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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Abbeville in Abbeville County, South Carolina — The American South (South Atlantic)
 

Old Bank Building (ca. 1865)

 
 
Old Bank Buildng (ca. 1865) Marker image. Click for full size.
By Brian Scott, September 27, 2008
1. Old Bank Buildng (ca. 1865) Marker
Inscription.
Designed by S. Henry James to house first Bank of South Carolina in the Upstate (later became National Bank of Abbeville). One of oldest remaining buildings on the Square after a series of downtown fires in 1870s destroyed much of downtown.
Bank lobby features series of 1922 paintings by Wilbur Kurtz depicting a hundred years of Abbeville's history from Gen. Andrew Pickens to Jefferson Davis' Last War Council Meeting.
(Remained a bank until end of 1995 when donated to the City by Nations Bank.)

 
Erected by Abbeville County Historical Society.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the South Carolina, Abbeville County Historical Society/Commission, and the South Carolina, Abbeville Historical Sites Tour marker series.
 
Location. 34° 10.633′ N, 82° 22.733′ W. Marker is in Abbeville, South Carolina, in Abbeville County. Marker is on Court Square (State Highway 20) north of West Pickens Street, on the right when traveling south. Touch for map. Marker is directly across the square from the Humane Society Alliance Fountain, mounted to the left of the bank's front entrance. Marker is at or near this postal address: 107 Court Square, Abbeville SC 29620, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 10 other markers are within walking distance
Old Bank Building Now Home to the Welcome Center image. Click for full size.
By Brian Scott, September 27, 2008
2. Old Bank Building Now Home to the Welcome Center
Formerly the Bank of the State of South Carolina, here one can view five paintings giving a capsule history of Abbeville from the 1750s through Reconstruction. Visitors are invited to view these paintings which were done in 1922 by Wilbur Kurtz, historical consultant for Gone With the Wind. At the north end of the Square, you will note that many of the buildings are somewhat similar in design. Disastrous fires in the 1870s destroyed much of the area, with the Welcome Center building being one of the few to survive. The buildings were replaced in similar style making Abbeville square authentically Victorian. (Source: Historic Sites Tour of Abbeville County by the Abbeville Visitors Council (2010), pg 3.)
of this marker. Humane Society Alliance Fountain (1912) (within shouting distance of this marker); Abbeville County Confederate Monument (within shouting distance of this marker); "Big Bob" (within shouting distance of this marker); Abbeville Square (within shouting distance of this marker); The Law Offices of John C. Calhoun (within shouting distance of this marker); Abbeville Opera House (1908) (within shouting distance of this marker); Lynching of Anthony Crawford / Racial Violence in South Carolina (within shouting distance of this marker); Belmont Inn (1903) (within shouting distance of this marker); Abbeville County Courthouse (1908) (within shouting distance of this marker); Major Thomas Dry Howie (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Abbeville.
 
More about this marker. The Old Bank Building is included in the South Carolina Heritage Corridor. The usual Heritage Corridor marker is inside, near the entrance to the vault. Text and photos are shown below.
 
Regarding Old Bank Building (ca. 1865). The Old Bank Building is one of the properties listed on the original application for Abbeville District to be listed in the National Register of Historic Places. While the interior has been altered to include the
Old Bank Building image. Click for full size.
By Brian Scott, December 23, 2008
3. Old Bank Building
a visitor's center, the vault remains as do many of the original features such as the floor tile and marble accents. The Old Bank Building is home to the visitor's center, Chamber of Commerce, and the Abbeville Hall of Fame. It is the first stop on the Abbeville Historical Sites Tour.
 
Also see . . .
1. Abbeville Historic District. The Abbeville Historic District is comprised of a large portion of the city of Abbeville, the county seat of Abbeville County, South Carolina. Of the 528 properties in the district, 319 contribute to its historical character. (Submitted on September 29, 2008, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.) 

