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One Valley Bank (Empire Bank Building)

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Empire Bank Building
1903–1907, Holmboe and Lafferty. Northwest corner of W. Main and 4th sts.

The seven-story steel-frame building commissioned by Virgil Highland, president of the Empire National Bank, is faced with rusticated brownstone of an umber hue on its first two floors and brown brick above. An emphatic cornice with overscaled brackets provides a dramatic climax to the composition. Because the streets intersect here at an acute angle, the building's footprint is similar to a flatiron or a trapezoid. The rounded corner contains the bank entrance at street level, while the office entrance is in the last bay along 4th Street. Both entrances have white terra-cotta Corinthian frontispieces topped by female busts. Overall, the bank is a surprisingly exuberant design from a firm that usually provided more conservative buildings for its clients.

Writing Credits

S. Allen Chambers Jr.

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