Farmers and Merchants Bank and Annexes
Photo from Conservancy archives

Farmers and Merchants Bank and Annexes

Designed in the Classical Revival style, the Farmers and Merchants Bank Building remains one of Southern California’s finest examples of the early "temples of finance" that were popular at the turn of the century. Its two-story façade, reminiscent of a Roman temple, is punctuated by an entrance framed with Corinthian pilasters topped by a large triangular pediment. Built in 1905, the bank was designed by the firm of Morgan and Walls.

The Farmers and Merchants Bank was the first incorporated bank in Los Angeles, founded in 1871 by Isaias W. Hellman, a successful merchant, real estate speculator, and banker, and brother of Hermann W. Hellman. Isaias was to remain president of the bank till his death in 1920. Much of the original 1905 banking room remains, including light fixtures, a central skylight, and the loggia with its intricate railings. Operating as a bank until its closure in the late 1980s, the building now functions primarily as a special events and banquet facility, and film location.

Photo courtesy Architectural Resources Group

Chase Bank, Hollywood

One of his favorite mural-bearing bank buildings, architectural designer Millard Sheets drew on the Hollywood history of its location in a simple white New Formalist structure.