Old Bank of Louisville
Front facade of the Old Bank.
Gideon Shryock, who supervised the construction of the Old Bank. Courtesy of the University of Kentucky.
The Old Bank near the mid-20th Century. Courtesy of the University of Louisville.
Backstory and Context
History of the Old BankIn 1828, Lousiville became an incorporated city and it was home to around 7,000 inhabitants. The Old Bank of Lousiville was completed just eight years later, while the city was yet young and still forming. Because of its early construction date, there wasn't general accord regarding the building's architect for many years.
For example, traditional records show that Gideon Shryock was the original architect, though research points to James H. Dakin, from New Orleans, as the leading architect while Shryock supervised construction.
The Greek Revival detail found on the Old Bank may come from Minard Lafever's books, "The Modern Builders Guide" (1833) and "The Beauties of Modern Architecture" (1835).
The building was most likely partially built based on Lafever's 1835 book, as the distyle-in-antis doorway is very similar to Plates 25 and 26 of the book. Therefore, the Old Bank superbly combines the Greek Revival architectural details with an unexpected, yet bold design adapted for its tight space on the narrow, city site.