MHPC Nominates First National Bank for National Register of Historic Places
The Morrison Historic Preservation Commission (MHPC) is applying to nominate an appropriate portion of the community’s commercial district to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP), a listing of spaces, structures or areas recognized to be of national historic, cultural or architectural importance.
With the assistance of consultants, the MHPC has spent months researching and writing the substance of our application. In the hopes that the community will find the information contained therein both interesting and informative, we will be running, one at a time, in no particular order, over the next year, the architectural and historical description of each building included.
The first week’s report is for the nomination of the First National Bank of Morrison.
Contributing Category: The term “contributing” means that the structure lies within an historic district and adds to the architectural or historic significance of the same as a whole. If it is within the boundaries of the district, but does not so supplement, it is deemed “non-contributing.”
Description: Large three-story corner brick building with painted brick exterior. The west storefront (129 East Main) of the main elevation (north) has been altered with two recessed entry doors (first story and upstairs) and aluminum display window with a mullion. The recessed entry and display window openings have chamfered top corners and the storefront is pargeted (a strip of black structural glass separates the doors). The storefront sill is covered with square, checkered, black and white tile.
The east storefront (131 East Main) is historic with three semicircular openings (one door and two windows) with segment top transoms, wood display windows, glass and wood door, and recessed brick bulkheads (pargeted).
The upper facade features six segmental arch window openings per story. All but one segment top wood double-hung window are rectangular replacements. A deeply projecting wood cornice with scrollwork brackets and a dentil band spans the width of the parapet and wraps around the corner onto the side and rear elevations.
The side elevation (east) features five first story windows and two door openings. One door and window openings have been infilled with brick, while the second door opening at the southeast corner was altered and made smaller than original. The upper facade has five window openings per story. The openings and windows match those of the main elevation.
The rear elevation (south) likewise has segmental arch window openings on each floor, which have been mostly preserved with some minor alterations and infill. At the west end of the first story are three historic semicircular arch openings with segment top wood transoms and wood double-hung windows.
History: Built by E.B. Stiles and D.B. McMaster to house their banking establishment which through several mergers became the First National Bank of Morrison under the direction of Leander Smith and A.J. Jackson. The bank was in the east half of the first floor, while the west half was used by a grocery store. In 1874, the First National Bank of Morrison became the first bank in the country to install a time lock vault system, invented by Sergeant and Greenleaf of Rochester, New York, and installed under the personal direction of James Sergeant. The bank remained at this location until it closed on March 6, 1933.
The first story shared space with the post office from 1892 until 1934 when a new building was constructed at 226 West Main. In the 1950s, it was the Cozy Corner Café. The basement of the building housed a pool hall and a barber shop, while the second floor served as offices. The open third floor was used for various meetings, social events, and the Masonic Lodge. It was also home of the original Morrison Literary and Scientific Association which later morphed into the community’s public library and subsequently occupied what is now known as the “Odell Building”- listed on the National Register in 1996.