We sometimes get the privilege of incorporating a client’s history into their future building. Ohio Valley Bank has been providing financial services with a “community first” mission in Gallipolis, Ohio, for nearly 150 years. OVB wanted that rich history reflected in their newest bank building.
Ohio Valley Bank was established in 1872 in Gallipolis, with 19 offices throughout southern Ohio and western West Virginia. In 1896, they built an office building on the corner of 2nd Avenue and State Street, located on the town square and next to Gallipolis City Park. When it was built, it was the tallest building in Gallia County. The three-story building housed one of the original bank branches, office space on the upper floors, and several key business ventures for the citizens of Gallipolis. Robert Lewis Evans, the founder of Bob Evans, lived and started his first 12-stool diner in Gallipolis. Local legend states Bob Evans and his business partners signed the papers to incorporate Bob Evans Farms on the second floor of the OVB building.
The building has changed owners many times over the course of its 123 years. Ohio Valley Bank recently purchased the building and the surrounding property with the intent to restore the original building and create an addition to house their leadership team and a large number of their staff. The buildings to the west and north of the corner building were deemed unsafe for future use, but the original bank building on the corner was determined to be structurally sound. It might have been easier to tear it down and build something new, but they chose to revitalize a key part of Gallipolis history.
The existing building on the corner will contain several offices and the company executives’ area. The existing third level will be restored and house a large community board room. The two-story addition to the west will contain a variety of work spaces. The rooftop will connect to the community board room, and feature a large patio facing Gallipolis City Park. The entire project is a nod to the building’s rich history while offering modern conveniences for the staff and community. The exterior of the project is designed to reflect the styles of the original unique storefronts that occupied this land during the early 20th century, adding to the current downtown fabric along the square.
Ohio Valley Bank’s investment into the community will revitalize this corner of the square while offering opportunities for other businesses and the community to engage with the space. This unique design opportunity allow Ohio Valley Bank to offer modern, convenient spaces for their staff to work efficiently and effectively while highlighting their legacy and a key piece Gallipolis’ history.
Rebecca Martin RA
Associate, Registered Architect