Backstory and Context
As a testament to Abingdon’s prosperity during the mid-19th-Century, a branch of the Exchange Bank of Virginia opened in 1858. Completed that year, the bank building was located on Main Street, across from the famous Tavern and nearby the Washington County Courthouse. The Abingdon Bank building stands at three stories tall and possesses two entrances. Early bank buildings such as this one typically possessed two entrances: one for the bank on the ground level and the other banker’s residence on the second and third stories. Because the bankers were expected to reside in the banks, many of these buildings were designed to resemble domestic residences, such as the Abingdon Bank. The architectural style of the bank building is very unique for its time. While its primary arrangement is roughly described as late Greek Revival, the building possesses noticeable architectural features that were popular during the Victorian Era.
Robert Preston constructed the building and also served as the first cashier for the bank. However, the Exchange Bank of Virginia failed shortly after the Civil War. The bank building was converted into a residence and continues to be privately owned today. The building was extensively restored during the late-1960s. The Abingdon Bank building was designated a Virginia Landmark on May 13, 1969 and added to the National Register of Historic Places on November 12, 1969.
140-0001 Abingdon Bank. Virginia Department of Historic Resources. April 4, 2018. March 29, 2019. https://www.dhr.virginia.gov/historic-registers/140-0001/.
Thomason and Associates. Architectural Survey Report: Abingdon, Virginia. Virginia Department of Historic Resources. December 1998. March 29, 2019. https://www.dhr.virginia.gov/pdf_files/SpecialCollections/WG-060_AH_Survey_Abingdon_1998_THOM_report.pdf.