Current view of the First National Bank
Courtesy of the Iowa Falls Historic Preservation Commission
The 1918 First National Bank is a fine, relatively unaltered, example
of Neo-Classical bank design from the second decade of this century, and demonstrates
the strong growth in Iowa Falls at that time. The current building replaced an
earlier brick bank building erected here in 1884. The first quarter of the century
was a period of growth for the entire community which lasted until the national
banking collapse closed First National's doors on December 21, 1932. The city
was without a bank until the Iowa Falls State Bank was organized and opened on
May 25, 1933.
The Lytle Company of Sioux City, which specialized in bank designs,
was the architectural firm hired to design First National Bank. It is known that
the firm designed at least 25 banks, primarily for Iowa communities. The architectural
firm achieved a rich surface pattern through the lavish use of terra cotta with
special colors of brick. When the bank opened, the blue-black exterior was described
as "Hy-tex Mission Chinchilla face brick, with vanilla and cream full enamel satin
finish terra cotta." The main entrance is flanked by monumental terra cotta free-standing
Corinthian columns resting on granite bases. The main doorway features a terra
cotta surround with a rich variety of Neo-classical details: egg and dart and
bead and reel moldings, rosettes, and a full denticulated entablature above. The
granite base, brick parapet, terra cotta cornice, and brick pilasters continue
around the east elevation with two-story windows placed between the pilasters.
The terra cotta detailing on this building is so rich that the producer, the American
Terra Cotta Company, featured a drawing of one of the capitals in its company
publication, Common Clay. The interior features a cashiers' counter and
side wall of green veined cream colored marble with a 10-inch Westfield green
marble base. The interior woodwork is of "Tabasco Mahogany."
National Bank Building is located at 601 Washington Ave., in Iowa Falls. The bank
is open to the public during normal business hours by appointment, 9:00am to 3:00pm
Monday-Friday. Please call 641-648-5171 for further information.