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Alton Savings and Loan
600 E. Third Street, Alton, IL - Metro East
Architect:
Date: 1960

Alton's most fabulous Mid-Century building began life in 1961 as a Savings and Loan, hailed on its opening as the "latest in building style"1. Alton Savings & Loan Association occupied an older building on the same site until 1960, when it was demolished for the present structure.

Much later, it hosted a variety of doctors' offices, and was known as the Physicians Plus Building. After several years of vacancy, renovations began in 2011 to convert it to a new headquarters for Ziemer USA, with leasable office space on the upper floors.

The building is a tour de force of Mid-Century pizazz. It's composed of two rectangular volumes with a stair tower projecting from between them. On the west, a solid wall of smooth, glossy black brick is broken only by the Googie curved projection of the drive-up teller windows' overhang. The same black brick is used on the eastern wing's front facade. The western front features a giant wall of gold anodized aluminum rings, suspended on a grid in front of the building's windows to form a sun screen.

The stair tower is all glass on two sides, with a continuous concrete floor surface floating between the building's main mass and the stone front wall. A white underside contrasts with the black sides, emphasizing the continuity.

The stair weaves its way around a four-story lighting fixture, aluminum rods holding lights at various heights. The floors are finished in terrazo. The stairwell walls are tiled in white, with flecks of color. The door paddles, the stairwell sconces, the stair rails - all bear the distinctive flair of their time.

In back, a shockingly steep and narrow driveway descends the hill to the drive-up teller windows. For customers parking in back, a stepped series of concrete roof planes, curved at the edges, covers the stairs from the parking lot.

  • Alton Mid-Century Bank at B.E.L.T.
  • - a great writeup by Toby Weiss. (If the photos look similar to mine, it's because we were there taking them at the same time!)

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