Tempe National Bank Building

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Survey Number: n/a
Year Built: 1912
Architectural Style: Egyptian Revival Style


BACKGROUND + STATUS
An application for the designation of the above-referenced property as a Tempe Historic Property and listing in the Tempe Historic Property Register was submitted by the property owner, 526 Mill LLC. The application has been reviewed by the Historic Preservation Office and all requirements for notification, posting and advertisement, as set forth in Chapter 14A “Historic Preservation” of the Tempe City Code, have been met and a public hearing set. The present function of the property/district is a commercial /retail building zoned CC, City Center, and identified as “Mixed Use” in General Plan 2030.

HISTORY
The historic 1912 Tempe National Bank building survives as Tempe’s most tangible evidence of an institution that made significant contributions to the broad patterns of community history and development. The Tempe National Bank was established on January 4, 1901, by pioneer Tempe businessmen and agriculturalists in a demonstration of optimism and commitment to the future of the community.

The historic 1912 Tempe National Bank building stands in testimony of earlier community aspirations and ambitions. Spared from proposed demolition at the onset of the 21st century, the 2005 interpretive rehabilitation of the structure retains the original scale and proportion of the landmark 1912 property as it continues to define the southern gateway to historic Mill Avenue in Tempe.

Paul Hughes writing in the 1971 publication “Bank Notes” First National Bank of Arizona provides the following summary of the inception of the bank.

“[N]owhere was there greater optimism than in Tempe, the village named by Lord Darrell Duppa after the classic Vale of Tempe in ancient Greece. The town refused the temptation to stand in the shadow of Phoenix, just across the River; it insisted on an identity of its own.’

The Normal School was turning out more and more teachers every year, young people prepared to do battle against ignorance on all fronts. And the farming country around the town, fed by waters siphoned laboriously from the Salt, was just about the richest to be found anywhere; apparently it would grow anything. As the new century opened, it was growing a few experimental acres of Egyptian long-staple cotton, already pronounced the best in the whole nation.’

Establishment of a bank seemed a normal part of the expansionist sentiment. And its birth coincided almost precisely with the beginning of the 20th century. It was on January 4, 1901, that the stockholders assembled for the first time. They got together in the offices of Charles Woolf, a pioneer attorney. And when they emerged, they had created the Tempe National Bank.’

The first stockholders included Carl Hayden, of the family that had settled the town, C. G. Jones was elected president; A. C. Ozanne vice-president; and W. H. Wilbur cashier, at a salary of $75 a month. In virtually no time at all, Tempe National Bank was helping to irrigate the desert with its own variety of liquid assets.” p.37

From its establishment in 1901, the bank operated under the control and direction of the community’s most intrepid pioneers. The following biographical vignettes illuminate the founding stockholders. W. A. Bolton, early Tempe insurance and real estate broker. Michael Edward Curry, Sr., Tempe City Councilman and founder of the Tempe Hardware Company. Carl Trumbull Hayden, Arizona's longtime Congressman and Senator, his record for fifty-six consecutive years of service in the Congress, including an unprecedented forty-two in the Senate, was unsurpassed at the time of his retirement. Cyrus Grant Jones, first president of the Tempe National Bank and alfalfa farmer in Tempe. Albert E. Miller, son of Tempe pioneer Winchester Miller, a farmer, rancher, a director of the Tempe Irrigating Canal Company, and president of the Arizona Mercantile Company (In 1900, Miller constructed the Miller Block building). Alfred Carre Ozanne, first vice-president of the Tempe National Bank. Amanda Richards, founding director of the First Christian Church of Tempe incorporated 1898. William Rohrig, well-to-do Tempe rancher and farmer in 1898 he donated land for construction of the Rohrig School. Wolf Sachs, prominent Arizona cattle rancher, freighter and merchant. Sachs became one of the Valley's most influential citizens and, in 1896, he became one of the first elected members of the Tempe Town Council. Ethelbert Willis Wilbur, organizer of the Mesa City Bank and a member of the committee that developed the Articles of Incorporation for the Salt River Valley Water Users' Association. Walter H. Wilbur, first cashier of the Tempe National Bank and a leading financier of Maricopa County, son of E. W. Wilbur. James W. Woolf, Tempe rancher served in the Arizona Territorial Legislature in 1897 and in 1903 and later formed a partnership with builder Milton H. Meyer to start a local concrete block manufacturing industry.

