What Jackson’s Trustmark Bldg Might Have Looked Like

I love alternate history, where an author changes a small event in history and takes what follows to a different conclusion than what actually happened. Preliminary renderings of buildings are a real-live version of alternate history, and it’s fun, in a nerdy way, to notice what was changed from the early version and wonder why and imagine what might have been.

Our own crack researcher Carunzel found this rendering in a Nov 1954 Jackson Daily News issue after the recent post about the opening of what is now the Trustmark headquarters building in downtown Jackson (“Modern Banking in Downtown Jackson”). It’s a preliminary rendering of the building drawn by Robert Earle Farr, presumably later of the firm Cook-Douglas-Farr (Carunzel knows more about him and I’m sure will chime in here) for the associated firms of N.W. Overstreet and James Canizaro.

Preliminary rendering of First National Bank (now Trustmark) in downtown Jackson by Bob Farr for N.W. Overstreet and James T. Canizaro

It appears from this rendering that the original plan was for the building to be covered with a screen of some kind–could it possibly be wood? or more likely concrete on both of the primary facades. As you know, as built, the narrower facade on the left has a limestone veneer, while the longer elevation has ribbon windows slightly recessed from the walls at each end. That recess could easily have accommodated a screen like this, but for some reason that plan was scrapped. Was it money or taste or a combination of the two? Does it have something to do with the indication from the rendering that the main entrance was originally intended to be on the West Street (longer) face, while as built the primary bank entrance is on the Capitol Street facade? Maybe limestone was considered more “bankish” and more conservative than the screen–too liberal and chancy.

First National Bank (now Trustmark Bank), Jackson

The roof treatment was also altered a bit in the final version, with an asymmetrical screen covering the mechanical equipment instead of this modern arcade treatment shown here. That arcade (or roof noodle, as a commenter on Flickr called it) reminds me of a bank building that got built a few years later in Pascagoula.

Hancock Bank (1961), Pascagoula

Thanks Carunzel for sending this along and giving us an alternate history of Jackson’s mid-century modern skyscraper!



Categories: Architectural Research, Banks, Recent Past

7 replies

  1. I think I like it better with the brise-soleil. These alternate versions of history are fun to learn about. Did you know that Dumas Milner wanted to do the same thing to the King Edward? I wish I could find that rendering- it should exist somewhere.

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  2. Really?? Wow, I can’t even imagine it!

    I like the idea and maybe would have liked to see it on the West Street facade, but on both facades as in the rendering looks like it might have been overwhelming–maybe too much of a good thing?

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  3. Roof-noodle!!!! Hilarious! I agree, the screen might have been cool on the long sides, but it would have been too much all over.

    Bob Farr (yes, of Cooke-Douglas-Farr) built a lot of the houses in the south Jackson Alta Woods neighborhood. He also designed All Saints Episcopal Church in south Jackson (where I grew up) and was a founding member of the church. It’s an adorable little modern A-frame church off Daniel Lake Blvd. I wish I knew of other projects; I’m sure there are some bigger ones out there. Farr’s son or maybe even grandson now runs the firm; I think he renovated the Welty and Northside Libraries?

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  4. Thanks Carunzel–I didn’t know any of that. Your new homework assignment is to take pictures of the church and any other houses you know of and report back. :-)

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  5. You can find pictures of the church here:

    http://www.allsaintsjacksonms.com/photos.html

    (My own father designed the parish hall!)

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  6. The design of FNB was trashed because chairman Brown was embarrassed with the crit in the paper that described it as a sideways venetian blind. Bob Canizaro

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  1. Going Inside: First National Bank, Jackson « Preservation in Mississippi

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