firm active: 1907-1921

minneapolis, minnesota :: chicago, illinois
philadelphia, pennsylvania :: portland, oregon

Navigation :: Home :: Commission List :: Parabiographies
Bank for Mr. Dowling
also known as Atkinson State Bank
Purcell and Feick
Atkinson, Nebraska 1908

Parabiographies entry, Volume for 1908
Text by William Gray Purcell

Job Date (in Parabiographies): March 4, 1908

ATKINSON BANK (for Mr. Dowling)

W.G.P. design. This is indeed an organic little building, of vigorous forms and useful plan, a true grand-daddy of all our little country banks. It may be said of all of them, however, that the plan integrations were always based on the usual but often variable standards of the country banking business, with a president or outstanding local businessman plus a cashier. To give individuality to the layout requirements with character and distinction, was our job. No two plans are alike; some radically different as the Madison State and Adams and Leroy, all depending on business habits.

There were no skilled mechanics of any kind in those prairie towns - just hand farmers - so all our architectural forms and building processes had to be those which untrained men could produce and which would look well with poor workmanship. For example, concrete blocks not too well made were the only material available and bricks were scarce and costly, so we put one row of brick between each course of blocks and set the brick half an inch to conceal bad joints. Interior finish and fixtures were made up at the mill in small enough units to go through the door.

[Annotations by WGP on the draft]: This little bank miles from any place in Northern Nebraska really set the type for the democratic bank of the people - other than the "10% interest" they charged, which is now more often than not 20% or 30% - as with city revolving loans today.

Our banks at Madison, Grand Meadow, Hector, Mitchell one after another was watched and approved by Sullivan - especially Grand Meadow and what we learned was not overlooked - [end]

   Collection: William Gray Purcell Papers, Northwest Architectural Archives, University of Minnesota [AR:B4d1.2]
research courtesy mark hammons