"Every building tells its story, tells it plainly...it is all there, waiting for you." - Louis Sullivan, ca 1900
The National Farmers' Bank in Owatonna, Minnesota, perhaps the most famous small-town bank building in the United States, is the first of what came to be known as the "Louis Sullivan banks." Although located on the prairie far from the architectural centers of Chicago and New York, the bank has been recognized internationally as an architectural masterpiece since its opening in 1908.
The story of the bank is also the story of three men whose lives converged in a serendipitous partnership of architect, patron, and draftsman. In 1906 Louis Sullivan, a pioneer designer of the skyscraper, was an out-of-work architect. At that very time, Carl Bennett, a banker in Owatanna, was looking for an architect who could provide a bank design different from the columned Roman style usually designated for banks. He took a chance and hired Sullivan, thereby also acquiring the services of George Elmslie, chief draftsman in Sullivan's office and a masterful ornamentalist.
In The Curve of the Arch, author Larry Miller weaves a fascinating tapestry that is the most complete history to date of the building and the builders of the National Farmers' Bank. More than seventy photographs - from monumental exterior cube and bold window arches to fantastically ornate interior oranmentation and colors - complement this architectural biography.
Scuffing on outer cover edges.