Update, and Home Savings Branches outside California in Context

Bank of America, former Home Savings branch in Berwyn, Illinois. Image from Google StreetView; see below for details.
Bank of America, former Home Savings branch in Berwyn, Illinois. Image from Google StreetView; see below for details.

Hello again!

As we reach the end of 2014, I wanted to give you an update about all that is happening behind the scenes–as well as to share some thoughts about those Home Savings branches constructed outside California, and the effort to add them to the story.

It has been a productive fall! With support from Howard Ahmanson Jr. and the Ahmanson Foundation, I have been on leave, writing my book on the art, architecture, and urban context of the Sheets Studio work for Home Savings. Four of the planned seven chapters are drafted: The Story, Origins, Location, and Reception. That leaves Process, Meaning, and Legacies as the chapters to draft this spring. I am also speaking with presses about a full-color, heavily illustrated book, as well as museums about a possible exhibition. And, on Monday, I was interviewed by Paul Bockhurst for his documentary projects about Millard Sheets and other Claremont artists, and I toured Claremont Heritage.

Both the Location and Legacies chapter have sent me back into the records to track down dates and addresses–and so this week I published a full revision of the Definitive List, with more locations, and more accurate construction dates. There are two maps: one mapping all of the 168 former Home Savings locations, and the other with all the 159 other Sheets Studio public art sites. I welcome more information about their current status as well.

The question of current ownership–and whether those owners realize what they have–has finally driven my new post off the to-do list and now to your screens.

Vacant former Home Savings location at Bannister Mall, Kansas City. Image from Google StreetView; see below for details.
Vacant former Home Savings location at Bannister Mall, Kansas City. Image from Google StreetView; see below for details.

From 1947, when Howard Ahmanson purchased it, Home Savings had regular periods of growth, through acquiring other savings-and-loans, petitioning the state to expand their territory, and final due to changed regulations that allowed expansion throughout California, in around 1976, and then across the nation, in the mid-1980s. Though Millard Sheets had completed retired from the studio in 1980, Sue Hertel and Denis O’Connor, who had worked with Sheets on these commissions for decades, continued to produce similar work. Around 1990, Home Savings also commissioned some other artists, such as Marlo Bartels, Astrid Preston, and Richard Haas, to produce branch artwork, with a similar focus on community identity and history. These locations were constructed in Florida, Illinois, Missouri, New York, Ohio, and Texas.

In 1998, Home Savings was sold to Washington Mutual, and then in 2007-8, Washington Mutual was seized by the government and rapidly given to JP Morgan Chase. At both moments, some of the locations that the Sheets Studio had designed and decorated for Home Savings ceased to be banks. In 1998, some of those properties were sold to Met Life and managed by CB Richard Ellis, such as former branches in Santa Monica, Coronado, Montebello, and the Home Savings headquarters in Irwindale, along with some locations that are still banks, such as Santa Barbara and Riverside, presumably based on the value of their locations. Since Washington Mutual acquired a number of financial institutions before its collapse, other branches in an area where multiple banks were acquired, such as La Mesa and Redondo Beach, were sold off to other commercial-real-estate holders at other times. (I don’t have a master list of Washington Mutual locations from 2007; if you do, perhaps in a booklet form, I would love to see it!)

Chase was interested in taking Washington Mutual from the federal government in part because of its network of locations on the West Coast, where Chase had not had a presence; according to my list, Chase currently owns at least 69 locations with Sheets Studio artwork, mostly former Home Savings locations.

Wells Fargo, a former Home Savings branch in St. Petersburg, FL. Image from Google StreetView; see below for details.
Wells Fargo, a former Home Savings branch in St. Petersburg, FL. Image from Google StreetView; see below for details.

 

But what gets really interesting is what happened to the 52 Home Savings locations with Sheets Studio artwork outside of California. Home Savings had for decades used their art and architecture as part of how to stand out against their traditional competitors in the West, including Wells Fargo and Bank of America, both based in San Francisco at the time. While both had some tradition of historic artifacts or mosaic banks, these seemed pale imitations to the number and uniformity of the Home Savings locations.

