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Commercial National Bank Building
El Paso, Texas


Description: Commercial National Bank Building (to 1918)
Other Names: Security Bank & Trust Co. (to 1922); El Paso National Bank (1925); currently John T. Muir Building
Address: North Mesa Street and Mills Avenue, southeast corner, El Paso, El Paso County, Texas
Type: commercial: bank, cafeteria, and professional offices
Original Client: Commercial National Bank
Historic Inventory:
Date: 1914-1916; opened March 18, 1916
Condition:  demolish 2013

Architect or Firm: Henry C. Trost
Associated Architect or Firm: Trost & Trost
Contractors: Otto P. Kroeger
Dimensions and Orientation: 60 feet on Mills Avenue x 96 feet, 8 inches on Mesa Street; three stories and full basement
Budget/Cost: $100,000

Foundation: concrete
Wall Materials: reinforced concrete skeleton and brick, with white terra cotta facing (the reinforced concrete skeleton was built heavy enough to support additional stories when they are needed”)
Roofing Materials: composition
Other Materials Used: The interior was finished in Italian veined marble and bronze.
Remodeling and Additions: lower floor converted to retail space; second floor enclosed

Present Owner:
Location of Drawings: El Paso Public Library: (M-13) 32 ink on linen sheets dated April 30, 1914, including side, front and rear elevations; 3 sheets dated April.20, 1915, and 2 undated sheets
Location of Documentary Photographs: El Paso Public Library: 127, under construction; Ponsford 120, perspective view; Arizona State University, Luhrs Collection, photograph of drawing of proposed 14 story building

Bibliography: (1) Rufe P. March, New Buildings for Year, $4,000,000,” El Paso Herald, August 26, 1916, Progress and Building Section, page 4 (description of building, architects named, budget and opening date given)
(2). Group of Homes of El Paso Financial Institutions,” El Paso Herald, January 28, 1922, page 10B (photograph of exterior with Security Bank and Trust Co. sign in place, as part of a montage of buildings)
(3) El Paso Herald August 29, 1914 – the site is cleared for the building

Remarks: (1) Commission 2295.
(2) The sign visible in photograph EPPL 127 declares that this is the First Skeleton Steel Fireproof building in El Paso.”
(3) A cafeteria was located in the basement.
(4) The plans are for a 14 story building as seen in the perspective drawing in the Luhrs collection. Sheets 8, 9, and 10 of the plans in the EPPL, dated April 20, 1915, revise the elevation to the three story height as built. The fact that the building was not carried out as originally planned accounts for the blunt parapet, seen in Ponsford 120, instead of the ornamental cornice one would expect in a Trost commercial building.
(5) The only trace of Trost & Trost that remains is the shield ornament on the third story.
(6) The land where the bank stood on was owned by Mary Wood the wealthiest black woman in El Paso

Prepared for the El Paso Public Library by Lloyd C. and June F. Engelbrecht under a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, 1980