New bank and post office block, Brookings Register – Aug. 6, 1903

Photo courtesy of Rude’s Furniture: Farmers National Bank, located at 314-16 N. Main on the east side of the street.

Looking back ... In the words of the Brookings Register

The Farmers National Bank and T.L. Chappell have just completed the finest business block in the city.  Of late years, some costly and handsome buildings have been erected in Brookings which have added much to the appearance of our business street.  

Mr. Chappell, one of the owners of this new block and who is the cashier of the Farmers National, has been the prime mover in this project and it is owing to his indomitable energy and push coupled with the intelligent cooperation of Contractor Ray that the building has been completed in such a remarkably short space of time.

The post office now occupies the first floor of the Chappell building, next door and the Farmers National is in possession of its splendid quarters.  The basement under the bank is already occupied by Mr. Farrand with his barber shop.

A beautiful structure

The structure was designed by Kinney & Detweiler, architects, of St. Paul, and presents a very imposing front built of stone and pressed brick.  The two buildings are so designed as to present the appearance of one fifty-foot block, the front being made to conform in all respects thereto.  They are connected by an arched vestibule, the arch being constructed of Portage Entry sandstone resting on two beautifully polished pillars of St. Cloud granite.  The base and capital of these pillars are of the same material but are carved in the rough and not polished.  The floor and steps in the vestibule are of Georgia marble.  The whole front, as will be seen by the engraving on another page, presents a harmonious whole from foundation to cap-stone and is a credit to the designers.

The bank building is 25x60 feet and the one occupied by the post office is 25x100 feet, and the plans have provided one of the best lighted and best ventilated inside buildings we have ever seen.

Nicely arranged post office

The post office is fitted with the finest kind of furnishings that money can buy.  Everything in wood being of quarter-sawed oak nicely fitted and polished. There are 500 keyless boxes with combination locks and a private compartment for paying and receiving money orders.  The post-master’s office is situated in front and is nicely arranged in connection with the rear of the post office.  The equipment is new and complete throughout and on account of the numerous rural routes running from this point considerable space is devoted to that department at the rear of the post office.  The lobby is sufficiently large to accommodate the public.

Farmers National Bank

The banking room of the Farmers National certainly a handsome, convenient, and commodious apartment.  The counter, desks, and partitions are of quarter-sawed oak all nicely finished and polished.  The counter is surmounted with plate glass and bronzed trimmings and has a heavy oak cornice.  The walls are nicely tinted and paneled, with ornamental consoles under the ends of the beams.

The teller’s department is caged in the latest and most approved manner giving to the gentlemen acting as such the greatest security possible.  The president’s office is located at the front with the cashier’s department adjoining.  The lobby is tiled with Georgia marble and the base of the counter, which runs the entire length of the room, is of Tennessee marble.  A large vault with steel doors opens out of this room and the latest and most approved steel money chest occupies the front window.

The directors’ room is at the rear of the banking department and is large and airy, finished in oak, and all its furnishings made to conform to the richness and beauty of the banking room.  Conveniently located to the directors’ room is a toilet and lavatory.  Access is also gained from the directors’ room to the safety deposit vault.  This vault is fitted with the latest and most approved lock boxes which are a novelty to the uninitiated.  These boxes are for rent to customers who desire to keep valuable papers and other things from destruction by fire.

The second floor of this block has been divided into office rooms and is reached by a central stairway between the two buildings.  A broad flight of stairs leads to a handsome and well lighted hallway.  The rooms on this floor are all finished in birch, in natural wood, and there is not one that is poorly lighted or ventilated.

Dr. Parsons has an office room 12x18 with an operating room of the same dimensions at the rear.  The doctor, as is well known, makes a specialty of the eye and ear.  Rooms 101, 102, and 103 will be occupied by Dr. Fee, dentist, and Dr. Miller, M.D.  These gentlemen have three rooms, two being 12x16 and one 16x18.  One will be used jointly by them as a reception room and parlor.

By turning to the right as you leave the stair landing you enter the reception room of Messrs. Jenkins and Wood Thompson.  These gentlemen have a suite of three rooms, the exact counter- part of those occupied by Drs. Fee and Miller.  Attorney Jenkins is the mayor of the city and Thompson is engaged in the real estate business here.  The real estate firm of Olinger & Cameron will occupy room 111, which is 12x18 and is behind those occupied by Dr. Parsons, while adjoining this office and right in front of you as you leave the stairs is room 108, which is occupied by Neil Stewart, a young lawyer who has recently moved here from Iowa.

There are three more rooms on this floor about 12x16, all pleasant and well lighted and ventilated, besides a toilet and lavatory.  The entire building will be heated by hot water and is wired throughout for electricity. Connections have been made with the sewer and city water plant is making it up-to-date and modern in every particular.

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