Yet, outside of California, I have found that, over and over again, it is Wells Fargo and Bank of America that are using the former Home Savings buildings–either purchased outright, or by acquiring banks that had acquired the location, such as Wachovia in Florida. Whether these locations were sold off by Washington Mutual in 1998 or Chase in 2008, I am not sure, but it seems that the California banks understood the power of this art and architecture, and they wanted to be first in line to pick up the former competitors’ locations in other states. I have found 12 locations owned by Bank of America, mostly in Illinois; 12 by Wells Fargo, mostly in Florida; and a few by US Bank in California, and then local credit unions and banks and trust companies elsewhere.

Thus, in a way, even when these banks are isolated–only five in all of Ohio, six each in Texas and Missouri, fifteen in Illinois, nineteen in Florida, just one in New York–they actually are still part of a conversation with Home Savings, carried on by its once-rivals that survive as well as by Chase, the steward of the largest number of these buildings.

Below I post the full details for these outside-California Home Savings branches with Sheets Studio art and architecture, to aid those in these communities in seeing their value and working to preserve them.

If an address brings you to this post, please contact me so I can connect you to the wider history of these buildings and their artwork.

 

Home Savings 3090 (3050) Aventura Blvd Aventura FL 1990 Safra National Bank GoogleStreetView tile mosaic; O’Connor plan “beach scene (maybe Santa Monica)” Richard Haas; O’Connor
Home Savings 9035 Boca Fontana Blvd 33434 Boca Raton FL 1986 Fifth Third Bank GoogleStreetView mosaic: fish and snorklers Denis, Sue, Alba, Jill, Darin O’Connor
Home Savings 7380 Manatee Ave west Bradenton FL 1990 Wells Fargo GoogleStreetView tile mosaic: city map, sword, compass rose Richard Haas
Home Savings 25749 U S Highway 19 Clearwater FL 1985? Perenich and Coldwell Banker; covered? GoogleStreetView painted mural: segulls in flight O’Connor
Home Savings 3325 W Hillsboro Blvd Deerfield FL 1986 TD Bank; shows no art? GoogleStreetView galleon and deers? Denis, NOVA Designs? O’Connor
Home Savings 1483 Main Street Dunedin FL 1989 Wells Fargo GoogleStreetView egret and pelican over water; city shield? Marlo Bartels; Denis, Sue O’Connor; and http://www.marlobartels.blogspot.com/
Home Savings 4875 N Federal Hwy Fort Lauderdale FL 1986 Wells Fargo GoogleStreetView tower
Home Savings 12370 S Cleveland Ave Fort Myers FL 1986 Wells Fargo GoogleStreetView mosaic: text tell history from muddy road to palms; Macgregor Blvd and mention Edison, Hendry, Terry, McGregor, Miles Denis, Sue, Homolka-Gilkerson O’Connor
Home Savings 1701 East Young Circle Hollywood FL 1988 demolished? GoogleStreetView “egrets” Denis, Sue O’Connor – CF Arlington Heights
Home Savings 9899 NE 2nd Ave Miami Shores FL 1986 Wells Fargo GoogleStreetView pelicans, boats Denis, Sue, Alba, Jill, Darin, Martita O’Connor
Home Savings 900 Neapolitan Way Naples FL 1987 put on hold
Home Savings 12440 Pines Blvd 33027 Pembroke Pines FL 1988 Wells Fargo GoogleStreetView Marlo Bartels http://www.marlobartels.blogspot.com/
Home Savings 702 N University Dr Pembroke Pines FL 1985? Wells Fargo GoogleStreetView cows in enamel tile mosaic Fox Tile? http://www.foxtile.com/projects.html
Home Savings 3340 N Tamiami Trail Port Charlotte FL 1985 Charlotte Heart & Vascular Institute GoogleStreetView mosaic: Caloosa Indians, cattle, eagles, Seminole Indians, wildlife, shels, ranching, galleons, egrets, black woman, pelicans, fishing, phosphates, palm trees Denis, Sue, Alba, Annie, Pete Knersel? O’Connor
Home Savings 2891 South Tamiami Trail, US Highway 41 Bougainvillea Sarasota FL 1987 Wells Fargo GoogleStreetView circus animals, including monkeys, elephants, camels Denis, Franco -Nova Designs, Frank Homolka Jess Gilkerson; Studio MosaicArt Colledani Milan/NOVA Designs O’Connor
Home Savings 1901 Alton Road 33139 So. Miami Beach (Alton Rd.) FL 1987 Wells Fargo GoogleStreetView mosaic – fish Denis O’Connor
Home Savings 4100 4th Street North St. Petersburg FL 1987 Wells Fargo GoogleStreetView 2 mosaic: dolphins and fish; just dolphins Denis O’Connor
Home Savings 2050 U. S. Highway #1 / 8th avenue Vero Beach FL 1990 tile mosaic Richard Haas
Home Savings 6000 Okeechobee Blvd, Drexel Plaza W. Palm Beach FL 1986 CDA Financial Plaza GoogleStreetView mosaic: polo players Denis, Franco; Studio MosaicArt Colledani Milan/NOVA Designs O’Connor
Home Savings 415 E. Rand Rd Arlington Heights IL 1989 Bank of America GoogleStreetView mosaic: “racetrack – horses & jockeys” Denis, Sue; Italian O’Connor
Home Savings 6400 W Cermak Rd (at Ridgeland) 60402 Berwyn IL 1991 Bank of America GoogleStreetView mosaic: theater showing The Ragman with Jackie Coogan; streetscape Denis, Sue, Gina Lawson, Leland Means, O’Connor
Home Savings 6115 S Pulaski Rd Chicago IL 1989 Bank of America Google StreetView mosaic – snow scene, ice skating Denis, Sue O’Connor are these interior? Not there?
