Planters Bank Building
The Planters Bank Building is a historical commercial structure located at 200 East Hale Avenue, at its intersection with Pecan Avenue, in Osceola (Mississippi County). Designed in 1920 by Missouri architect Uzell Singleton Branson, the building was originally constructed for the Citizens Bank. Upon the bank’s closure in 1928, the building became the home of First State Bank, which closed in 1930. For a number of years, the building was used by a large mercantile store. In 1943, the City of Osceola leased the building to house its city hall.
In May 1944, a citizens’ group that included Congressman William J. Driver of Osceola chartered a financial institution known as the Planters Bank. The new depository took over the former bank building, where it remained until its relocation on November 1, 1986. The building was then converted to a funeral home and later a church. However, due to the bank’s lengthy association with the building, it is still commonly known as the Planters Bank Building.
The two-story brick structure stands on a concrete foundation. It is distinguished by its Neo-Classical style, an anomaly among the blocks of unadorned buildings lining historic Hale Avenue. An elaborate wood cornice with garland wreaths wraps around the north and west elevations, featuring large dentils and a band of smaller dentils in the frieze. Pilasters (architectural elements used to give the appearance of supporting columns) with Doric caps top the cornice. On the west elevation, facing Pecan Avenue, pilasters are spaced between each of six large, arched windows, with the fifth window incorporating an alternate entry into the rear of the building. The façade of the building on Hale Avenue (north elevation) is marked by a formal triangular pediment and a formal entry. A garland design and a segmental pediment top the entrance, which is enclosed by fluted Doric columns. Pilasters, which surround rectangular plate-glass windows topped by small recessed square windows, flank both sides of the entrance.
The Planters Bank Building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1987. At that time, it had been in continuous use since its construction. However, the stately building has been unoccupied for much of the twenty-first century; the arched windows and side entrance have been boarded over. A comparison of vintage photographs with current images indicates that the side entrance on Pecan Avenue was modified and relocated, with the sixth window now completely sealed with masonry. In addition, a prominent bracket clock that extended from the corner pilaster at Hale and Pecan has been removed, along with the building’s nameplate.
For additional information:
“Planters Bank Building.” National Register of Historic Places nomination form. On file at Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, Little Rock, Arkansas. Online at http://www.arkansaspreservation.com/National-Register-Listings/PDF/MS0150.nr.pdf (accessed September 13, 2021).
Toney Butler Schlesinger
Granite Bay, California
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