Throughout its long history, the Tempe National Bank would continue to enjoy the attention of Tempe’s most prominent citizens and remain intimately linked to the development and progress of the community. Thanks Anderson, Mayor of Tempe from 1930-1932 and 1934-1937, began his banking career here in 1915 and went on to become branch manager and then vice-president of the bank. Joseph Birchett was director of the Tempe National Bank as well as mayor of Tempe from 1912 to 1914. Benjamin Baker Moeur, a physician and businessman in Tempe, also served two terms as Governor of Arizona had his practice in the building. Harvey Samuel Harelson started working as a teller at the bank, became assistant cashier and assistant manager. He operated the Harelson Insurance Agency and served on the Tempe City Council from 1924 to 1928, member of Tempe Union High School District governing board from 1928 to 1943. Charles C. Woolf, Tempe City Attorney, was active in the Phoenix Title and Abstract Company, the Tempe Water Development Company, the Salt River Valley Water Users Association and the Tempe-Mesa Produce Company and had his offices in the building.

Many of these community leaders influenced history through a myriad of individual accomplishments and achievements. Through their concerted actions as directors of the Tempe National Bank, however, each has left a legacy of community development, progress, and prosperity that the historic 1912 Tempe National Bank building continues to recall.

The Tempe National Bank was Tempe’s first national bank. Since its founding in 1864, the national banking system combined a local presence with a national perspective. Located in communities throughout the country, national banks are supervised locally by examiners who understand the people and the economies their banks serve. Each national bank is part of a strong nationwide system, administered by the Comptroller of the Currency, who represents that system in Congress, in the public arena, and in the courts. By blending local presence with national perspective, National Banks are able to bring the benefits of sophisticated and responsive bank supervision and a fully competitive national charter.

CONTEXT
The building under consideration for listing in the Tempe Historic Property Register opened for business on June 28, 1912, the bank having grown as a financial institution in the stimulating atmosphere of progress then requiring larger facilities. The Tempe National Bank building is associated with the context of Commerce/Banking. Tempe National Bank financed agricultural projects in Tempe and throughout the valley. Its earliest investments in sugar cane and sugar beet crops along with the Southwestern Sugar Company in Glendale proved unprofitable when the factory failed but it had significant success in the cotton industry. The bank was instrumental in the development of long-staple “Egyptian” cotton as a Valley crop, and built the first long-staple cotton gin in the United States with equipment shipped from England. The bank’s plant at Seventh Street and Ash Avenue later became the Tempe Cotton Exchange.

Located on Mill Avenue next to the 1898 Tempe Hardware Building in downtown Tempe, the 1912 Egyptian Revival structure was the work of Phoenix architect Leighton Green Knipe. Knipe designed the 1914 Tempe City Hall and the 1914 ASU Industrial Arts Building before going on to plan the design of the town of Litchfield Park in 1918.

In light of his more traditional, neoclassical designs for campus buildings and city hall, the Egyptian Revival style chosen for the bank building marked a departure for both the architect and the community. The extant structure is believed to be the first commercial building constructed in this idiom in Arizona. Egyptian Revival is arguably one of the most dramatic and enigmatic of all historic architectural styles remaining largely obscure throughout each wave of revival expression. In fact this form emerged in the United States around 1820, flourished somewhat during the period 1830-1850 primarily for memorials, cemeteries, and prisons, and made a brief comeback during the 1920s with the Art Deco style and the fascination with the discovery of King Tutankhamen's tomb in 1922. At no time, however, could it approach the predominance of the other classical revivals.

