Research Packet and Narrative by: Adriana Davidson and Dr. George D. Torok
Honors Project - Spring 2002 - National Endowment for the Humanities Historical Markers Project
First National Bank Building, 1892 at the corner of San Antonio and South El Paso. Photo by Parker. Image provided by the El Paso County Historical Society Collections
Marker Text: First National Bank
The First National Bank Building was constructed in 1882-83 as part of the real estate boom that took place after the arrival of the railroad. Joshua and Jefferson Reynolds, active in New Mexico banking, financed its construction and were the bank’s first presidents. It was originally a two-storey structure in the Italianate style but in the mid-1880s a pitched roof, which served as the walls of a third floor, was added. This transformed it into the Second Empire style. The interior had elaborate woodwork and glass partitions that separated the many offices and professional spaces. By 1900, a main entrance was installed near the center of the East San Antonio side of the building.
Over the years the First National Bank Building has housed many businesses and services, including the Wells-Fargo and Company’s Express, the Texas & Pacific Railroad, and the El Paso Herald newspaper. The building’s most famous tenant was gunfighter John Wesley Hardin who had his law office here on the second floor, on the El Paso Street side, in the 1890s. When the First National Bank merged with the American National Bank in 1914, it vacated the building. As one of El Paso’s most prosperous banks it thrived for more than fifty years but closed its doors in 1933 during the Great Depression. Since that time the building has undergone several renovations and continues to serve as retail and professional office space.
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Leach, Joseph. Sun Country Banker: The Life and Times of Samuel Doak Young. El Paso, TX: Mangan Books, 1989.
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(El Paso, TX) Herald, April 25, 1906, March 2, 1909, May 12, 1923.
n.a. “First National Bank (Star Jewelry).” Unpublished Historic American Buildings Survey Report TX-3308, 1980.