The Bank of Indianola–when a bank still looked like a bank! Built c. 1900, the two-story, two brick color commercial building features two crenellated towers, and the right is slightly taller than the left. The first floor has two doors–my personal favorite corner entry with double doors, and a single door. Brick pilasters flank the single door entry, topped by corbelled capitals supporting the brick arch. Three narrow arched windows fill the bay between the doors. The recessed corner entry showcases a surround matching the single entry. The second floor central bay mimics the lower bay with three narrow fixed lights and the arched lights above. Each tower features a window.
Mississippi Department of Archives and History, Historic Resources Inventory described the style as Tudor, and comments:
…a castelated quasi-Romanesque commercial building, similar in character to the former Citizen’s Bank in Greenville.
The Indianola Bank was organized July 1902 with $50,000 stock, and officers A. F. Gardener, President, P. C. Chapman, V. P., and W. T. Pitts, Cashier. J. F. Barnes of Greenville received a contract for building the bank (Indianola Bank Organizes. July 25, 1902, The Indianola Enterprise, p. 2).
The beautiful new building of the Bank of Indianola is nearing completion and was the subject of much praise by the hosts of our country friends. No only did this building attract admiring glances of our watchful visitors, but the rapid growth of our town was astonishing to them. Many who had not been here for two or three years could become reconciled to the stern fact that this was indeed “Indianola” and not some magic city builded in a night. (The Indianola Enterprise, November 14, 1902, p. 2)
J. F. Barnes was described by the Jackson Daily News, June 3, 1904, p. 7 as a “self-made man” with a talent for mechanical work and mathematics. He learned carpentry and studied architecture “until he acquired a sufficient knowledge of the building trades to enable him to become a contractor.” He located in Jackson in 1882, and moved to Greenville in 1886, where he was attributed to having designed and built “many of the most substantial and beautiful buildings in that city.” By 1895, Barnes was working in New Orleans, Biloxi, and Mobile. Barnes was one of the “Men Who Built Capitol” while serving as superintendent of construction.
In 1940 the Indianola Bank became a branch of Planters Bank, which was founded in 1920 in Sunflower County. The bank name changed the name to Planters Bank in 1981 when they moved their headquarters to Indianola. In 1976, Planters opened a new bank building, and the downtown bank building continued to operate as a branch bank.