From a photograph by Solomon D. Butcher of four daughters of rancher Joseph M. Chrisman, at their sod house in Custer County, Nebraska. From left to right, Harriet, Elizabeth, Lucie, and Ruth. Photographed in 1886.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Seen in Smiths Grove, KY

Old Farmer's Bank building


Another chapter in what Keely calls "Mom's 'American Main Street' series":

What a surprise for the eyes to see this little limestone bank in Smiths Grove, KY.  (Smiths Grove is a small town in Warren County, about 20 miles east of Bowling Green.)

The Farmer's Bank building is currently unoccupied. I found the following information about its history:

Erected in 1894, Farmer's Bank is a pretentious limestone structure built for Dave and James R. Kirby by an itinerant stone mason. Closed in 1931, Farmer's Bank never reopened and was later used as a post office.

Source: Architecture of Warren County, KY 1790-1940, copyright 1984 by the Landmark Association of Bowling Green and Warren County, Inc., Bowling Green, KY.

A "pretentious limestone structure"? The adjective "pretentious" seems opinionated -- and thus, out-of-place.  This book is supposed to be reporting noteworthy facts about Warren County's best old architecture.

Were the writers insinuating that Smiths Grove was not a fancy enough town to deserve an attractive stone bank?  Or are they suggesting that a small building should not have so many details?  There's no way to know what they really meant, but I'm pretty sure they were expressing an opinion, not giving a fact.

According to WordNet (r) 2.0:

pretentious adj

1: making claim to or creating an appearance of (often undeserved) importance or distinction; "a pretentious country house"; "a pretentious fraud"; "a pretentious scholarly edition" [ant: unpretentious]

2: intended to attract notice and impress others; "an ostentatious sable coat" [syn: ostentatious] [ant: unostentatious]

3: of a display that is tawdry or vulgar [syn: ostentatious, kitsch]

8 comments:

Michael Leddy said...

The turrets might be a little over the top (no pun intended) for a one-story structure, but it's just as easy to argue that they are part of what makes the building beautiful and memorable. Why shouldn't a Farmer's Bank have turrets? Why shouldn't an "itinerant stone mason" realize such a project?

The limestone reminds me of Indiana, where you see all sorts of buildings, not necessarily grand in size or design, made of limestone.

nichole3 said...

I enjoy checking your blog often. You always have such interesting stories and pictures. I think I'm just now learning how to make a comment on blogspot. All of my attempts thus far have been frustrating.

Your friend,
Nichole

Genevieve said...

In southwestern Missouri and southeastern Kansas, there are a lot of limestone buildings, too. Many of the buildings were put up good handymen who were not trained stonemasons. Often, they used stones gathered from the fields rather than quarried stone.

Genevieve said...

Hi, Nichole. Thanks for stopping by. Now that you know how to leave a Blogger comment, you'll have to start talking. :)

ptg said...

I don't think its pretentious. Now, Harry's Kurio Kastle in Arnolds Park, Iowa was pretentious. I could never figure out what it was pretending to be, but it wasn't like any castle I've ever seen.

I always wanted to rent or buy an old bank building for my office. The Farmer's Bank would have been perfect.

Genevieve said...

I suppose even this little old building has a vault or safe of some sort in the back room.

John Ruberry said...

Closed 1931.

It shouldn't take much thought as to why.

I'm glad the building survived.

Genevieve said...

It weathered the stock market crash of '29 but couldn't hang on.

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