2. Wilbur G. Kurtz. Wilbur George Kurtz, who became known nationally as a Georgia artist-historian and a foremost authority on the Old South, humerously counted himself a "transplanted Yankee." (Submitted on October 10, 2010, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.) 

3. Wilbur George Kurtz (1882-1967). Although he was born, reared, and educated in the heart of the Midwest, Wilbur George Kurtz, Sr., was an artist almost entirely identified with the South, especially his adopted home state of Georgia. (Submitted on June 23, 2011, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.) 
 
Additional comments.
1. Bank of the State of South Carolina
Two-story, stuccoed brick bank building with central,
Old Bank Building Interior Marker and Bank Vault image. Click for full size.
By Brian Scott, September 10, 2010
4. Old Bank Building Interior Marker and Bank Vault
double door entrance flanked by paired, modern one-over-one windows. First story bays are defined by stuccoed pilasters. Above each of the first story bays is a semicircular plaster decoration.

Second story windows are two-over-two with paneled shutters. The metal cornice terminates in large brackets and has a dentil course. (Source: Abbeville Historic District National Register nomination form.)
    — Submitted November 15, 2009, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.

2. Old Bank Building: Abbeville's Home of Culture and History Marker
The Abbeville Welcome Center is located in this former bank. While visiting, take time to view the 1922 Wilbur Kurtz art collection and pick up information on Abbeville County's many historic and natural history sites.

Named after the city in France, Abbeville County has a rich historical and cultural heritage. The town of abbeville, the county seat, is known for its quaint tree-lined square with brick streets; the famous 1908 historic Opera House and its companion building, the Courthouse; the historic "pink" church, Trinity Episcopal, with its soring spire; the fine Victorian homes like the Burt-Stark Mansion, a National Historic Landmark. The town of Due West is home to the 19th century Erskine College campus. Explore the
Old Bank Building Interior Marker and Bank Vault image. Click for full size.
By Brian Scott, September 10, 2010
5. Old Bank Building Interior Marker and Bank Vault
county's natural resources and sample a variety of outdoor activities such as those found on Russell Lake, at Calhoun Falls State Recreation Area located on the lake shore, and Parsons Mountain in the Sumter National Forest.

The Grange
Constructed from local field stone as a WPA project in 1935 for the "Patrons of Husbandry."

Richard B. Russell Dam
The US Army Corps of Engineers began construction in 1976 to control flooding on this section of the Savannah River. The 26,650-acre lake reached full pool in 1984 and offers a wide range of outdoor activities.

Parsons Mountain
As one of several recreation areas in the Sumter National Forest, Parsons Mountain offers an extensive network of biking trails, a 26-mile horse trail, camping and swimming.

Calhoun Falls State Recreation Area
Located on the shores of Richard B. Russell Lake, the park contains a marina, boat ramps, campsites, meeting facility, swimming area and nature trails.

Erskine College
Located in the scenic town of Due West, this school was founded by the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church in 1839 and today is known for its high academic standards.

Trinity Episcopal Church
Built in the Gothic revival Style in 1860, this pink stuccoed brick structure is known for its stained glass windows and working
Old Bank Building Interior Marker image. Click for full size.
By Brian Scott, September 10, 2010
6. Old Bank Building Interior Marker
1860 Baker Tracker Organ.
    — Submitted October 10, 2010, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.

3. Benjamin Smith Barnwell
Benjamin Smith Barnwell — Bank cashier. Son of William and Sara (Gibbs) Barnwell of Beaufort, South Carolina. Was born February 8, 1834. He attended the Beaufort College several years. He married Mary Anna McCaslan of Abbeville County, December 10, 1867. For several years before the Civil War. he was in the counting house in Charleston and since the war he has been engaged in the mercantile business for fifteen years. In 1885 he established the National Bank of Abbeville, and has been cashier since that time. (Men of the Time - Schetches of Living Notables, A Biographical Encyclopedia of Contemporaneous South Carolina Leaders by J.C. GARL1NGTON (1902), pg 18.)
    — Submitted October 10, 2010, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.

