Centennial celebration for bank building launches new historic recognition program

Centennial celebration for bank building launches new historic recognition program
Centennial logo design team: Terence Rohrer, Andy Goshen, Peter Mackey, David Wolters

It was a double celebration Dec. 15 at Regions Bank in historic 5 Points as well-wishers commemorated the centennial birthday of the bank’s building at 1604 Margaret St. and witnessed the unveiling of a new fundraising program for Riverside Avondale Preservation.

Not just the Regions Bank building, but many in Riverside and Avondale are also coming up on their 100th anniversary, said Andy Goshen of Avondale. He stated that each year for the next several years 100 to 150 houses will hit their centennial birthdays.

To commemorate the occasions, Riverside Avondale Preservation will offer special plaques, metal or bronze, to be purchased for display on buildings when they achieve centennial status.

The bank’s historic home was originally built in 1916 for a dentist, Dr. Frank Robinson, who lived in the Henry Taylor-designed Prairie-style home for a few years before moving to Ingleside Avenue. The next resident of the home was Jerome Foley, a founder of Foley Lumber Company, who lived there until 1940.

For the next six and a half decades, the house was home to a variety of businesses, including the Florida College of Music, which added a large one-story addition, the Jacksonville office for the Florida Tuberculosis Department, and a home for unwed mothers under Volunteers of America, until it was bought by a bank.

Ten years ago, when AmSouth Bancorporation bought the property then merged with Regions Bank, the bank opted to restore the structure to its original architecture, according to local historian Wayne Wood, who spoke at the celebration. “The courage and insight into re-utilizing an old building and restoring it exquisitely was pretty remarkable,” he said.

The idea for the commemorative plaques originated, in part, when Lydia Street resident David Wolters began researching the history of his own centennial home and shared his efforts with Goshen.

“Andy pitched the idea to Wayne Wood and to Adrienne Burke, conceived and roughed out the initial plaque design (which was changed very little), made the contacts, coordinated the final artwork [with Mackey Creative Associates] and arranged for the sign fabrication,” said Wolters. 

Regions Bank has underwritten the production of the first round of plaques, which can be purchased at the RAP office, 2623 Herschel St. Metal signs will cost $40 and are ready now, while the bronze plaques will be in Phase 2 of production.

By Kate A. Hallock
Resident Community News

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