The corner of Main Street and Court Avenue in Indianola, Mississippi is home to the former Sunflower Bank. A fire–‘terrible conflagration’ in the terminology of the time, destroyed all but the 3 Faison’s brick stores, a dry goods emporium. The Sunflower Bank was established in February, 1896:
The corporation shall exist for a period of 50 years, unless sooner dissolved by its stock-holders or by operation of law. (Enterprise-Tocsin, 28 Feb 1896, p. 3)
The new banking institution was temporarily located in A. B. Smith Company’s offices (Enterprise-Tocsin, 24 Apr 1896, p. 2). Following the fire, it was reported:
The Sunflower Bank weathered the fire alright and has proven a most invaluable aid to our business men. It is a splendid institution and will succeed, as it certainly deserves. (8 May, 1896, p. 2)
Indication of the location of A. B. Smith Company was not given, although his business of plantation supplies was indicated as sustaining losses of $9500 with insurance of $5500, and five store buildings with loss of $5000 and insurance of $1100. In October, it was still temporarily located in Smith’s office; Smith was Vice President of the Sunflower Bank. By February 1897, the ad read “Located in the Sunflower Bank Building” (Enterprise-Tocsin, 18 Feb 1897, p. 2).
Mississippi Department of Archives and History, Historic Resources Inventory, lists the bank as estimated c. 1901-1903. The newspaper articles from early 1897 suggest the possibility of an earlier construction, although the original bank building could have been elsewhere. I did not find any items suggesting a newer building was built in 1901-1903, although regular reports of capital and shares were reported in 1902 and 1903.
The former Sunflower Bank is part of the Indianola Historic District, and is described:
…flat parapet and corbelled cornice corner building with a tower on corner topped with a metal pyramidal roof…recessed entry through an arch with brick vouissoirs and stone keystone on each street. (Nancy Bell, June 2, 2008, nomination form National Register of Historic Places)
Windows on the Main Street elevation have been replaced.
The bank was closed for liquidation in February 1930, and initially regarded as solvent, though later it was determined liabilities were “far in excess of assets” (Biloxi Daily Herald, Feb. 19, 1930, p. 5). The bank was purchased and reorganized and reopened in April 1930, and depositors were reported to be paid.