Col. Frank L. Smith Bank Building

Date: 1905    
Address: 122 W Main Street, Dwight, Illinois, 60420
City: Dwight, Illinois
Links: www.fnbofdwight.com
Accessibility: Public, operates as a bank
Category: Commercial

Wright designed this one-story commercial structure for Colonel Frank Smith of the Dwight Bank with the aim of achieving an overall effect of “distinguished simplicity.” Wright’s original plans were decidedly more elaborate than those that were realized. The building is characterized by a sophisticated play of textures and materials. The smooth stone cornices, mullions, and lintels contrast with and balance the irregularity of its ashlar facade. This rough-faced stone is reminiscent of that found on the exterior of Wright’s second Hillside Home School. It gives the bank a rational, sturdy, and secure appearance. John Ayers, a Chicago based furniture manufacturer with whom Wright worked to produce designs for the B. Harley Bradley and Warren Hickox houses, among other projects, made a suite of custom wood chairs, desks, and other furnishings for the bank. Wright also designed brass light fixtures for the piers flanking the building’s front entrance. They were fabricated by Willy Lau, a designer, manufacturer, and purveyor of gas and light fixtures also based in Chicago. The bank’s private offices and vaults were oriented toward the rear of the square-shaped structure while the public areas were situated at the front. Large skylights illuminated the building’s interiors with natural light.  


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