Address: One South Main Street
Architectural Style: Colonial Revival; Vernacular Italianate
Year Built: 1955; addition 1994
Architect/Builder: Unknown
Original Owner: First-Knox National Bank

The First-Knox National Bank, the largest and oldest financial institution in Knox County, began in 1847 as the Knox County Bank.  The first Board of Directors consisted of the following Mount Vernon businessmen: Henry B. Curtis, a locally prominent attorney who organized the bank and served as its first president; Columbus Delano, who later became a United States Congressman and a member of the Cabinet under President Grant; Jesse B. Thomas, a local judge and former United States Senator for the State of Illinois; Dr. John W. Russell, a widely known physician; and Sewell Gray, a prominent citizen involved in local political affairs.  The Knox County Bank was nationalized in 1865 as the Knox County National Bank, reorganized in 1885 to for the Knox National Bank, and in 1939, the institution merged with the First National Bank of Mount Vernon to become First-Knox National Bank, as it is known today.

Like many other civic and financial institutions in Mount Vernon that were constructed in the mid-20th century, the First-Knox National Bank contributes to the Colonial Revival architectural movement throughout Mount Vernon, giving the city its epithet of The Colonial City.  The entrance is clearly marked by a large belvedere with a clock and weather vane, a gable with cornice returns, and a central oculus window.  Another defining features is the 2nd-story Palladian window and the ground-level entrance with large transom.

The large four-story addition to the rear of the main Bank building was constructed in 1994 to provide additional space needed for the successful operation of the Bank's main branch.  This addition does well to blend with the historical character of the downtown district by using modern interpretations of traditional Italianate architectural features, which is the predominant style of the surrounding commercial buildings.  The design imitates, in height and style, the Banning Block, a series of four Italianate buildings that were originally located behind the 1955 Colonial Revival building.

 


 

Downtown District

District Properties