Park State Bank

Park State Bank ca. 1922, photographer unknown. [Image: UMD Martin Library]

1106 88th Ave. W. | Architect: Anthony Puck | Built: 1919 | Extant

Morgan Park’s Park State Bank organized in 1916, with local banking pioneer Hamilton Peyton as president and his son B. Murray Peyton as vice-president. The Duluth News Tribune described the bank’s investors as “the most influential men in Duluth’s financial circles.” They included Guilford Hartley, William J. Olcott, and railroad executive Frank House. But the man in charge of day-to-day operations was Douglas H. Lewis, whose family would manage the bank for generations.

The bank first opened for business on July 20, 1916, within Morgan Park’s Lake View Store, but with thousands of USS and Atlas Cement employees to serve, the bank quickly outgrew its space. Lewis hired architect Anthony Puck to build what was then a bit of an anomaly in Morgan Park: a building made not of concrete, but of gray brick trimmed with stone. While the structure is, like many others in Morgan Park, a simple rectangle in shape, Doric columns flanking the front entrance give it a Neoclassical look rather than the Prairie-inspired public buildings of Dean & Dean that dominated the neighborhood. Inside, the small building’s high ceilings and tall windows made it feel more spacious. Two walk-in vaults protected the cash, and a tuck-under garage connected to a full basement.

The News Tribune reported that five thousand people attended the bank’s open house on February 9, 1919. The newspaper called the building “the latest addition to the architectural beauties of the park.” The bank continued to serve Morgan Park residents for another ninety years, long after the steel and cement plants closed. Bank president Dale Lewis, Douglas Lewis’s granddaughter, told reporters in 2009 that her grandfather remembered that on paydays “lines outside the bustling Morgan Park bank sometimes stretched around the block.” That year Lewis and her colleagues made the tough decision to sell the Morgan Park facility, as their customers were not utilizing it. Bay West, an environmental and industrial services company, purchased the building in 2010.