A Reveal Event is planned for Tuesday, May 12 at 10 am at the former Texarkana National Bank Building, corner of State Line Avenue and Broad Street, in downtown Texarkana.
Progress continues in downtown with the redevelopment of the Texarkana National Bank building. The redevelopment is being spearheaded by Texarkana Renewal Properties, LLC (TRP) of Texarkana, said David Peavy, owner.
The building will be redeveloped into luxury apartments and condominiums, as well as overnight and extended stay spaces. Retail space and offices will also be included in the redevelopment, Peavy said. TRP has been working with the city, state, and national officials with positive results. TRP will be seeking funding from state and local loan programs as well as private investors, he said.
The Railroads founded our cities, but the wealth came from the timber. Virgin forest, and a railroad transportation system, combined to create prosperity in Texarkana. A 5’ diameter pine tree, 50’ to the first limb, made the building materials for many homes West of Texarkana. As the pine trees stopped several miles west of Texarkana, and the trees became shorter and twisted, Dallas, and many other cities, welcomed the opportunity to buy lumber from what became Texarkana timber barons. The Buchannan’s, the Cabe’s, the Bottom’s, the Fouke’s, as well as banker’s like W.R. Grim, and many more, created wealth from three critical essentials: abundance of trees, transportation in the railroads, and the great need for lumber in the growing western United States.
And as history reflects, that great wealth was stored in Texarkana banks. Most notably, State First National Bank in Arkansas, and Texarkana National Bank in Texas, one directly across the street from the other. State Bank was located on the first block on Broad Street in Arkansas, and Texarkana Bank on the first block on Broad in Texas.
This was the beginning of the competition between these banks, and these two great Texarkana buildings, Peavy said. State Bank was built first as a massive 5 story bank and office building at its current location in 1904. And, in 1914, Texarkana Bank built an 8-story building directly across the street. At only 25’ wide, but 8 stories high, this may have seemed like a young colt, all legs, he said. But, it did what it needed which was to be taller than State Bank, he added.
In 1925 Texarkana National Bank added an addition that doubled its size. The banking lobby was so ornate, it might have reminded you of a palace, with marble, granite, tall beautiful columns, and ornate plaster molding most everywhere you looked, Peavy said.
Each building made improvements over the years, but in the late 60’s and early 70’s, the competition intensified. State Bank built a massive new bank building blocks away still on Stateline. And Texarkana Bank modernized their building with a huge renovation.
They installed a new façade on the exterior and added new interiors. Lay-in ceilings covered the ornate plaster work, carpet covered the 1914 tile, and new sheetrock covered the early century wood work, Peavy said. Which is ironic as the timber wealth is what financed the bank in the first place, he noted.
Now, as a new era has arrived, part of the 1970s metal covering on the lower sections of the façade will be removed revealing what was concealed over 50 years ago. Questions may be answered such as: How much of the original façade is still there? What is the condition? What will it take to get this building back to its original glory?
The public is invited to see this historic event on Tuesday, May 12, at 10 am. Social distancing will be in effect, so those in attendance are asked to protect themselves and others. For more information, call 903.824.7674.