First American Bank and Trust Company
Main Office Architectural History
Following several moves since its inception in 1928, First American Bank acquired the old post office and federal courthouse building located at 300 College Avenue in Downtown Athens, Georgia, for use as its main offices.
Designed by Architect of the Treasury, James Knox Taylor, and built in 1905, the primary entrance to the building is behind an arcade with pier bases and arches. The two-story pilasters separate rectangular windows capped with shaped lintels on the second story and round windows on the third story. The classical cornice and stone balustrade effectively crown the brick building.
The building was threatened with destruction when the federal offices relocated, and early downtown revitalization plans called for a parking lot on the site. Instead, the Board of Directors of First American Bank and Trust Company saw the value in preserving the building and acquired the structure. It became the first major commercial adaptive re-use in the downtown Athens area. The Second Renaissance Revival-style building's distinctive architectural features have been retained for all to enjoy.
The basement and main floor were originally renovated beginning in 1971, reserving the upper two floors for future development. In June 1973, the Bank moved to its present location from its previous site on the corner of Washington Street and College Avenue. Since that time, the second and third floors have been refurbished and space on the second floor has been put into use as offices, both for the Bank and for private firms.
Additionally, the Historic Upper Courtroom located on the third floor of the building has undergone significant renovations and is now used as a conference and meeting room. A parking garage was built in an unobtrusive area between the Bank and the Georgian Hotel and incorporates a drive-through banking facility on its lower level.
The building has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places by the United States Department of the Interior.