Peoples National Bank / Fries Building
1723-31 2nd Avenue
Individual National Register Designation, 1999
Significance StatementEarly bank and department store with high degree of integrity.
Commercial; Classical Revival
1876 (Peoples National Bank), 1897 (Fries Building), remodeled 1904 and 1909
Architect / Builder
Drack & Kerns; Stauduhar, George P.
Separate, But Now Joined
This building was historically constructed as two separate and distinct buildings, the Peoples National Bank and the Fries Building. They have now been connected on the first, second and third stories. The Bank building is the four-story brick portion, while the Fries Building is three stories with the round windows at top. A tripartite division of base, center and cornice horizontally divides the exterior of both buildings. Special architectural features include the massive cornices, Commercial style windows and the decorative frieze with round windows on the Fries Building.
Peoples National Bank
The Peoples National Bank was built around 1876 by an unknown person, but two prominent Rock Island architectural firms worked on subsequent alterations: Drack & Kerns (1900-1904) and George Stauduhar (1910-11). Peoples National Bank purchased its building around 1904 and embarked on an ambitious construction program that heightened the building by adding a fourth story, rebuilt the 2nd Avenue facade and regularized the 18th Street elevation. The Bank was organized in 1874 with officers Bailey Davenport, Joseph Rosenfield and John Peetz. Directors were F.C.A. Denkmann, C. Speidel, George Wagner, Peter Fries, Ignatz Huber, George Schneider, Henry Woltmann, Frederick Hass and August Huesing.
The bank branched out into the German Trust & Savings Bank to handle personal accounts in 1912. The German Trust and Savings Bank changed its name to American Trust and Savings Bank during World War I. Banks at this location were bought and sold during the 1920s and eventually closed. The first floor of the building became an early location of McCabe’s Department Store, followed by a series of other retailers.
The Fries Building was built in 1897 and designed by Drack & Kerns.
Frank G. Young and William Sharp McCombs commissioned the Fries Building after they had outgrown a previous site at the same location. The new store opened in 1897 to much fanfare. The new building had 22,400 square feet, frontage on 2nd Avenue of 60 feet and electrical lights around the display windows. The prosperous Young & McCombs Department Store moved west to the Best Building in 1909. Various retailers continued to occupy the Fries Building, including Mosenfelder & Kohn’s shoe store, Hadley Company furniture, Bennison’s Department Store and the New York Store.