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KLOS Towers (National Bank of West Virginia, W. M. Marsh Building)

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National Bank of West Virginia, W. M. Marsh Building
1914–1915, Charles W. Bates. Southwest corner of Main and 12th sts.
  • (Photograph by Matthew Aungst)
  • KLOS Towers (National Bank of West Virginia, W. M. Marsh Building) (Jack E. Boucher)
  • (Photograph by Matthew Aungst)

When the building contract was awarded for this bank and high-rise office tower, Manufacturers Record provided an even more accurate description than it intended, describing the exterior as “terra cotta, mat white, olive, green and bold.” The journal likely meant gold, but bold is just as descriptive, as this former bank building has far more architectural flair than usual for its time, type, and place. The first two of its ten stories are almost overburdened with terra-cotta details, but these provide a strong visual foundation for the smoother tower. The end bays of the shaft are fairly plain, with white terra-cotta facing, but vertical ranks of windows separated by green spandrels are anything but. Originally the bank had a prominent cornice topped with a parapet whose varied profiles gave a filigreed silhouette to the downtown skyline. Now shorn of these features, this tall building still manages to catch the eye on its prominent downtown site. A large iron and glass marquee protects anyone standing on the corner.

Writing Credits

S. Allen Chambers Jr.

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