Home Savings 1300 Oakton Ave, 60018 Des Plaines IL 1988 demolished? mosaic: “street w/ people in front (brass band)” Denis, Sue, Franco O’Connor
Home Savings 1000 S York Rd Elmhurst IL 1990 Bank of America Google StreetView interior mural “another artist”
Home Savings 1336 Chicago Ave 60201 Evanston IL 1991 Bank of America Google StreetView mosaic – men putting boat into lake; their wagon Denis, Sue, Gina, Kathy, Leland Means, Studio Marble O’Connor
Home Savings 2108 W Jefferson St Joliet IL 1988 Joliet Bank & Trust Google StreetView mosaic – birds; Roger Nelson inside painting of fields Denis, Sue, Roger Nelson O’Connor
Home Savings 8745 N Waukegan Rd Morton Grove IL 1988 Bank of America Google StreetView Denis, Sue, Frank Homolka, Franco O’Connor are these interior? Not there?
Home Savings 1080 S Elmhurst Rd Mt. Prospect IL 1989 Bank of America Google StreetView mosaic of columns Denis, Sue, “others” O’Connor
Home Savings 1301 E Odgen Rd 60540 Naperville IL 1990 Bank of America Google StreetView mosaic: fire company, wagon, bicycles; painted mural; is it mosaic: “volunteer fire dep”? Denis, Sue, Studio Marble O’Connor
Home Savings 4200 W 95th St Oaklawn IL 1989 Bank of America Google StreetView mosaic – RR< family scene, animals, church Denis, Franco O’Connor
Home Savings 15826 S Lagrange Rd Orland Park IL 1988 Bank of America Google StreetView mosaic: pointy trees; children as well? Denis, Sarah, Alba, Katy, Frank Homolka O’Connor
Home Savings 501 N Greenwood Ave Park Ridge IL 1986 Bank of America Google StreetView mosaic: wagon and children O’Connor
Home Savings 5033 Dempster St  Skokie IL 1986 PNC Bank Google StreetView Henry Harmes, children, Market Day, Blameuser’s saloon, baseball team, hardware store, Amelia Louise Klehan doctor Denis, Sue, Jill, Alba O’Connor
Home Savings 6300 S Kingery Hwy Suite 500 Willowbrook IL 1987 mall; unclear Google StreetView mosaic – birds, squirrels, and owl that looks too happy? Denis, Melvin Wood, Franco Merli, NOVA Designs O’Connor
Home Savings 1700 Clarkson Rd Chesterfield MO 1991 First National Bank Google StreetView mural: “German immigrant farmers” field of corn Leland Means O’Connor
Home Savings 201 N. Florissant Rd Ferguson MO 1987 US Bank Google StreetView mosaic: figures from Indian to conquistador to train conductor in front of train Denis, Sue; Nova Designs O’Connor
Home Savings 5720 E Bannister Rd Kansas City MO 1986 vacant Google StreetView sculptures Denis; Betty Davenport Ford? O’Connor
Home Savings 321 W Battlefield St Springfield MO 1986 Hawthorn Bank Google StreetView mosaic Denis, Sue, Studio MosaicArt Colledani Milan/NOVA Designs /studio shots — from CA or Italy?// O’Connor
Home Savings 3921 Hampton Ave St Louis MO 1980s Lindell Bank Google StreetView Ford? Sculpture
Home Savings 3727 Frederick St. Joseph MO 1988 Citizens Bank and Trust Google StreetView painted mural: Pony Express Denis, Sue, Rebecca Guzak O’Connor
Home Savings 108-36 Queens Boulevard (at 71 Rd) Forest Hills NY 1989 Commerce Bank Google StreetView tile mosaic of New York horizon, trains; DOC painted mural : bluebirds? Richard Haas; Denis discussed CF in O’Connor Papers
Home Savings 3174 Tremont Rd Columbus OH Jul-84 removed and preserved ceramic tile mosaic: cityscape and state symbols Marlo Bartels http://www.marlobartels.blogspot.com/
Home Savings 95 E. William St Delaware OH 1989 First Merit Google StreetView “Little Brown Jug harness race” Denis, Sue, Franco/NOVA O’Connor
Home Savings 6280 Sawmill Rd Dublin OH 1989 Diamond Cellar; art removed Google StreetView mosaic: Wyandotte Indian, homesteader, dam, child on horse in cornfield, Victorian lady, University Hall Denis, Sue; NOVA Designs O’Connor
Home Savings 150 S State St Marion OH 1987 Huntington Google StreetView mosaic birds sitting on vines frieze over the doorway Denis, Sue O’Connor
Home Savings 1055 W Fifth St Marysville OH 1988 The Bank Google StreetView abstract tiles? Plan of mosaic of townscape Denis, Richard Ewen O’Connor
Home Savings 10721 Preston Rd Dallas TX 1989 Chase? Vacant? Google StreetView map of Texas, rodeo, Exxon Mobil pegasus, more Denis, Sue, Studio Marble O’Connor
Home Savings 12802 Memorial Drive Houston TX 1986 Chase Google StreetView Thundering Horses on the Open Range Denis, Sue, NOVA Designs O’Connor
Home Savings 14550 Memorial Drive Houston TX 1986 Chase Google StreetView painted mural: church, farm scene, tractor, trees Denis, Jude Freeman, Kathryn Yelsa
Home Savings 4081 F.M. 1960 West 77068 Houston TX 1987 Chase Google StreetView “rodeo” Denis, Sue, Frank Homolka; Studio MosaicArt Colledani Milan/NOVA Designs O’Connor
Home Savings 10011 FM 1960 Bypass Road West Humble TX 1986 painted mural: oil derrrick, cowboys, longhorns, train Denis, Sue, Kathryn Yelsa O’Connor
Home Savings 2201 N.W. Military Hwy San Antonio TX 1987 International Bank of Commerce Google StreetView mosaic: family group and livestock; H. Lee Hale: “use scenes of early Texas Pioneer cultures (German, English, Irish) overlaid on a background of wild flowers as the subject” – DOC – “No Alamo – Mexicans, etc.” Denis, NOVA Designs O’Connor

