Suzassippi’s Mississippi: Former Bank of Greenwood

front elevation 2

Continuing with the bank buildings focus, Greenwood’s former Bank of Greenwood sits at the corner of Howard and Ramcat Alley.  MDAH calls the c. 1890 building Romanesque and Lloyd Ostby (1980) referred to it as Victorian Romanesque, constructed of brick and stone with a corner tower with pyramidal roof and a shed roof with balustrade.  The building is part of the Cotton Row Historic District in Greenwood.  Now known as the McBee Building, it was the first building to be restored under the Greenwood Main Street program in 1995.

Bank of Greenwood ended its first year of business in 1889 with a meeting of stockholders and increased the capital from $25,000 to $50,000 (Weekly Democrat, Nov. 3, 1889, p. 3).  In 1890, cashier E. R. McShane of Bank of Greenwood attended the Mississippi State Bankers’ Association.  However, in 1893, E. R. McShane is identified as the cashier of the Delta Bank of Greenwood.  In 1896, McShane is identified as being with the Bank of Greenwood.  The names ‘Delta Bank‘ (without the ‘of Greenwood’ addition) and ‘Delta Bank of Greenwood‘ and ‘Bank of Greenwood‘ all appear throughout the newspapers.  [Note: I will be doing a follow-up grand-finale post on the bank history and bank buildings of Greenwood, so I will leave the rest of this story and its mysteries about the early banks to be revealed at the concluding post next week.]

side and front elevation 2

In 1904, Bank of Greenwood converted to become a national rather than state bank (and it is not clear if it was a merger or actual conversion as both terms are used in the newspaper) and became First National Bank with capital of $125,000 (Vicksburg Herald, Feb. 20, 1904, p. 6).  McShane was named President of the newly created bank.  First National continued to operate out of this building until a new building was completed at 310 Howard Street.  R. C. McBee purchased the former bank in 1919 for $12,500 (Commonwealth, Sept. 10, 1919).

This design of the Christopher & Simpson foundry from St. Louis, MO is not one I have seen elsewhere, although I spotted one other of the same design in Greenwood. Itta Bena has C & S columns in a different style on the Lembo Store Front.



Categories: Banks, Delta, Greenwood, Historic Preservation

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4 replies

  1. handsome! castle on the corner? were there originally other commercial buildings to the right? maybe some views of the street in the cooper post card collection? i’ll look. same idea of ‘strength’–and, on a corner—your money ‘could’ be safe here! noted that entry not on the corner… and, course, the ‘far right’ door must lead to stairs going up. architect? thanks.

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    • Ed, I knew I could count on you to help me dig through this! I have looked at all the post card collection in Cooper, and some in Donny Whitehead’s website (http://aboutgreenwoodmississippi.com/) which has great postcards and photos. I found one that might have been an angle view, but sometimes I cannot enlarge it enough to determine. I have “virtually driven” the entire area so many times on Google maps this past week. I have discovered a great deal with copious amounts of time in the newspaper archives to the neglect of everything else, but there are gaps in Mississippi coverage. Still, I think I have a somewhat accurate picture–no further spoiler alerts–I discovered things that have increased my understanding by leaps and bounds and I want to make a post about it!

      Next week I will put out everything I know about every bank in Greenwood that I have been able to glean from the newspapers of the time, MDAH, Greenwood nominations for NRHP, and Mr. Whitehead’s site–he also uses the Greenwood newspapers. This may be my last hurrah as full-time work starts in only 7 more days and this is a luxury of time that will not come again!

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  2. of course, busy people always take on more tasks, don’t we? i am kind of bogged down in stuff i ‘should be doing’, but am doing this!

    i haven’t looked at the cooper postcards yet–will you?-

    -but mr whitehead’s site is super! thanks for that link! (there are views of gwood bldgs that i have never seen! i was particularly interested in some of the ‘classic colonial’ houses–that is the term for the neoclassical revival revival–yes, awkward term–houses that appeared in the south in the ‘flush period’ of the 1890s-1920s—some folks had money to attempt to re-created ante-bellum splendor but with indoor plumbing, electricity, very open floor plans, etc—barber, from knoxville, is known to many of you–and both his actual work and his catalogues of house designs were so influential. sometimes the results are great, sometimes, awkward. there are/were?–i’ll bet many are gone– some nice ones in greenwood. )

    i will look forward to more on the banks–and, architects’ names are always welcomed and impetus for more research–like mr mcgeoy? or, was it mcgoey? mr magoo! i am being very punchy tonight cause the heat and humidity in upstate ny today were just like ms!

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    • It is McGeoy. I have looked at all the Cooper post card collection already, and anything else I can find. Malvaney or Rosell will tell you I am like a dog with a bone when it comes to trying to figure out a mystery, but sometimes I just have to say this is all I can do, or all I can find. Sometimes someone fills in the blanks, and sometimes not.

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