Sunday, April 17, 2016

Farmers and Merchants Union Bank

It was another grand day, sunny and a very warm 79 degrees (26.1 C) by mid-afternoon. We took a drive out into the country and wound up in Columbus. When I worked for hospice, I used to visit people there. We got out and walked around downtown -- a short walk of only a few blocks -- stopping to see the Farmers and Merchants Union Bank. The building was designed by Louis Sullivan, one of his so-called "Jewel Box" banks. Sullivan is known as the Father of the Skyscraper, and the bank's ornamentation looks a bit funny to me, like it had been intended for a larger building than the one it got. The 2009 Johnny Depp movie, Public Enemies, shot some scenes in Columbus, including a robbery at the bank. 



The  other thing I thought about Columbus was that it is one of the those small towns in Wisconsin where about 40% of downtown businesses are taverns, all of which were open on this early Lord's Day afternoon. Another 40% of the businesses are antique shops, none of which were open.

5 comments:

anne marie in philly said...

everybody's gotta believe in something...I believe I'll have another drink.

John Gray said...

DO YOU americans call villages small towns?
or do you have villages in the US?

Michael Dodd said...

John,
Actually this varies to some extent from state to state. Where I grew up, we never called anything a village, really. It was a town until it reached a population of 10,000 and then it became a city. (In Texas at the time, this mattered because a city had to provide certain services like a paid fire department and so on.) I still think in these terms. Columbus, for example, has a population of under 5,000 within the city (ha!) limits.

In the Midwest (like Wisconsin) Town technically means an otherwise unincorporated part of a county. These are actually townships, but people call them the Town of NN. Tom and I lived, for example, in the Town of Delton. Many of these very rural Town(ship) towns have no "town" there. Just a town hall (because it is a civil jurisdiction with certain legal responsibilities)surrounded by farms. Nearby you may have quite large population centers, with tens of thousands of inhabitants, that are called Villages.

In parts of New England, I encountered places called Village (like Brookline Village) which referred to a sort of historical central business area in what may have become -- as the case of Brookline -- a larger suburban city.

It's all very confusing, especially since no matter where an American lives, he or she thinks that the familiar local way is the universal way, no matter what the topic. Or, if not the universal way, then it is still the correct way!


Mitchell is Moving said...

Great building and you're right about the details belonging on something much bigger.

I love John Gray's question. I went to school in the village of Brockport, New York. It was part of the town of Sweden, New York, mostly, but a bit of it was part of the town of Clarkson, New York, too. I do know (or at least I think I know) that a village is part of a town and does not have a mayor or its own laws/government. The town does.

Michael Dodd said...

There are also named communities that are not incorporated in any way, but that still have identifying road signs. In Wisconsin, these signs often say "Unincorporated" under the name of the place to make sure you know what you are passing through.

Hamlets, maybe?

I have an unfinished collection of short stories about such a place I call Penultimate, Wisconsin.