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First National Bank
Albuquerque, New Mexico


Description: First National Bank
Other Names: First National Bank in Albuquerque (1933)
Address: North Third Street and West Central Avenue, Albuquerque, Bernalillo County, New Mexico
Type: commercial: bank
Original Client: J.M. Raynold
Historic Inventory: National Register number 79003127; on New Mexico State Register of Cultural Properties
Date: 1920-1923
Condition: extant: downstair bank and upstair residences ( Banque)

Architect or Firm: Henry C. Trost
Associated Architect or Firm: Trost & Trost and George P. Hill
Contractors: Sumner Sollitt Co., El Paso Chicago; Tucson Steel Company, 1701 Olive St., El Paso, Texas
Dimensions and Orientation: eight stories, L-shaped
Budget/Cost: $434,000 site cost $100,000

Foundation: concrete
Wall Materials: concrete, faced
Roofing Materials: flat
Other Materials Used:
Remodeling and Additions: first floor remodeled into offices and conference spaces; handicapped access installed; interior remodeling in 1947 by Meem and Zehner.

Present Owner: First National Bank
Location of Drawings: El Paso Public Library: Commission 2524: (V-1) 7 ink on linen plans dated December 1920; (K-6) 5 sheets ink on linen plans, elevations and details, dated December, 1920 (inscribed in ink checked 8/29/22and initialed GMW); (K-7) 35 sheets ink on linen plans, including elevations, dated December, 1920 and December, 1921; (K-8) 7 sheets, ink on linen plans dated July 26, 1921; (K-9) tissue plans, basement, first, mezzanine, typical; (WW-1) 7 blueprint revisions bearing various dates during March through August, 1922; Arizona State University, Luhrs file: photograph of drawing, perspective view.
Location of Documentary Photographs: El Paso Public Library, Ponsford 133, interior under construction, (1922); Ponsford 134 and 135, interior as completed; Ponsford 138, 139, 140, snapshots of the opening day; 230 recto (pre-Trost building), 397-G to 397-K, 397-D; Ponsford 137, 136, 204, ornamental details; Ponsford 205, Henry C. Trost with bags of Portland cement; Albuquerque Museum: nearing completion; east side; The First National Bank: under construction; bank as completed.

Bibliography: (1) Lloyd C. and June F. Engelbrecht, Henry C. Trost: Architect of the Southwest(El Paso: El Paso Public Library Association, 1981), pages 99-100
(2) Edna Heatherington Bergman, The Fate of Architectural Theory in Albuquerque: Buildings of Four Decades, 1920-1960, Master of Architecture thesis, University of New Mexico, 1978, pages 53-57
(3) Forty-two Years of Banking Service in New Mexico; the First National Bank,[1923]. A copy is in Special Collections, University of New Mexico Library, Box I, collection 112, folder 4, item 46; another copy, item 47.
(4) Albuquerque Journal, April 23, 1925, page 6 ‘Damage Suit of Bank Begin in Federal Court’
(5) El Paso Herald, January 7, 1916 page 2  ‘Reynolds Will Build New Bank’

Remarks: Commission no. 2524 (V-1), 1920
In 1884, brothers Jefferson and Joshua Raynolds were able to buy out the First National Bank of Albuquerque and assumed its name. The brothers also operated a successful banking institution in Las Vegas, New Mexico and then soon decided to extend the family banking business into El Paso. The First National Bank opened in 1900s, with Joshua serving as president of the bank.

In 1916, Joshua Raynolds announced his retirement from the First National Bank of El Paso and his plans to erect a new five story bank building in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Four lots on the north side of Central avenue, at the corner of Third street, were purchased for the new bank building. The cost for the new site was $100,000, and was one of the biggest real estate deals made at the time. The cost for the new building was to be $150,000.

In January of 1917, James Madison Raynolds, son of Joshua S. Raynolds succeeded his father as president of the First National Bank of Albuquerque. Senior Raynolds had plans to visit the Pacific Coast and then winter in Corpus Christi.Work on the new bank building began in the early 1920s. The firm of Trost & Trost were chosen as the architects for the building. Sumner Sollitt Company was the contractor, with construction cost estimated now at $434,000.

The entrance lobby was located off Central avenue. The large bank lobby was divided by two rows of octagonal columns; on the east wall behind the teller’s cages were large mirrors which exactly echoed the west side windows in their framing and molding. The bank had a 28 foot vaulted ceiling and the interior floors were grey streak marble. The building stood 141 feet high, the city’s first skyscraper.

In April of 1925, the case of the First National Bank of Albuquerque vs Sumner Sollitt Contractor was filed in federal court. The bank was asking for $14,450 in damages for the alleged failure of the construction company to complete the bank building on contract time.
It was alleged that under the terms of the contract the construction company was to pay the bank $100 a day for every day the completion of the building was delayed after April 1, the date specified in the contract. The defendant’s attorney attempted to prove that the delay in turning over the building was to the fault of the plaintiff and the architects Trost & Trost.
In the mid-1970s, the First National Bank opened it’s new headquarters building a block to the north, in the new First Plaza Building, leaving the 1922 building vacant.

Today the building’s lobby is occupied by the Sunrise Bank and the office spaces above have been converted into residential apartments.
Prepared for the El Paso Public Library by Lloyd C. and June F. Engelbrecht under a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, 1990.