Much speculation exists as to how Knipe determined that this monumental structure should be executed in the enigmatic Egyptian Revival. Historian Ted Siefer, in his “History of the Tempe National Bank Building” notes that several of the bank’s founders were members of the Masonic society wherein Egyptian symbolism is common to both structures and ritual. Mr. Siefer also notes the bank’s ties to agriculture and at the time of construction, increasingly to cotton.

While Phoenix pursued its dream of becoming the leading commercial and political center of Arizona, Tempe remained strongly committed to agriculture. The fields surrounding Tempe were productive and profitable. Initially, Tempe's prosperous economy was based on year-round production of alfalfa and grain. After 1912, local farmers shifted increasingly to cotton production. Two cotton gins were built within the city limits, and buying agents for eastern mills opened offices on Mill Avenue. There was an immediate boom in the growing of highly profitable Pima long-staple cotton. However, a global post-World War I depression loomed, and cotton prices suddenly plummeted. The Cotton Crash of 1920 was a devastating blow for Tempe and all of central Arizona. Farmers defaulted on their loans, and businesses that relied on their patronage went bankrupt. It would take two decades for Tempe to fully recover from this catastrophe.

CHRONOLOGY
January 4, 1901 Tempe National Bank established by pioneer Tempe businessmen and agriculturalists

January 7, 1901 Tempe National Bank shareholders elect first bank officers; C. G. Jones – President, A. C. Ozanne – vice-president, W. H. Wilbur – cashier.

March, 1901 Tempe National Bank receives Charter Number 5720 “The Tempe National Bank, Arizona” from the Comptroller of the Currency with $25,000.00 authorized and paid-in capital.

March 15, 1901 Tempe National Bank opened for business in the offices of bank president C. G. Jones located at the Miller Block building on the southeast corner of Fifth Street and Mill Avenue.

December, 1901 Year-end deposits reported at $46,733 with loans of $51,405 indicating rigorous investments. Gross earnings reported at $4,435 net $1,733 and surplus $385.

October 27, 1911 Tempe Daily News reports W. J. Rifley of Phoenix is building contractor for new Tempe National Bank building. L. G. Knipe of Phoenix is architect (TDN 01/26/12). Fixtures installed (TDN 05/17/12)

June 28, 1912 Tempe National Bank opens new building at Sixth Street and Mill Avenue, staff stayed until 9:30 at night to accommodate the crowds.

1921-1930’s Tempe National Bank building extensively remodeled, although the original entrance façade remained intact.

December, 1934 Year-end paid-in capital reported (just prior to merger to become Tempe Branch of Phoenix National Bank) $50,000.

1935 First National Bank of Arizona merged with the Phoenix National Bank, purchased the Tempe National Bank, the Miners and Merchants Bank of Bisbee, and the Phoenix Savings Bank & Trust Company.

First National Bank.of Arizona merged with the Bank of Arizona

1950’s Tempe National Bank building extensive renovation leaves building virtually unrecognizable.

1954 Thanks Anderson retires

INTEGRITY
Hidden beneath a stucco skin, the Tempe National Bank building was handsomely detailed and constructed in the Egyptian Revival Style.

The Goodwin Building is Tempe’s only one story cast-iron storefront commercial building still in existence and it retains a significant portion of its integrity. The south two bays of the storefront retain most of the original character while the north two bays were modified in the 1950’s. The south bays feature recessed windows in wooden frames, T&G ceilings, transom windows and cast iron pilasters. The storage units constructed in 1917 and 1925 remain intact with a small late concrete block addition on the north warehouse. Between 1990 and 1991 the two north bays were restored to a similar appearance as the south two bays utilizing the original color palette. The canopy above the entrance was replaced with a metal awning on the original frame. The canopy was installed on an angle to allow a pedestrian view of the transom windows.

