Laramie State Bank | The Most Beautiful Places in Chicago
Laramie State Bank
Chicago’s Austin neighborhood is home to Laramie State Bank, an art deco delight that stands out at the corner of Chicago and Laramie avenues. According to the AIA Guide to Chicago, the building began as a simple, one-story building in 1909 and was expanded and remodeled in 1928. The building has a bold, mustard-colored facade with terra-cotta details from the Northwestern Terra Cotta Company. Relief panels depict scenes of commerce: men at work on farms and in factories, coins, and even bees and squirrels. The building also served as an office building after the bank closed and, later, Citizens National Bank, which was shut down by regulators in 1991. It was named a Chicago landmark in 1995 and was occupied by a variety of businesses, but it was foreclosed upon in 2012 and remained vacant for years. According to Preservation Chicago, the roof partially collapsed in 2018, and it suffered from several maintenance issues. But it may get another chance to be restored to its former glory, as then-Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced the building would be rehabbed and transformed into a mixed-use development as part of the city’s Invest South/West initiative.