Tennessee Valley Bank Building

Tennessee Valley Bank

113 East Tennessee Street

The Tennessee Valley Bank opened as the Bank of Florence in 1892. Bank headquarters moved to Decatur in 1905, and the name changed to the Tennessee Valley Bank in 1908. The Bank was the first intrastate banking chain in Alabama with branches in several cities across the northern half of the state, and is credited with the state's first drive thru window at one of its branches in 1948.

Early History

The building at this location dates to c.1890 and was first a shoe shop and women's hat shop. By 1899, the Bank occupied the first floor and professional offices occupied the second. The building at this time was a two-story, brick building in a standard commercial style. Around 1915, the Bank updated the building, adding the present-day limestone facade in a Neoclassical Revival style to the front of the building. The facade features nearly full-height pilasters with Doric capitals and the "Tennessee Valley Bank" name etched into the stone across the top.


Banks and Architecture

Prior to 1930, most American banks were designed in the classical style. These often large, stone structures symbolized financial stability and integrity at a time when bank owners and boards needed the trust of local depositors. Bank buildings, like those of the Tennessee Valley Bank, Alabama Trust and Savings Bank, and the larger First National Bank of Florence, were centerpieces of the downtown commercial core.

 

In later years, banks lead the way architecturally. Hoping to project an image of progress, technological advancement, and continued stability, many banks of the mid-twentieth century favored more modern over traditional styles. The 1950s facade on the First National Bank of Florence building and First Southern Bank, now the City-County Government building, are good examples of this trend locally.

Trousdale Ryan Attorneys at Law own and occupy the Tennessee Valley Bank building today.