Modern Banking in Downtown Jackson

First National Bank (now Trustmark Bank), Jackson

First National Bank (now Trustmark Bank), Jackson

I found this to-die-for postcard showing Jackson’s Trustmark Bank (formerly First National Bank) building a few weeks ago and was surprised to win it on eBay. Opened in 1956, the building was designed by two Jackson architectural firms, James T. Canizaro and Overstreet, Ware & Ware and it was constructed by Southeastern Construction Company based in Charlotte, NC.

A friend who knows all about mid-century banks sent me a copy of an article that appeared in The American Banker, Sept. 27, 1956 edition, just before the building opened. This is such a great article I have to share it with you:

JACKSON, Miss: Plans are under way for the formal opening of the First National Bank’s new 14-story bank and office building on Monday, October 1. A formal ribbon-cutting ceremony will begin a day filled with several events. All this week, groups of Mississippi and out-of-State bankers, Government officials, stockholders, employees and others are being entertained at special preview showings which will climax with a series of luncheons, dinners and entertainment.

First National will occupy three and one-half floors of the 206,000 square foot building. The main banking lobby and loan departments are located on the ground floor; the safe deposit boxes, vaults, cafeteria and supply rooms on the basement level; the clerical, operating and trust departments on the second floor, and the board of directors’ room and executive offices on the third floor.

Mechanical Equipment on the Roof

The building is modern in design, both inside and out. One of its most unusual features is the location of the mechanical equipment on the roof, rather than in the basement. This equipment is hidden by a green “butterfly” louvered screen with eight-foot red letters, “First National Bank,” emblazoned across the top of the building. The chief building materials are glass and buff brick, combined with limestone, granite and aluminum.

Parking Garage Going Up

Scheduled for completion in the near future is a 330-car parking garage which is under construction behind the bank building. This concrete and steel garage has six levels, which open directly into the bank and building.

The basement is devoted to storage and other bank purposes, the ground level features drive-up teller windows and the top four levels are devoted to parking for bank customers and tenants.

Officials of First National Bank are expecting sizable crowds at the grand opening.

Two photos supplement the story, including one of the banking floor. Neither photo is decent enough for scanning since they’re copies of a copy, but the caption of the interior reads, “Architect’s sketch of lobby of new building. Designed in aluminum and walnut, lobby is spacious with ‘floating’ ceiling panels.” The lobby is still really intact, including the floating ceiling panels, which I seem to recall are a vivid blue.



Categories: Architectural Research, Banks, Cool Old Places, Jackson

2 replies

  1. I will make a note to examine this building more carefully the next time I visit Jackson. I don’t think I’ve ever been inside. I hope there are no plans to ‘update” the building with reflective glass or anything like that.

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  2. I hope not too! I certainly haven’t heard of any, but that may not mean anything. The banking floor is really intact–original open plan (although with a few recent partitions that are nice and in keeping with the wood of the rest of the area but break up the openness a little), original teller desks with the frosted glass little doors they can close when they go on break or whatever, aluminum fixtures, and that floating ceiling. I mean, it’s very low-key and straight-laced Modernism and even though it’s my bank, it took me a while to look around and notice how very cool it is. Check it out next time you’re in town!

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