State Bank of Indiana (Branch of)

Also known as: Lorens Kussner Music Store, The Old Curiosity Shop, Memorial Hall, Kesler Law Building
219 Ohio St., Terre Haute, Indiana

19th Century Greek Revival office building, oldest commercial structure in Terre Haute

Photos 

Quarter View Looking Southwest

Photo taken by J.R. Manning in November 2016

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Map 

Description 

"Indisputably one of the finest examples of 19th century Greek Revival architecture in this section of Indiana, Memorial Hall, located on Ohio Street between 2nd and 3rd Streets, was built as a Branch Bank of the Second State Bank of Indiana in 1834. Edwin J. Peck, a prominent Indiana architect-builder of the period, was superintendent of construction.

"The mark of its architectural significance is, of course the facade, which imitates a Greek doric temple with four fluted columns, all supporting an entablature with a frieze of triglyphs and metopes; one triglyph over each column and one over each inercolumniation [sic] - the precise formula used in antiquity, but rarely found in any 19th century revival works. The old bank occupied the first floor under a large domed skylight. The second floor was fitted up as a residence for the bank cashier's living quarters. When National banks were organized in 1855, the bank ceased operations, and the building was sold to Lorens Kussner as a commercial store for selling musical instruments. His daughter, Amalia Kussner Coudert, won world-wide fame as a miniature painter. A talented family, they fitted up one room with a stage on which were given many performances.

"After several changes and the sale of the property by the Kussners, the building became a second-hand shop known as "The Old Curiosity Shop." Its owner, Zebulon Heaberlin, sold the building to the GAR Memorial_Hall Association. They maintained it as headquarters for Civil War veterans groups, the Woman's Relief Corps, and other patriotic societies. It became a repository for war relics and photographs of veterans,etc. In the 1920's it again changed hands, becoming the Memorial Hall Association, and was in the care of first the Spanish American War veterans, then the World War I veterans, and now the United War Veterans Council. A large addition was built on for a meeting room, kitchen and serving facilities were added, but the original part of the building remains very much as it was when the bank opened its doors in 1834. The building is the oldest business building in the City of Terre Haute, and is located across the street from the Vigo County Court House.

"In addition to its architectural significance, and the fact that it is one of the very few buildings of its ^ type left in Indiana, it is the oldest commercial building left in the City of Terre Haute.

"Its Civil War significance, as well as its use by veterans of all the past wars of the United States, makes it unique in military relics and historical importance in this community.

"It is important to preserve a fine example of an early banking institution. The Second State Bank of Indiana has often been hailed as one of the most successful banks of the pre-Civil War era.

"Fine art glass portraits of Civil War heroes and early bankers of Terre Haute are still in place around the domed ceiling skylight.

"Only one other structure in the City of Terre Haute has an older history of service in the community than this one has."

Quoted from the National Register of Historic Places Inventory - Nomination Form prepared by Mrs. Dorothy J. Clark, Secretary, Vigo County Historical Society, Inc., June 23, 1973. A link to the document is listed below under "Sources."

The building was renovated by Attorney John A. Kesler after the structure was placed on the NRHP.

National Register information 

Status
Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on October 25, 1973
Reference number
73000026
NR name
State Bank of Indiana, Branch of (Memorial Hall)
Architectural style
Mid 19th Century Revival: Exotic Revival
Areas of significance
Commerce; Military; Architecture
Level of significance
State
Evaluation criteria
A - Event; C - Design/Construction
Property type
Building
Historic functions
Clubhouse; Single dwelling; Specialty store; Financial institution
Current function
Museum
Periods of significance
1900-1924; 1875-1899; 1850-1874; 1825-1849
Significant year
1834

Update Log 

  • December 3, 2016: Updated by J.R. Manning: Updated status, added description and added photos

Sources