bullet The Works of John S. Van Bergen

Presented by researcher Martin Hackl.  Van Bergen was one of the rare Progressive architects who continued a fruitful practice after World War I.  Indeed, his designs evolved productively beyond the Midwestern idiom and flourished in California into the 1960s.   Sadly, most of Van Bergen's records were lost in a canyon fire in the hills above Santa Barbara that consumed his own home.  Martin Hackl discovered that Van Bergen left a set of working drawings with each of his houses, and also obtained much unknown personal information and photographs from Van Bergen's daughter.  This site provides as complete a list of Van Bergen designs as can be compiled, illustrating most with photographs and text. 

bulletFarmers' National Bank: A Web Shrine (launches a special viewing window)

Contributed by artist Bull Hueg.  A visit to the Farmers' National Bank in Owatonna, Minnesota, remains one of the most compelling experiences of American architecture.  Although the bank is always attributed to Louis Sullivan, scholarship has shown conclusively that almost every aspect of the design came from the hand of George Grant Elmslie.  Some forty miles south of Minneapolis, just off Interstate 35, this stunning design achievement has survived largely intact to enlighten everyone who enters about the possibilities of realizing beauty in the everyday acts of life.  In this case the worshipful photography by Bill Hueg is an obvious act of very intimate spiritual encounter, one which he kindly shares here.

bulletThe Winona Savings Bank of George Washington Maher

Contributed by artist Bill Hueg.   George W. Maher published essays encouraging the development of "democratic" architecture that befitted the character and environs of the Middle West.  Many of his early residential designs were innovative, and the now demolished "Rockledge," a summer home for the E. L. King family near Winona, Minnesota, was a turnkey Progressive masterpiece.  The Winona Savings Bank built in 1907, however, shows a deeper streak of revivalist adaptation lurking in Maher.  Decked out in expensive granite, marble, bronze, and fine Tiffany windows, scholars have noted this building's recollection of Egyptian temple forms.  Appropriately, the continent of Africa is also recalled by a large number of deceased animals collected on safari by the banker and housed on the second floor.