A long standing building in Parsons recently received designation as National Register of Historic Places from the United States Department of the Interior, National Park Service. The designation was celebrated with the installation of a plaque on the front of the building by representatives from PRO (Parsons Revitalization Organization)who currently own the building. The building, known as the Tucker County Bank Building, sits on the corner of Walnut and First Streets.
The building was constructed in 1902 and is an example of Victorian Romanesque Revival architecture.
Like most buildings its age it has undergone changes over its many years. Formerly there was a pointed crenellated parapet on the turret which was removed sometime prior to the 1940’s. A tan brick single floor constructions was added in the late 1960’s. The great flood of 1985 rose through the building’s small dugout basement to blow out the first floor windows.
The first floor interior has been changed many times over to accommodate differing businesses. The second and third floors have undergone relatively little interior change most of which would be reversible. The third floor still hosts an elaborate pressed tin ceiling in remarkable shape.
The Tucker County Bank Building was constructed during a boom period in state and local history. By its construction in 1903 Parsons had grown from about 50 people to 618 residents in less than two decades. During its history the building has housed a wide range of businesses. Everything from various drug-stores, soda fountains, a telephone company, clothier, lawyers, dentists, insurance agencies, Board of Education and even a bus depot. One of the longest tenants had been the Pythagoras Lodge #128 A.F.&A.M. in the third floor, which had been rumored to have been constructed specifically as a Masonic Lodge. Some traces of the seal still exist and the Freemasons continued to meet there until 2002.
There is a saying about the building, “as the building goes, so goes the town.” As commerce in Parsons is a ghost of its former self, so is the bank building. Now, however, as the building houses a small office and a new small business let’s hope it is an indicator of new interest in local commerce. Should the bank building rebound it is likely Parsons will also.