3 thoughts on “Update, and Home Savings Branches outside California in Context

  1. The Des Plaines, IL location is still standing and operating as a BoA (https://www.google.com/maps/@42.024126,-87.89384,3a,75y,10.33h,82.9t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sShz7_pqyOtiqLbwiXsDK8A!2e0!7i13312!8i6656!6m1!1e1). 26 Chicago area Savings of America (Chicago did not use the ‘Home’ name) were sold to LaSalle Talman in July 1994. LaSalle Talman subsequently merged into LaSalle Bank, which merged into BoA. Note this is 26 locations, not 15, so you must be missing some (http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1994-07-26/business/9407260316_1_abn-amro-bank-lasalle-national-bank-keefe-bruyette-woods). Also notable is the 120 N LaSalle Savings of America Tower in Chicago with its Flight of Daedalus and Icarus mural by Roger Brown.

    1. Thanks for writing in! This is an important middle step between Savings of America and Bank of America. I am aware of the Chicago tower and I have written about it; I assume the other branches didn’t have art, but I will double-check.

      1. I’ve found a list and have double checked. I think you have all the branches with art. I can add that Willowbrook is still standing as a BoA, it is an outlot. Looking at Google Maps 3D view the mural appears to be over a doorway. Morton Grove has an exterior mural of horses which is visible in Google Street View. Thank you for this page, the Savings of America murals have fascinated me since I was a little kid. My fiance also brought up how much she enjoyed seeing them as a child and it’s nice to see your work exists cataloging them.

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