National Bank Corner 1889

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Springfield Journal Register, date of paper which originally published the following is unknown.

If you visualized yourself standing near the corner of 5th and Washington, about where the entrance of the Myers building is now located, and looked across the intersection to the northeast, back in 1889, this is how the old Illinois National Bank corner would appear to you in that quiet era! Springfield was then a city of about 25,000 population. Considering the incessant flow of traffic there today, the corner seems very quiet indeed. Comparatively few people were passing and horse-drawn streetcars and other vehicles, with a few bicycles, met the transportation requirements. The modest two-story brick building with its old-fashioned slanting roof, in which the Illinois National had started business only three years before, contrasts greatly with the present bank building - which, erected in 1893, was Springfield's first fireproof building, likewise its first "skycraper". The officers of the bank at that time were: Dewitt Smith, President; Col. John Williams, first vice-president; Frank Reisch, second vice-president; B. R. Hieronymus, cashier. Henry Merriam is the sold survivor of the organization of that period, having started in as a bookkeeper, and still retaining his connection as a vice-president and director. This early building, incidentally, was the first home of the First National Bank from 1863 to 1878, when it moved to its second building on the northeast corner of the Square. The law firm of Orendorff & Patton then had offices in the second floor, and among the business firms north of the bank on that side of the street were the Henson Robinson Company, the only one left today; Sam Bonansinga and Dominick Maggenti, fruit stores, Levi Harris, clothier, and the North Side Furniture Store. The Orpheum Theatre Building and modern store fronts have transformed the appearance of that whole block. Time marches on!

Submitted by: Jeanie Lowe.