Marion National Bank Building
402 South Washington Street, Marion
In Need of Investment
Before suburban branches, ATMs, and online banking, people did their banking in impressively ornate halls that celebrated wealth, like the one in the old Marion National Bank, constructed in 1917. The seven-story building at 402 South Washington Street dominates downtown Marion’s National Register-listed historic district.
The main floor, occupied until last year by Regions Bank, remains an impressive space with a vaulted ceiling supported by massive classical columns and ornate teller’s cages. Empty for a decade, the upper stories display deterioration, and thieves have stolen the copper plumbing pipes.
Sheathed in white glazed terra cotta with an ornate entry and cornice, the building shows the design influence of the famed Chicago skyscrapers built early in the twentieth century. The leaking roof has damaged plaster ceilings on the upper floors and destabilized the ornate terra cotta cornice, with pieces falling to the sidewalk, threatening public safety.
The Los Angeles investor who owns the structure has not invested in urgently needed repairs. “Pressure from the city to induce the owner to sell, augmented by the 10 Most Endangered status, may help us find a developer who’ll repurpose the building, with apartments a likely answer,” says Paul Hayden, director of Indiana Landmarks’ Northeast Field Office in Wabash.
Saving threatened buildings takes teamwork. You can be a part of that team. Reach out to local leaders. Let them know these buildings are important to you. And support state and local preservation groups.