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100 Years Ago

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First National Exchange Bank

The First National Exchange Bank was organized in 1899 and for the first five years, was located with the Peoples Savings and Loan Association in the Robertson Block (south side of the square). In 1904, they bought this three-story, Neo-Classical Revival one-bay building at 114 East Poplar Street on the north side of the square. This bank had been established due to an outgrowth of a law that required savings and loans associations to deposit their funds in national banks.

The center portion of this block, including this building, was destroyed by fire in 1914. The facility was immediately reconstructed on the same site and completed in 1915. In 1975, the First National Exchange Bank again moved to the south side of the square, this time into a newly-constructed building at 119 East Court Street.

Banking concerns have always vied for space fronting the courthouse square. Ten structures within the district presently house, or once housed, banking facilities. The First National Bank, while currently at the same location, has since changed names and is now known as Star Bank.

In the 1970s, this facility was operated as a discotheque called "The Bank." Today, it is used by two local businesses. There is also a newer one-story brick addition which sits on the building’s east side at street level. Architecturally, the facade is faced with marble veneer and the central entrance is flanked by two-story iconic columns that support the triangular pediment. Within the pediment’s tympanum, the foliated classical motif decorates a cartouche bearing the construction date of the building.

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'Downtown' segment written in October, 1998 by Sherrie Casad-Lodge 


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