Shuttered Beverly bank at least has architectural richness

July 23, 2012

The temple-like bank in the Beverly neighborhood has sat empty for months now. Its altar, as it were, is barren.
 
But the former PNC Bank at 108th and Western has one good thing going for it: All things considered, it is pretty good piece of architecture. The building's design takes the "temple of money" architecture of old banks — columns and monumentality — and gives it a modernist turn.
 
Let's take a look around. Built in 1967 as Chesterfield Federal Savings & Loan, the flat-roofed, two-story building sits behind 54 precast concrete exterior columns. The four-foot break between the columns and the bank's exterior walls is pretty nice:
 
The columns and the roof structure were erected first, according to a Chicago Tribune story on the building's completion. The columns reportedly weigh 10,000 lbs each.
 
And here — when the building closed its doors as PNC Bank branch — the company removed its sign, revealing the ghost letters of the original Chesterfield Federal signage:

The bank was designed by architect William F. Cann who spent most of his career designing financial institutions for the Bank Building & Equipment Corporation of America, a St. Louis-based outfit responsible for another modernist gem, Illinois Service Federal Bank at 46th and King Drive.

Cann designed a number of notable midcentury bank buildings around the country, including this baby, a former Jamaica Savings branch in Queens NY. Bank Building & Equipment Corp., has an astounding body of midcentury work across the nation. Check out Jefferson Bank and Trust from 1956 in Jefferson City, MO and the pre-altered, former First National Bank Building in Denver.

The bank building in Beverly is for sale.