SIGNIFICANCE
From its establishment in 1901, the bank operated under the control and direction of some of the community’s most intrepid pioneers. First stockholders were: W. A. Bolton, M. E. Curry, Sr., Carl Hayden, C. G. Jones – President, Albert Miller, A. C. Ozanne – vice-president, Amanda Richards, William Rohrig, Wolf Sachs, Dr. M. J. Scroggs, E. W. Wilbur, W. H. Wilbur – cashier, and J. W. Woolf.

This property is both architecturally and historically significant. The Goodwin Building represents the best remaining example of a once common type of commercial structural system, namely the cast-iron façade. Through numerous tenant changes, the building has maintained structurally unique features including the cast iron pilasters and the double steel “I” beams that span the storefront openings. A portion of the original glass and wood storefronts still remain especially above the transom beam. Some unusual turn buckle rods support the transom beam from the above “I“ beam. The original brick walls, roof structural system, and T&G ceilings also remain intact. The storage additions constructed in 1917 & 1925 are still in use on the site and remain intact.

The Goodwin Building is historically significant due to its association with Garfield Abram Goodwin. He had a long term commitment to Tempe and Arizona State Teachers College (ASU). He served on the City Council of Tempe and was the Mayor between 1922- 1928. He was on the Board of Education for Arizona State Teachers College in the 1930’s and 1940’s. He was also a long time member of the Tempe Chamber of Commerce and the Tempe Rotary Club.

The subject property appears to meet the following criteria for designation, as found in section 14A-4 (a) of the Tempe City Code.

1. It meets the criteria listing on the Arizona or National Register of Historic Places (this property was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on 7 May 1984);

2a. It is found to be of exceptional significance and expresses a distinctive character, resulting from:

A significant portion of it is at least 50 years old

It is reflective of the city’s cultural, social, political or event significant in local, state or national history.

RECOMMENDATION
Historic Preservation staff recommends that the Historic Preservation Commission approve the nomination and recommend to the Planning and Zoning Commission and City Council that the property be designated as a Tempe Historic Property.

Note: Per Chapter 14-A of the Tempe City Code, the application, if approved by HPC, will be forwarded to the Planning and Zoning Commission (PZC) for public hearing and action.

REFERENCES
Blanc, Tara A. (Ed) – 2005: “Tempe National Bank building gets facelift” in Tempe Town News Volume 2, Issue 12, December 2005.

Farish, Thomas Edwin – 1918: “History of Arizona Vol. 6”, Filmer Brothers, San Francisco.

Hughes, Paul – 1971: “Bank Notes” history of the First National Bank of Arizona, Phoenician Books.

Kelley, Michael Wilson – 2000: “Tempe National Bank August 8, 2000 MCW Holdings, LLC” Unpublished manuscript – Tempe Historic Preservation Office.

McClintock, James H. – 1916: “Arizona, Prehistoric, Aboriginal, Pioneer, Modern Volumes 1 & 2” – S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., Chicago.

Peplow, Edward H., Jr. – 1970: “The Taming of the Salt”, Salt River Project, Phoenix.

Plaza-Manning, Heather – 1999: “Egyptian Revival Style related to the history of American Architecture”, Thesis – Historic Preservation Program School of the Art Institute, Chicago.

Siefer, Stu – 1005: quoted in “Tempe National Bank building gets facelift”, Tempe Town News Volume 2, Issue 12, December 2005.

Siefer, Ted – 2003: “Buried Treasure; a history of the Tempe National Bank Building”, Unpublished manuscript – Tempe Historic Preservation Office.

Vinson, Mark (Ed.) – 2003: “Three Decades of Development; Tempe downtown redevelopment guide”, Community Development Department, Tempe.

RELATED DOCUMENTS
Staff Report to Historic Preservation Commission :: 9 FEB 2006 [.pdf]

City Council Staff Summary Report :: 20 April 2006 /clerk/history_03/20060420dssa05.pdf