First National Bank (Grand Forks, North Dakota)

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First National Bank
1st nat. bank 1915.jpg
Photographed in 2006
First National Bank (Grand Forks, North Dakota) is located in North Dakota
First National Bank (Grand Forks, North Dakota)
First National Bank (Grand Forks, North Dakota) is located in the US
First National Bank (Grand Forks, North Dakota)
Location 322 DeMers Ave., Grand Forks, North Dakota
Coordinates 47°55′29″N 97°1′52″W / 47.92472°N 97.03111°W / 47.92472; -97.03111Coordinates: 47°55′29″N 97°1′52″W / 47.92472°N 97.03111°W / 47.92472; -97.03111
Area less than 1 acre (0.40 ha)
Built 1914 and 1915
Architectural style Early Commercial, Classical Revival, Other, and Vernacular
MPS Downtown Grand Forks MRA[2]
NRHP reference # 82001323 [1]
Added to NRHP October 26, 1982

The First National Bank is a five-story building in Grand Forks, North Dakota, that was built in 1914–15 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982. It was built for the Scandinavian-American Bank, but has been identified as the First National Bank building since 1929.

When it was founded, the Scandinavian-American Bank had its offices in the Metropolitan Opera House n Grand Forks. The new bank building was constructed in 1914–15 and occupied in 1915. When the bank later obtained a charter as a national bank, it took the name Northwestern National Bank. In 1929, it merged with the First National Bank, and the combined bank located in this building.[3] First National Bank failed in 1933, during the Great Depression, but was replaced by a new First National Bank entity that later became Alerus Financial in 2000.[4]

The building is located on a corner lot, approximately 90 by 100 ft (27 by 30 m) in size, at the intersection of DeMers Avenue and North Fourth Street. It is considered an "outstanding example" of the use of Classical Revival architecture in the context of a large commercial building.[3] The two sides that face the street have two-part facades in which the lower two stories are fronted by rusticated ashlar piers built on top of polished granite blocks and the three upper stories are faced with red brick. The top of the building is decorated with a stone cornice.[3]

The property was included in a 1981 study of the historical resources of downtown Grand Forks.[2] It was damaged by flooding and fire in the 1997 Red River Flood; it is the only building on the block that was not demolished as a result of flooding and fire.[5][6][7]


The First National Bank Building is in the left foreground in this old postcard image of DeMers Avenue.
  1. ^ National Park Service (2009-03-13). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 
  2. ^ a b Norene Roberts; Joe Roberts (November 30, 1981). "National Register of Historic Places: Downtown Grand Forks MRA". National Park Service. 
  3. ^ a b c C. Kudzia, Norene; Joe Roberts, Gary Richardson (September 1981). "North Dakota Cultural Resources Survey: First National Bank". National Park Service.  and Accompanying two photos, exterior, from 1981
  4. ^ "Alerus Financial History". Alerus Financial. Retrieved February 18, 2013. 
  5. ^ "Flood waters at the corner of 4th Street and Demers Avenue, Grand Forks, N.D." (photograph). State Historical Society of North Dakota. 
  6. ^ "Downtown Grand Forks After the Flood". Grand Forks Flood and Recovery. Alan Draves. Retrieved February 18, 2013. 
  7. ^ "Downtown Grand Forks After Hell and High Water". Grand Forks Flood and Recovery. Alan Draves. Retrieved February 18, 2013.