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First State Bank
Purcell and Elmslie
Leroy, Minnesota   1914

Text by William Gray Purcell
Parabiographies entry, Volume for 1914

Job Date (in Parabiographies): January 26, 1914


This is certainly a cute little bank, and the fact that it was built at all is due to the peculiar stubborn streak often found in the Scandinavian farmer. One of the directors objected to building a new building, and his was the deciding vote in the bank management. He got the idea from talking with this friends that architects always ran up the cost of their buildings, and when he was unable to resist the pressures of his associates for a new building, he conceived the shrewd strategy of saying, "Well, all right, you get a first class architect, and if he can produce your building for $10,000, I'll go along with you."

He later tipped off the cashier of his fixed intention, that "If the contractors' bids on this building came even to $10,100, nothing was going to budge him toward approval of the new project."

The cashier tipped us off. Our bids came to a very little more than $10,000, and before submitting them to the bank, we eliminated a decorative terracotta arch over the front entrance, and brought the building a very few dollars under the $10,000, all complete and ready for use.

When the bids were thrown on the directors' table, the old fellow was a storm cloud of Scandinavian gloom and baffled rage, but he had given his word and there was nothing to do but proceed.

The situation was unfortunate, both for the bank and for us, because, due to extreme economy, the building was at best all too severe in character, and greatly needed the lift which color and pattern in the entrance arch would have given the facade.

The interior, however, is interesting and practical in every way, a perfect little country bank full of light and sunshine, very conveniently arranged and interestingly modern without being queer. The construction basis and detailing was sound and construction of excellent quality. The interior materials and forms were all detailed to correspond with the then available lines of good looking functional office furniture, so we secured the effect of specially designed equipment at catalog prices.

   Collection: William Gray Purcell Papers, Northwest Architectural Archives, University of Minnesota [AR:B4d1.8]
research courtesy mark hammons