Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The First National Bank

Yesterday I returned home from a week's vacation in Davenport, Iowa. Spending time with family was the preeminent benefit of the trip, but I also found a few idle hours to walk around downtown and enjoy the landmarks. After visiting a very fine used-book store, I made my way to the First National Bank, a grand old building built in the flush times before the Great Depression. US Bank is the current tenant.

The bank's entrance dazzled me in my youth. It was obvious that any bank decorated with Roman sculpture must be a safe and secure place to store one's wealth.

The classical figures in the bronze screen above the door are especially interesting. They are conducting business. However, the violence of their gestures suggest that a war or an orgy could break out at any moment.

On each side of the door are statues showing the primary occupations of antiquity: art, philosophy, agriculture, labor, etc. The place of honor -- right side, very top -- is given to banking. Naturally.

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