Modernist Standard Bank saved? Well, no...and yes

March 23, 2010

When this blog began in January chronicling the demolition of postwar-mod Standard Bank at 95th and Western, the one bit of information I wish‚ had then--but could not find--was the‚ name of the architect who designed the‚ building.

Then a few weeks after the building had been turned to rubble, I got my answer:‚  John L. Bartolomeo.‚ The architect's son, Louis, told me when he left a comment thanking me for my post. He also said:

"It drove me to tears to watch these slides. I kept thinking that one doesn't do this to a man who is still alive.‚  Just three blocks west of this building, another one of my father's buildings, The Martinique Restaurant and Drury Lane Theater was also demolished to make way for another, gag, Wal*Mart.‚  I haven't told my father about Lawn Savings thinking that if the destruction of the Drury Lane didn't kill him, this one would."

Louis and I now trade email about once a week. Earlier this month,‚ he sent me‚ this photo of a coin bank of the Standard Bank Building, made during its earlier incarnation as Lawn Savings & Loan:

Pretty cool, eh?‚  Standard Bank lives on in the form of these banks. The younger Bartolomeo says he finds them on ebay. I took a look last night and found one for $30. The Banthrico (short for Banker's Thrift Company, a business started in Chicago) made these babies and more in the 1950s, using a mix of zinc, aluminum and copper.

Louis also sent me a list of his father's modernist‚ work around town.‚  I'll profile some of the buildings has spring unfolds. Meanwhile, John Bartolomeo, now in his 80s, left the architecture field about 20 years ago to become a sculptor and jeweler in Arizona.