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Guaranty Bank / Capital One Building

Guaranty Bank / Capital One Building

At 10 stories high, the Guaranty Bank is one of the tallest buildings in downtown Alexandria. Designed in the Chicago Skyscraper style by renowned architect Emile Weil, who designed many of the Saenger theatres across the South, including the Saenger Theatre of New Orleans. Its construction was carried out by T. S. Moudy and Company of Chattanooga, Tennessee. The Guaranty Bank was originally built as First National Bank, with Joseph Bentley as president of that institution following the death of Paul Lisso, but the name changed to Guaranty Bank and Trust Company when stockholders voted to change from a national bank charter to a state bank charter in 1921. Construction of the bank was completed shortly after its name change. The $750,000 structure provided 6,000 square feet of space for banking functions. It is constructed of reinforced concrete with stone facing on its front façade and more visible Murray St. side, and brick veneer walls on its rear façade and Desoto St. side. The building has been renovated over the years, especially the ground floor and main entrance, to the point that it appears to be a more contemporary structure. Upon close inspection, decorative details can be observed in the upper exterior of the building, such as the dentil and Greek key stringcourses and ionic pilasters, revealing its historic design. Similar to the Commercial Building, banking activities were intended for the ground floor, while offices in the upper floors were rented out by a wide variety of local businesses. This use of space continues today, although the bank in operation is now Capital One. Note the Indiana limestone panel carved with the Guaranty eagles, which was removed from the Guaranty Bank during a 1965 remodeling, located to the rear of the bank at the

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