Saturday, July 25, 2009

Caldwell Commercial Bank/Bank & Trust Co.

You have probably seen other posts and pictures with the Caldwell Commercial Bank (a short time later changed to Caldwell Banking & Trust Co.). Here is additional information, some photos I have moved up from the un-archived section of the blog and an excerpt from Big Trouble by J. Anthony Lukas.
 The original bank building before it was extended to the left to form the "Steunenberg Block." We can see that it actually had three floors, two above ground level and one below. The lower floor is no longer visible today.
After the building had been extended to form the "Steunenberg Block."

The "Steunenberg Block" in Caldwell, Idaho
Looking toward the intersection of 7th and Main Street with the bank building in the background and the Saratoga Hotel on the corner across the street.
 The main floor showing the cashier's cages. That is A.K. Steunenberg at the rear window.
At the near window I believe that is L.S. Dille.
Written on the back of the previous photograph. This was an original photo from the family that somehow ended up on eBay. I was able to rescue and bring it home. "Caldwell Commercial Bank about 1900. Property of Carrie M. Steunenberg." Carrie was A.K.'s wife and quite active in Caldwell, ID social circles.
The bank building as it appears today, home of the Acapulco Restaurant upstairs and I believe still vacant downstairs. You can see that the arched widows and other architectural features have (unfortunately) been considerably modified. However, the rest of the Steunenberg block to the left retains its original architectural integrity. The Mexican food is pretty good at the Acapulco, staff are friendly, and if you can get that front corner booth you will be sitting in Frank's office.
"The governor had good reason to be proud of the bank he and his brother (A.K. Steunenberg) had erected the previous year at a cost of $20.000. Seeking something very distinctive, the Steunenbergs had turned to Idaho's preeminent architects, J. E. Tourtellotte and Company of Boise, who produced a structure quite unlike anything in town--a graceful building, perhaps a bit eccentric, but right up-to-date in the commercial style...Two stories high, the bank's red-brink facade was broken by rows of great white arches framing the windows. On the Main Street side, a stairway led down to Hart Norman's popular O.K. Barbershop, while a Romanesque doorway opened on a marble stairway leading up to the bank proper. The high ceiling main banking room presented a row of ornate brass tellers' cages across the rear wall and desks for junior officers up front; to the left and up a steep stairway was the Steunenberg brothers' three-room executive suite. Clerks filled the first room. As befitted a former governor, Frank occupied the spacious corner office, bathed in light from the arched windows. A.K., the adjacent room, overlooking Seventh Avenue. Office space in the rear was rented to John Rice and the Rocky Mountain Bell Telephone Company. All the offices, and the connecting hallway, were lined with polished oak wainscoting, lending those chambers a sobriety distinctive in that raw town-scape."--From Big Trouble by J. Anthony Lukas

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