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Community Bank & Trust, Clarksburg, WV



The Community Bank and Trust was formally The Merchant’s National Bank, an institution that dates from 1860 when it was established in Clarksburg as a branch of the Merchants and Mechanics Bank of Wheeling. It was in the early years from 1892-1930 that the Merchant Building was constructed. It consisted, at that time, of three storerooms. These three rooms are still in their original state today.

In 1894, the Merchant’s National Bank was built in the Despard block of downtown Clarksburg. For many years, this banking house occupied only one storeroom on the north side of West Main Street, in the block between Second and Third Streets.

The three story stone building is a noteworthy example of Neo-Romanesque Revival architecture. The ornate marble work inside was designed by the Fullerton Company of Jamestown, N.Y. in 1906.

Chiseled onto the façade of Clarksburg’s Community Bank and Trust are the fiendish figures of the Chimera, a Greek mythological fire-breathing, female monster with the head of a lion, the body of a goat, and the derriere of a serpent. A Chimera has come to mean, in an architectural sense, almost any grotesque facial representation on a building. Not all Chimeras are horrible to behold. Some of the nearly two-dozen heads adorning the two 50 foot facades on Main and Third Streets look like pleasant, normal people. One even bears a resemblance to Theodore Roosevelt. On each side of the bank door is the head of the lion, which in the classic tradition, is most in evidence.

Despite its modern banking systems, the Community Bank and Trust is one of the city’s oldest and most unique public buildings, with its bizarre decorations of a vanished age. It is a prime example of National Register Properties in West Virginia.

 
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209 Prairie Avenue
Morgantown, WV 26501-5934
304.296.8216 | 800.640.8216
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Martinsburg, WV 25401
877.264.0051
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