Wisconsin Historical Society

Feature Story

Bank Restoration Receives Preservation Award

First National Bank, Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin

Bank Restoration Receives Preservation Award | Wisconsin Historical Society

Romanesque Revival is not a common style for commercial buildings in Wisconsin. Its fortress-like qualities are more commonly used on governmental or institutional buildings. However, the First National Bank building in Chippewa Falls uses the style well to convey solidity and security.

When the owners, the Pulver family of Chippewa Falls, began the restoration, some of the 1873 building's character had been undermined by 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, which was added in 1898 to create the Romanesque appearance, and exposed the prism glass transoms. The glass 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. The owners received an income tax credit worth 25 percent of the project's rehabilitation cost.

Read more about the history of Chippewa Fall's First National Bank Building in the property record.