Iconic Round Bank on I-35 in Bellmead (North of Waco) Slated for Demolition
Located just north of Waco on the east side of I-35, the iconic American National Bank building, completed in 1979, is slated for demolition next year. Plans call for the 40-year-old building to be replaced by a new, smaller bank building. The building’s owner cited the prohibitive expense of rehabilitating the building as a reason for its destruction.
Construction of the bank began in 1977. A 1978 article in the Engineering News Record reported that it was designed by Dallas-based architect Durwood Pickle, who said that the bank, then known as the American Bank of Waco, “wanted its new $1-million building in Bellmead to be a landmark.” The building was designed with extra height so that travelers on the interstate would not look down on its roof.
The Round Bank was built by Waco’s Weithorn Construction. The building made use of lightweight fiberglass-reinforced concrete panels because of concerns for subsoil problems. The innovative, slightly curved panels weigh 3,830 pounds each (compared to 17,000 pounds for a comparably sized concrete panel) and were manufactured by Tekcon in Austin. They are 7.5 feet wide and 25 feet tall. The panels also provide ten times the insulation of precast concrete.
If this distinctive and innovative building were to be determined eligible for the National Register of Historic Places (despite not yet being fifty years old), the building’s owner would have the opportunity to pursue state (25%) and federal (20%) tax credits for its rehabilitation. Preservation Texas has conducted preliminary research to share with the Texas Historical Commission about its history and significance and will explore options for public advocacy to save the structure.
The American National Bank in Bellmead (1979), designed by Durwood Pickle of Dallas.