329.

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