See the sights: Portal to the past
WALWORTH COUNTY Portal to the past
Elkhorn’s square has been the heart of the city’s downtown business district for well over a century, so in 1915 it was only natural that the First National Bank picked it as the site of its new building — a solid-looking structure to reflect a solid financial past dating back to 1865.
But when the bank opened a new location on North Washington Street almost 60 years later, Doris Reinke, Walworth County historian, remembered giant cranes standing ready in 1974 to demolish the old bank building on North Wisconsin Street, north of the intersection with East Walworth Street.
“They were tearing down so many things in town then,” Reinke remembered.
Perhaps prompted in part by preservationists, the bank tore down the structure, but left its massive facade, complete with pillars, standing. At first, the bank retained a small walk-up window for business, but Reinke said few people used it and it was removed.
Much later, through negotiations between the bank and the city, a “pocket park” — owned by the city — was put on the site where the bank once stood, and the facade remained as an entrance to the park. It stands there today, sandwiched between two buildings, the First National name and dates inscribed across the top, looking like a portal to the past.
Reinke likes the blending of stone facade and park. “I hate to see everything covered with cement and blacktop,” she said. “It’s nice to see a bit of greenery.”
Other Walworth County backyard gems:
Sunday: Beulah Bog
Monday: Portal to a park
Tuesday: Muster tree
Wednesday: P.O. art
Thursday: Ever-flowing well
Friday: Sacred spot
Have any suggestions for your own backyard gems? Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.