Batavian Bank Building 

319 Main St | Designated 02/15/1996

Summary Material:

Romanesque Revival style with Mediterranean design sources. The most drastic alteration occurred in 1927 at a cost of $175,000. This remodeling project eliminated the second floor, added four massive steel girders and changed the entrance from the east side to the center. The second floor was replaced in 1959. Joan Rausch, Architectural Historian, stated that even though the integrity of the structure has been altered, the bank building is architecturally significant as a worthy example of Romanesque Revival architecture and as an example of the work of the nationally known architect from Chicago, Solomon S. Beman. 

Notice of Designation of Historic Structure 

Bracketed projecting cornice across the facade and continuing around the west side; stone facade divided between massive end piers by arcade of three massive two-story arches with arcade of smaller arches with decorative column supports in the upper story beneath the cornice; carved Sullivanesque ornament on the end pier capitals and on the panels between the second and third floor windows; street level facade has been completely altered for contemporary commercial use. Although the integrity of the store front of the structure has been altered, the bank building is architecturally significant as a worthy example of Richardson Romanesque Revival architecture and as an example of the work of the nationally known architect from Chicago, Solon S. Beman. The most drastic alteration of the Batavian Bank occurred in 1927 when a $175,000 remodeling project eliminated the second floor. Added four massive steel girders, changed the entrance from the east side of the facade to the center, and commissioned Edward Brewer of St. Paul to paint four murals depicting local history on the interior walls. The second floor was replaced in 1959. Gysbert Van Steenwyk was a Dutch native who settled in La Crosse after immigrating to Milwaukee. Van Steenwyk was an important Democrat, with Milwaukee capitalist and European banking connections. He became mayor and was a member of the La Crosse Board of Trade. The Batavian Bank financed La Crosse's transportation from a lumber town to a center of diversified manufacturing. Van Steenwyk contributed greatly to the development of La Crosse. He brought capitol and connections. The Batavian Bank (1861) helped finance La Crosse into the Industrial Age.
- (Historical notes from the Wisconsin Architecture and History Inventory).

This site is located within the Downtown Commercial Historic District.