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Taking Preservation to the Bank

First National Bank, Chippewa Falls

First National Bank, Chippewa Falls, before restoration
Before Restoration

First National Bank, Chippewa Fall: After Restoration
After Restoration

Romanesque Revival was not a common style for commercial buildings in Wisconsin. Its fortress-like qualities were more commonly used on governmental or institutional building. This bank building uses the style to good effect to convey solidity and security. When the owner, the Pulver  family of Chippewa Falls, began the restoration, some of the building's character had been undermined by later remodelings. The building had been painted white and the prism glass transoms had been boarded over. The Pulvers used a chemical cleaner to remove the paint from the rough cut stone and have exposed the prism glass. The glass now refracts light back into the far reaches of the high ceiling commercial space, which now serves as a jewelry store. Historic windows and doors were reproduced using old photographs. This project received a "Best Restoration" award from Wisconsin Main Street Program, and the owner received an income tax credit worth 25 percent of the project's rehabilitation cost.


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