Former First National Bank of Itta Bena

First National Bank side and front

William Gatlin and Susan Tietz (2009) completed the nomination form for the Itta Bena Historic District, National Register of Historic Places, and indicated the former First National Bank Building would be among buildings eligible on its own.  The 1918-1919 Neo-Classical bank building is an interesting combination of stucco, scored stucco, exposed brick, Corinthian capitals and pilasters.  It features an ashlar facade, a type of masonry where large individual square-cut stones are used to face a wall or portion of a building.

Imposing two-story Neo-Classical former bank has a flat front parapet with a slightly projecting dentiled pediment centered over flanking engaged segmented columns topped with Corinthian capitals, and a wide dentiled cornice along the center of the front facade.  Under the gable is a tripartite 15-light leaded window over a bracketed, dentiled entablature with a centered date panel which reads ‘1919.’  Double-leaf wood single-light doors are topped with a single transom and sheltered by a canvas awining.  Flanking this are matching tripartite 15-light leaded windows with colored glass panels in the center pane, then matching pilasters at the corners.  Three bay-w-d-w-facade is executed in scored stucco; the north elevation has exposed brick and south elevation is clad in stucco.  Both side elevations contain five openings that match in size and profile the front windows, but have been in-filled with wood. 

First National Bank 2

The building currently is home to 1919 Antiques.  C. P. Bradford of the First National Bank was appointed to the executive committee of the Leflore County War Savings Committee when the county banks were approved to sell War Stamps (Commonwealth, 02 January 1918, p. 5).  The bank reported earnings for 1918 were at 54% (Itta Bena has Prosperous Year, Daily Commonwealth, 15 January 1919, p. 1).  U. Ray was president in 1926, but by 1930, First Savings Bank of Itta Bena had purchased First National Bank.  The resulting merger saw Dr. C. C. Moore elected President of the new board of the renamed First Savings Bank and Trust Company (Banks Merge at Itta Bena, Greenwood Commonwealth, 04 January 1930, p. 8).

This entry was posted in Bank buildings, Historic Downtowns, Mississippi Delta Towns, Neo-Classical and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Former First National Bank of Itta Bena

  1. Beth says:

    What an interesting building. I’m glad it’s being used, but would love to see it have a little TLC. I’m assuming it was included in the District’s nomination???


    • Suzassippi says:

      Yes, it was part of the nomination, and YES, it needs some attention to prevent further damage and keep it standing. I have come to appreciate the difficulty in these small towns because of economic restrictions, loss of population and income, and of course the ever present issue of poverty and race in Mississippi. It is complex and complicated, and in my opinion, does not have to be. But, that is because I think when we have “enough” we are obligated to do more for our communities.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Beth says:

        Agreed, it is complex! And the communities need to do more, too. Not necessarily just financial, but with everyone pitching in to work and tidy up buildings it would make a difference. The ones that come together to form historic districts are taking the right step. That encourages businesses to stay and work to make their presence vital and appreciated. And it seems that by Itta Bena submitting a nomination for NRHP listing that is a good start. Sorry, I get carried away.


  2. Sheryl says:

    I enjoyed looking at the photos and reading the description of this former bank. Until you pointed out the many wonderful features of this building I hadn’t noticed them – and it’s fascinating how this building which can almost look unimposing at first glance has architectural significance.


  3. Pat_H says:

    Oh shoot, I’ve only heard of Itta Bena from “Oh Brother Where Art Thou”, and here’s a bank there. How interesting.


  4. Suzassippi says:

    Thanks for stopping by. I finally had the chance to spend some time in the Delta towns along Hwy. 82 last spring. Itta Bena is a version of the Choctaw phrase iti bina which means “forest camp” or sometimes interpreted “home in the woods.”


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