History & Tourism

Landmarks of Mansfield: Mechanics Bank Building

14 Jul , 2022  

By 1812Blockhouse

The Mechanics Bank Building, somewhat recently restored and expanded on the corner of South Main Street and Park Avenue West, is a landmark that has occupied an important corner in Mansfield history since its construction in 1926.

In the early years of the city, that corner was occupied by a two story brick residence owned by Robert Bowland. Bowland’s son was involved in one of the most notorious crimes in early Richland County history, an event chronicled in “Two Sons: The Bowland-Barker Murder” by Alan Wigton (available at Amazon.com; see link below).The institution it serves dates to 1886, and 130 years later remains the only locally-owned and managed financial institution of its kind in Mansfield. The bank’s website provides an interesting overview of its first few years, noting that Mechnics initially operated from a private office, and then only for two evenings a week. Moving in 1913 to the May Building at 30 South Park Street (which stands today), its headquarters building opened on September 23, 1926. A special open house was held two days later on Saturday, September 25.

In a gesture of goodwill, the other Mansfield banks and other financial institutions joined in a full page ad in the News Journal congratulating Mechanics on the occasion.

The structure was designed by prolific local architect Vernon Redding. Profiled elsewhere in this series, Redding’s many Mansfield designs included the Farmers Bank Building (now Chase Bank Building), the Leland Hotel, the Barrington Building, and others. Local subcontractors were used extensively, including The Richland Electric Company, Harry B. Hursh for painting and other interior work. and Herman Hoffman for the building’s plumbing and heating.

In the 1920s brochure “Examples of Bank Work in Georgia Marble,” a photograph of Mechanics Bank (above) joins many others from across the country, each sporting an exterior of the unique stone. Georgia marble is “composed of small crystals that overlap and interlock in much the same fashion as the dove-tailed joint,” the work declared, stating that “…it has been used with great effectiveness in the largest financial institutions in the country.”

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