he Bellingham National Bank was
founded on January 3, 1905. After only seven years the bank was so
successful, under the leadership of President Victor A. Roeder, that plans
were made to construct a new bank building. The site they selected, where it
presently stands, was formerly occupied by the Beck Theater reputed as being
the best playhouse west of Chicago.
The construction of the new bank building began in 1912 with architect F.
Stanley Piper, who had come to Bellingham from Britain in 1909. The building
that Piper designed was molded from the popular utilitarian Commercial (or
"Chicago") style. While this style was relatively common in the East and
Midwest, for Bellingham, it represented a striking difference from the
round-arched, brick and sandstone Romanesque styles frequently built in the
The Bellingham National Bank Building is constructed of reinforced
concrete. The exterior of the first floor is faced with smooth masonry,
neatly contrasting with the light brick covering on the upper four floors.
The building's first floor is elaborately decorated with a round arched
lobby entrance, and elaborate bronze bank windows. Two Doric columns support
the entrance and centered in the above parapet is a carved eagle. The
cornice of the building is trimmed with white masonry with a floral motif.
Bellingham National Bank occupied the first floor and the partial
basement when the building opened on December 1, 1913. Originally, the Holly
Street side of the first floor had four commercial locations and one behind
the bank on the Cornwall side. Currently, Key Bank of Washington occupies
the entire first floor, while the upper floor offices are leased to various
professionals such as the State Attorney General.
Until the Bellingham Herald Building was built in 1926, the Bellingham
National Bank Building was the largest and most modern building in
For more information see the
Bellingham National Bank Building National Register of Historic Places Nomination.