We woke up the next morning to grey skies and patches of fog floating around the tops of the hills. We went and had our standard diner breakfast. Strangely, no pictures were taken, but it was good nonetheless.

Ernie took some shots of our surprise Prairie School bank. The night before as we drove into town, Ernie said, “There’s one of your banks,” and I said, “uh, yeah, well, no, uh, wait.” I was confused. Turns out Winona has a couple of great banks. The first one (that had confused me) is Purcell and Elmslie’s Merchant’s National Bank.

Merchants National Bank is a bank building in Winona, Minnesota, United States, designed in the Prairie School architectural style. It was built in 1912 and features elaborate terracotta and stained-glass ornamentation. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974 for having state-level significance in the themes of architecture and commerce.[2] It was nominated for being the “largest and probably best example” of the 18 Midwestern banks designed by Purcell, Feick & Elmslie, a significant influence on early-20th-century American architecture.[3] It is also a contributing property to the Winona Commercial Historic District. -Wikipedia

We didn’t go inside. Why? Because I’m an idiot. My legs were not being agreeable that morning. I really wish I had but then again, I wouldn’t mind going back to Winona…

We’d also driven by another bank the night before and I when I saw it I was confused again. Yeah, kind of Prairie but then again not at all. Wow! Again, we didn’t go inside. See: I’m an idiot.

Yes, I felt hatred for that parked car.
The Winona Savings Bank Building, now the Winona National Bank Historic Downtown Building, is an Egyptian Revival bank building in Winona, Minnesota, United States. It was designed by Chicago-based architect George W. Maher and constructed from 1914 to 1916. The building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1977 for having state-level significance in the themes of architecture and commerce. It was nominated for being the largest and best preserved of Minnesota’s few early-20th-century Egyptian Revival buildings, and one of Maher’s master works in the state.
The bank contains on the third floor of it a taxidermy gallery of African wildlife and guns by bank president EL King. -Wikipedia

Eventually, after meandering a bit, we headed off toward Owatonna. My legs were still being difficult but when I’m determined I am indeed determined. Pulled the big girl walker out of the car (yes, we seem to travel with two walkers these days).

The National Farmers’ Bank of Owatonna, Minnesota, United States, is a historic bank building designed by Louis Sullivan, with decorative elements by George Elmslie. It was built in 1908, and was the first of Sullivan’s “jewel box” bank designs. The building is clad in red brick with green terra cotta bands, and features two large arches on its street-facing facades. Single-story wings, originally housing bank offices, extend along each side. Internal elements include two stained-glass windows designed by Louis J. Millet, a mural by Oskar Gross, and four immense cast iron electroliers designed by Elmslie and cast by Winslow Brothers Company. -Wikipedia

Utterly stunning. The bank folks inside were super friendly and the whole place had this otherworldly glow because of the light through the windows. Amazing experience.


3 thoughts on “Late August Wander: one morning, three banks

  1. From back in the day when, first, buildings had to be aesthetic, but also, banks would freely build gorgeous buildings with the income off “our” money! Wowsers! Gorgeous!