|City/Town: • Tulsa
|Location Class: • Commercial • Government
|Built: • 1923 | Abandoned: • 2020
|Historic Designation: • National Register of Historic Places (2010)
|Status: • Abandoned • For Sale • Private Property
|Photojournalist: • David Linde • Emily Cowan
National Bank of Commerce
Work on the National Bank of Commerce Tulsa was set to begin in the spring of 1922, the finished plans called for a ten-story building but only ended up being eight. The first two floors were to be dedicated to the bank and the rest of the floors to office space. Wight and Wight Architects of Kansas City designed the building and James H. McBirney constructed it. The architecture of the building takes on a Beaux-Arts style and has icon columns on the front of the building and beautiful marble throughout. On the upper levels, the original and expensive wood doors have their original letterboxes.
Shortly after opening in 1923, the bank made an arrangement with the Tulse Juvenile Thrift Bank to have downtown automatic receiving tellers. This made for a more convenient location for students of the city schools to deposit savings into an account for money they made during vacation months. This was said to be a permanent installation to ensure many more city kids would have a safe place to store their money.Although I could not find any newspapers on the matter the bank was allegedly robbed of $3,000 in 1957. An image from the Daily Oklahoman gives details in the caption, “Tulsa bank robber is searched by police officers 15 minutes after the National Bank of Commerce was robbed Wednesday of 3,000. Robert Neil Selso, 34, Tulsa was captured a few blocks from the scene by officers Elmer Sttle, right and Bruce Baldwin, center, shortly before he was to board a bus for Oklahoma City.”The National Bank of Commerce in Tulsa issued 6 different types of denominations of National Bank Notes from 1911 to 1935.
Mentor Building Tulsa
The building was purchased by the neighboring National Bank of Tulsa in 1969 and renamed the Mentor Building. They started a renovation, and some choices were made to alter the building that most history and preservation buffs disagreed with. While the upper portion of the former National Bank of Commerce remained intact, the iconic limestone columns spanning floors 1-3 and the relief signage that reads “National Bank of Commerce” were covered with metal panels. While they remain intact behind the metal panels and visible from the interior tenant spaces its not known why these beautiful features were covered. Also, the original window openings had been enlarged to accommodate the 1970s storefront installation and NBT constructed a bridge across the alleyway on the third floor for their operations.
Its time as the Mentor Building was short-lived and in 1975 it was sold to a group of attorneys that formed the Holarud Building Co. This consisted of Principals Robert Langholz, Gail Runnels, Joe Holliman and Frederic Dowart.
Gallery Below of National Bank of Commerce Tulsa / Holarud Building
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