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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Owatonna in Steele County, Minnesota — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)
 

National Farmer's Bank of Owatonna

 
 
National Farmer's Bank of Owatonna Marker image. Click for full size.
By Thomas Onions, September 20, 2009
1. National Farmer's Bank of Owatonna Marker
Inscription. Banker Carl Bennett wanted more than a prominent new building to house his family's business. He wanted a work of art. Bennett's search for an architect led him in 1906 to Louis Sullivan, one of the country' most inventive designers. Together they created a magnificent home for the National Farmers' Bank in the heart of downtown Owatonna. This brilliant collaboration of patron and architect produced what many consider the finest small-town bank in America.

After helping to make Chicago the country's architectural capital in the 1890's. Sullivan came through with a bank design for Owatonna unlike any other. Believing that function and form of a building should complement one another, he conceived a structure resembling a treasure chest, a fitting image for a bank that housed people's savings.

Sullivan chose for his bank a theme he used often - an arch within a square - then attached to it a rectangular office building. He combined those simple, monumental shapes with complex ornamental details that bring the building to life. Set in sandstone-and-brick walls are two huge stained-glass windows, each framed by a wide band of terra cotta- a hard, molded clay-accented by a narrow band of glass mosaic.

The architect did not create this masterpiece alone. His sketches were completed by his draftsmen, George
National Farmer's Bank of Owatonna Marker image. Click for full size.
By Thomas Onions, September 20, 2009
2. National Farmer's Bank of Owatonna Marker
Marker & Bank
Elmslie, who designed much of the ornamentation and went on to become a noted Minnesota architect. Joining them were a team of skilled craftsmen who created the ornate interior- "color symphony" of painted plaster, stained glass, and huge cast-iron chandeliers. The finished bank was dedicated in 1908.

Remodelings have altering some of the interior features. But much of the original splendor of Louis Sullivan's bank remains. In 1976 it was designated a National Historic Landmark.
 
Erected 1999 by Minnesota Historical Society.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Minnesota Historical Society, and the National Historic Landmarks marker series.
 
Location. 44° 5.076′ N, 93° 13.541′ W. Marker is in Owatonna, Minnesota, in Steele County. Marker is at the intersection of East Park Square and Broadway Street, on the left when traveling north on East Park Square. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Owatonna MN 55060, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 3 other markers are within 7 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Rock Island Railway Station 1901 (approx. 0.3 miles away); Medford's Last Carriage Stone (approx. 6.3 miles away); Minnesota State Schools (approx. 6.9 miles away).
 
More about this marker.
National Farmer's Bank of Owatonna Marker image. Click for full size.
By Thomas Onions, September 20, 2009
3. National Farmer's Bank of Owatonna Marker
Front of Bank
Marker is in the northeast corner of City Park. Parking is available around the park.
 
Also see . . .
1. Owatonna Chamber of Commerce & Tourism. Official website for the City of Owatonna. (Submitted on October 12, 2009, by Thomas Onions of Olathe, Kansas.) 

2. Discover Owatonna's Place in History. Link to a Historic Walking Tour of Owatonna. (Submitted on October 12, 2009, by Thomas Onions of Olathe, Kansas.) 
 
Categories. Industry & CommerceLandmarksNotable BuildingsNotable Persons
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on October 12, 2009, by Thomas Onions of Olathe, Kansas. This page has been viewed 1,143 times since then and 47 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on October 12, 2009, by Thomas Onions of Olathe, Kansas. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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