Farmers and Mechanics Savings Bank (now Westin Minneapolis Hotel)

Farmers and Mechanics Savings Bank

88 South 6th St
1941, addition in 1963
McEnary & Krafft
Art Moderne

The Farmers and Mechanics Savings Bank was built as a solution to the bank’s growing demand for space following a nationwide rise in the use of mutual banks after the Great Depression. It obtained the lot upon which it sits for a relative bargain in 1939, after concealing its identity throughout the purchase negotiations. After rejecting an initial plan proposed by New York based architects York and Sawyer, a firm well established in bank design, the bank chose the Minneapolis based architects McEnary and Krafft.

The new building opened in March of 1942, a mere 14 months after construction began. It was built in an Art Moderne architectural style with an exterior consisting of pink Kasota limestone and red Ortonville granite trim. Bas-relief ornamentation is featured prominently on both the exterior and interior of the building, with a main entrance inspired by the newly constructed Rockefeller Center, and large carvings of a shirtless farmer and mechanic bordering the Sixth Street door. The interior of the building contained the main banking hall featuring teak paneling, long marble counters, and flowing bronze railings.

Not long after the bank moved in, it once again outgrew its facilities. Aided by mid-century urban renewal and increased home ownership following WWII, the bank demolished the existing 5-story portion to make way for a new 11-story tower. This $6 million dollar expansion, paid for in cash, more than doubled the bank’s size upon completion in 1963. By the end of the 1970’s profits began declining and the building was acquired in 1983 by Carl Pohlad’s Marquette Bank holding company. It is now a Westin hotel with the teller counter serving as a bar and the safety deposit vault a wine cellar.1