Mystery Corner Building: Canton TX

former-first-national-bank-of-cantonI know what you might be thinking, or at least, what I would be thinking if I saw this building on a historic downtown square….huh?  But, since I love history in its many forms, and I really do love mid-century modern, I felt inclined to not only take the photo, but also to ferret out the history of this corner building.  And there is the clue for me, since I have become a Preservation in Mississippi aficionado–it is on a corner…and it kind of does not match anything else on either side of the block.fnb-1953

So, yeah, all ya’ll folks from Canton already know the answer to this riddle, but it took me more time than I want to admit to figure out the history of this block, once I started trying in earnest.  I confess to a love for corner buildings–any era or genre.  Give me a canted corner entrance, and I am in chamfered corner heaven.  Truth be told, it took me quite a bit of searching to move from 2016 backwards through time…to 1920.My first assumption, correctly, was that it was a bank.  Banks tended to be located on corners due to prominence of location–at least in my limited experience.  Tax records told me the building was 1920, two story, with a canopy.  That meant that underneath this facade was something that looked nothing like this building.

The Canton Herald, October 1953 congratulated the First National Bank for its newly remodeled building, the building you see in 2016.  Going back further in the newspaper archives, I learned two more tidbits:

  • In January 1927, Texas State Bank of Canton and First National Bank of Canton merged.
  • Later that year, FNB installed electric lights and switches.

The current location appears to be the same as the 1927 location…and here is what it looked like then:



Of interest was that from 1920 (apparently when First National Bank first located on this corner of the square) Texas State Bank and First National Bank ran parallel ads on the front page of the newspaper–each countering the other’s claims, or professing newer benefits. (I thought it of interest that also on the front page advertisements for the year 1920 were numerous rat killing products…is it just me?)  Clearly, we see who won the battle of the front page.





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4 Responses to Mystery Corner Building: Canton TX

  1. socialbridge says:

    How very interesting, especially as I lived over a number of banks while Dad worked downstairs. Did that happen in US banks, do you know? There was a change here in the late 1970s when it was felt that security was an issue so bank managers lived in ‘ordinary’ houses.

    • Suzassippi says:

      I suspect that early on families might have lived above the bank, as it was quite common for them to live above (or in back of) the grocery store, drug store, etc. Most of the early articles I found about this particular bank indicated that business offices were located above. Perhaps earlier that was the norm here in the states.

  2. Sheryl says:

    When I first saw this picture I guessed that it once had been a department store. Obviously, I guessed incorrectly. 🙂

    • Suzassippi says:

      I am not always right either, but I have run across a couple of 50s remodels of corner banks that resembled this one. It is fun to try to figure it out, and sometimes I am lucky and get a picture!

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