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"F" is for the Farmers' and Exchange Bank (Charleston)

South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

"F" is for the Farmers’ and Exchange Bank (Charleston). The Farmers’ and Exchange Bank is among the finest examples of the Moorish-revival style in the United States. The Moorish-revival style was the most flamboyant of the nineteenth-century exotic architectural revivals. The Farmers’ and Exchange Bank was one of several bank buildings designed by the Charleston architectural firm of Jones and Lee in the mid-1850s.The two-story façade is clad in mottled New Jersey and Connecticut brownstone. Its exuberant ornamentation included rounded horseshoe arches and Eastern-inspired decorative motifs. On the interior a paved vestibule leads to the large main banking room. This opulent space features arcaded walls, elaborate plaster ornamentation, and a coffered ceiling and skylight. In a city known for its traditional architecture, the Farmers’ and Exchange Bank is a bold and striking anomaly.

Dr. Walter Edgar has two programs on South Carolina Public Radio: Walter Edgar's Journal, and South Carolina from A to Z. Dr. Edgar receivedhisA.B.degreefromDavidson College in 1965 and his Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina in 1969. After two years in the army (including a tour of duty in Vietnam), he returned to USC as a post-doctoral fellow of the National Archives, assigned to the Papers of Henry Laurens.