A few days ago, I posted about my admiration for rounded, chamfered, and canted corners in architecture. Peggy’s Country Life mentioned similar buildings in Arkansas, so of course, that sent me on a hunt for the ones I had taken in Arkansas during the 17 years of traipsing back and forth to Texas. I spied this former bank (later used as a pharmacy) in Lake Village after I had detoured to photograph the post office and its mural for the Living New Deal project.
The chamfer is a term for a flat plane joining two other flat planes at an angle, cutting across what would be two right angles joining if not for the chamfer design. Arkansas Historic Preservation dates this building as ca. 1908. The 1908 Sanborn fire map shows this as the only building in Lake Village identified as a bank. The front of this building was modernized at some point, with the windows and tile, possibly when it was converted to use as a pharmacy in the 1940s.
Rachel Silva (Walks through history, Lake Village Commercial District,April 9,2011) identified the building as a bank (based on the 1908 Sanborn map), but asked “What bank?” A search of the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program resulted in no answer. That is just the kind of question that sends me off–sometimes for days, sometimes longer–in order to satisfy my desire to know. After 4 full days of research, I can now answer that question with what I believe to be relative certainty. Additionally, I learned a good deal more about the history of Lake Village banking, but that is too much for one post!
This building was the Bank of Lake Village, constructed 1904, located at 302 Main. The Bank of Lake Village was established in February 1904 and opened in temporary quarters. The Arkansas Democrat reported September 27, 1904, p. 1:
Ground is being broken for the erection of a handsome two-story brick building, which will be owned and occupied by the Bank of Lake Village–that is, the lower part will be occupied by them. This is the fourth brick building contracted for within the last ninety days.
By November, the new two-story brick building was completed and the bank scheduled to “move into its elegant new quarters just as soon as the new fixtures are received” (Arkansas Democrat, November 30, 1904, p. 1).
The first bank of Lake Village was the Chicot Bank, established September 1901, and their new building was completed December 1901. It was located at what is now 117 Main.
In September of 1907, The Monticellonian reported the Chicot Bank and the Bank of Lake Village consolidated as the Chicot Bank and Trust Company and would occupy the building formerly housing the Bank of Lake Village. The 1908 Sanborn map indicates only one bank building: the one pictured above at the current 302 Main Street. I believe this was the former Bank of Lake Village, which consolidated with the Chicot Bank to become the Chicot Bank and Trust Company.
Since the first Sanborn map for Lake Village was dated 1908 and the two banks merged in 1907, there would have been only one bank building in use in 1908.
This building appears to have been initially constructed as a bank, and fits the description of the Chicot Bank constructed in December 1901 when the town was beginning to grow. Rachel Silva (Walks through History, Lake Village Commercial Historic District, April 9, 2011) identified this building as constructed ca. 1906, and had housed a restaurant, bank, liquor store, and a plantation office. Ca. is the abbreviation for circa, meaning “about” when the exact date is unknown. However, the newspaper identified the newly completed Chicot Bank–the first bank in Lake Village, as late 1901 and this design was observed in other Arkansas banks constructed in 1901.
By the 1912 Sanborn map for Lake Village, the building at 117 Main is identified as a bank. Stay tuned for what bank moved in, and the continuing story of banking in Lake Village.