When I was in Meridian looking at the old Sears building last week, I discovered for the first time (although I’ve driven past them numerous times) two mid-century banks in the same area. They reminded me of a former bank in my own Fondren neighborhood in Jackson that is not only round but, in its new incarnation as a check-cashing establishment, has been painted a very bright pink. Truth be told, I didn’t really notice the building when it had its staid red brick veneer. It was really when they painted it pink that I first paid attention to it, which is slightly embarrassing. Ok, more than slightly embarrassing.
So today, for your viewing pleasure, here are three round banks, all built c.1955-1960. I’m afraid that’s the limit of my knowledge about these buildings. I suspect that the Meridian banks were designed by one of the little coterie of Modernist architects in Meridian after World War II: Chris Risher, Robert B. Clopton, and Bill Archer. As for the Jackson bank, it could have been the work of any number of architects, many of whom had their offices right in the vicinity (in fact, Tom Biggs’ office was about four lots up the street, and R.W. Naef was just around the corner).
While some might say that round buildings aren’t practical, all three of these buildings are still operational, and two are performing their original function. Cool and functional? I’d say that’s mid-century Modernism at its best.