Charleston National Bank/Chase Tower
The Charleston National Bank was established in August of 1884 to accommodate Southern West Virginia’s growing industries. In 1890, the bank constructed the original building along Kanawha Street, and was housed there until 1906 when a new structure was built along Capitol Street. During Charleston’s first Urban Renewal project in the 1960s, the Charleston National Bank Building was razed and a tower was erected to provide an office space that could accommodate more jobs.
Backstory and Context
When the Charleston National Bank was established in 1884, it did not have a bank house. After the bank started to thrive, the management decided to build the original Charleston National Bank Building along Kanawha Street, which was completed in 1890. L. Prichard was the president of the Charleston National Bank in the late 1800s, and followed by his son, H. L. Prichard. The original structure was four stories tall and constructed of pressed brick. Charleston National Bank was created to fund Charleston's growing business and industrial endeavors and was at one point responsible for nearly half of the bank holdings in the city. In 1906, the bank established a new building in the predominantly commercial section of Downtown Charleston on Capitol Street. By 1929, Charleston National had merged with five other banks, making it the largest national bank in the West Virginia.
The current Charleston National Bank, or Chase Tower, was constructed in the mid-1960s, during Charleston’s first Urban Renewal program. The razing of the old Charleston National Bank Building permanently changed both Quarrier and Capitol Streets, expanding both. The new Charleston National Plaza was completed in 1969, and acquired an entire block. The urban renewal of Charleston, WV, in the 1960s sparked numerous jobs for community members, however also destroyed the structures that created Charleston’s first business district. The construction of the new tower started a chain reaction as other “sky scrapers” started to inhabit downtown Charleston. In the 1980s, Charleston National was part of a mega-merger that established the first billion-dollar bank holding company in West Virginia. The building was renamed the Chase Tower after J.P. Morgan branches were changed to Chase in 2006. In 2012, the Chase Tower Plaza was renovated to include a larger walking area and a fountain.
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