 
Categories. Industry & Commerce
 
Bank Interior Seating Area<br>Note the Kurtz Paintings that Line the Wall image. Click for full size.
By Brian Scott, September 10, 2010
7. Bank Interior Seating Area
Note the Kurtz Paintings that Line the Wall
General Andrew Pickens (1739-1817) image. Click for more information.
By Wilbur George Kurtz, 1922
8. General Andrew Pickens (1739-1817)
General Pickens is pictured here with the Block House which he built to the east of the square as a refuge for women and children in the event of an Indian attack. His home was not far from the Block House and was burned by the Tories during the Revolution. The General owned much of the land that now makes up the city of Abbeville, and is largely responsible for the location of the town on its present site. The section of the town known as Fort Pickens was named in his honor and the spring in the rear of the courthouse was known for many years as Pickens' Big Spring.
Click for more information.
John Caldwell Calhoun (1782-1850) image. Click for more information.
By Wilbur George Kurtz, 1922
9. John Caldwell Calhoun (1782-1850)
John Caldwell Calhoun was a plantation owner, attorney and statesman. During his eventful life, he served as South Carolina State Representative, U.S. Congressman, Secretary of war under President Monroe, Vice President to John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson, U.S. Senator and Secretary of State under President Tyler. John C. Calhoun had seven children, and his favorite daughter, Anna, married the young, ambitious Thomas Green Clemson for whom Clemson agricultural & Mechanical College was named when it was founded in 1889. This painting depicts Calhoun, preparing for one his many trips to Washington, D.C. from Abbeville via stagecoach.
Click for more information.
The First Organized Mass Meeting for Secession image. Click for more information.
By Wilbur George Kurtz, 1922
10. The First Organized Mass Meeting for Secession
One of South Carolina's earliest organized mass meetings for secession was held in Abbeville on November 22, 1860. In this painting, Judge A.G. McGrath of Charleston, the principal speaker is seen making his argument in favor of secession. The other speakers that day were General M.L. Bonham, Congressman McGowan, Major Armistead Burt, and others of equal prominence.
Click for more information.
The Last Council of War Meeting of Confederate President Jefferson Davis with his Military Advisors image. Click for more information.
By Wilbur George Kurtz
11. The Last Council of War Meeting of Confederate President Jefferson Davis with his Military Advisors
Confederate President Jefferson Davis arrived in Abbeville on May 2, 1865. Still hopeful that he could rally his troops and defeat the North, Davis summoned his military chiefs to meet him in Major Armistead Burt's home. Jefferson Davis is depicted here making a last plea to continue fighting. The men shown in the full painting are Gen. John C. Vaughn, Brig. Gen. S.W. Ferguson, Gen. George C. Dibrell, Pres. Jefferson Davis, Sec. of State Judah P. Benjamin, Gen. John C. Breckinridge, Gen. Braxton Bragg, Brig. Gen. Basil W. Duke, and Col. William C.P. Breckinridge.
Click for more information.
Abbeville After the Civil War image. Click for full size.
By Wilbur George Kurtz, 1922
12. Abbeville After the Civil War
This painting shows Abbeville during the Reconstruction, before the park had been laid in the center of the square. The men are Mr. W. Joel Smith, Mr. G.A. Visanska, and Mr. L.W. White. They were instrumental in rebuilding the town's business and largely responsible for establishing the First National Bank of Abbeville. The bank building is seen in the background.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on September 29, 2008, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina. This page has been viewed 2,799 times since then and 40 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on September 29, 2008, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.   3. submitted on November 14, 2009, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.   4, 5, 6, 7. submitted on October 10, 2010, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.   8. submitted on May 9, 2009, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.   9, 10. submitted on November 15, 2009, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.   11. submitted on December 25, 2008, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.   12. submitted on November 15, 2009, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.
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