Cass County Bank, New Downtown Branch
120 North 6TH Street, Plattsmouth
Cass County Bank completed the construction of a new Plattsmouth downtown branch facility in December 2004. The new 4000 square foot building is reminiscent of the 19th century Riley Hotel that once proudly occupied the northwest corner of 6th & Main street.
The design process for the new building evolved over the course of several months. The key factor was the discovery of an old photograph that Doug Duey presented to the Architect, Allan Quick. The photograph was of the old Riley Hotel which was built on the site in 1890. It was a landmark, recognized by all that traveled down Plattsmouth’s 19th century main street. The hotel burned to the ground in a horrible fire in 1961.
Allan Quick was positively impressed by the strong architectural elements of the old hotel and recommended the feeling of that architecture could be brought back onto the site by recreating much of the dimensions of the top floor of the hotel, incorporating the central gable, the rounded corners of the building and the tower, among other things.
Construction of the new building began in mid-summer, 2003. The exterior and interior of the building depict the Mission, Arts and Crafts sub-style, which was extremely popular during the 1890’s and through about 1915. The primary goal for this project was to design and build a bank building that would further enhance the well preserved 19th century street-scape of downtown Plattsmouth. The bank owners recognize that downtown Plattsmouth belongs to the past as well as to the future and that each of us have a responsibility to do what we can to ensure its architectural integrity.
The Mission-style interior of the bank reflects the earlier design from the Arts and Crafts Movement where furnishings were prized for their honesty, simplicity and usefulness. During that era emphasis was placed on careful workmanship, respect for natural materials and simple lines.
Next, a design motif for the building was sought out. President Doug Duey considered several, including those that would celebrate the early Pioneers, the Native Americans, and the Great Expedition of Lewis and Clarke. Finally, after much consideration, Duey realized that there is one symbol that would be most appropriate, Oak Leaves and Acorns. The stately old Bur Oak trees that dot the landscape of Plattsmouth, many of them 200 years and older, preceded the Pioneers and were ever-present when the Native Americans were dominant in the area. Furthermore, Doug’s father and founder of Cass County Bank, Dave Duey, loved the Bur Oak trees. During his time in Plattsmouth Dave gave away over 8000 trees, many of which have grown to be stately mature trees. Dave felt that the Bur Oak tree was the most beautiful and impressive of all trees, impressive because of its ability to withstand drought, winter storms and the general ravages of time. The oak tree is strong and enduring, an appropriate symbol for the historic river town, Plattsmouth, Nebraska (The Jewel of the Platte).
The process to incorporate the oak leaf symbol began. More than 300 concrete tiles were designed to wrap the exterior facade and to decorate the interior lobby. The oak leaves were hand carved then a mould was created so that they could be cast. The oak leaves and acorns on the interior tiles were high-lighted with gold leaf.
Oak leaves and acorns also adorn the massive tower dome. When the dome construction planning took place several options were explored. Undoubtedly the old hotel tower and dome were originally framed with wood, but the design team searched for a more permanent construction medium. Steel was chosen for the framework and fiberglass reinforced concrete was considered for the dome itself. Archetypes, a company located in Murdock, Nebraska was contacted. That company created the mould for the 6 large dome panels that were needed. A Lincoln company, GFRC, Inc. then cast the individual sections. The fiberglass and concrete panels are stronger and lighter than concrete. Duey suggested that sprays of Bur Oak branches be incorporated in the dome casting. A branch from a Bur Oak was used by a Lincoln artist to sculpt the motif, which was then applied to the dome sections and the sections were then cast.
Cass County Bank was organized in 1966 by Dave Duey and his wife Wilma. Prior to that the Dueys owned a chain of jewelry stores in Kansas and Nebraska. Being a jeweler, Dave loved to sell diamonds and precious gemstones and after becoming a banker he continued to give gemstone jewelry away to friends and employees. He also loved to work with stained glass–appreciating the jewel tones of antique glass. With that in mind, the design of the new bank incorporated stained glass elements.
Twelve stained and beveled glass windows were designed and installed in the tower of the dome. The North Carolina artisan that fabricated the windows had a difficult time in shipping them. The first two attempts to ship 5 panels ended in failure as they were badly broken. A human interest footnote should be mentioned here. The artisan’s employer, a dentist, empathized with her and her difficulties and graciously flew her to Plattsmouth from North Carolina in his private plane, along with the 12 windows. The colors for the glass were chosen to complement the 19th century style tower street clock, which was designed and built by the founder, Dave Duey in 1981. The clock is known as the “Anniversary Clock” as it was dedicated in celebration of the 40th wedding anniversary of Dave and Wilma Duey, the 15th anniversary of the founding of Cass County Bank and the 50th anniversary of Korn Karnival.
Stained and beveled glass doors and windows were used generously throughout the exterior and interior of the building. Stained glass was used during the early part of the last century also Dave Duey enjoyed designing and fabricating objects and windows from stained glass. He also enjoyed woodworking and as a tribute to Dave’s memory special emphasis was placed on the quarter-sawn oak woodwork and stained glass elements found through the facility. Each of the office doors and accompanying side-lights contain large mission-style leaded stained and beveled glass panels of dark green, rust, amber and clear glass. Each panel contains 180 separate pieces of glass. The stained glass work was created by Lambrecht Art Glass Studio located in the Old Market in Omaha. During the excavation of the site remnants of the old hotel were found, including floor tiles, base-board and wood trim. Old photographs of the interior were examined also and it was determined that the interior of the hotel was designed in the then popular Mission Style. Oak millwork was used almost exclusively during this period of American Architecture so it was a given that quarter-sawn red oak would be the most appropriate wood to use for the interior of the new bank. Terry Buchholz, president of T.L.B. Enterprises of Glenwood, Iowa was hired to produce and install the Mission Style 5 1/2″ wide door casing, wainscoting and white oak office doors. Terry agreed to make a shaping blade for the baseboard, modeling it after the remnant of the base board found in the hotel rubble. Terry and his assistants also built the all cabinets, office desks, teller counter, and the elliptically shaped check stand.
Copper hardware and ornamentation was also used during the Mission Style period. It was determined that we would incorporate copper where possible in the new building.The ceramic floor tiles found in the excavation indicated that the interior of the old hotel was designed with the colors of nature, i.e. soft browns, rusts and greens, which were the popular colors during the Arts and Crafts era. We decided to incorporate the same color, thereby remaining true to the period.
Vulcan Supply Company, a family owned company located in Westford, Vermont emerged. Master copper-smiths, within that company produce custom ornamentation metal for roofing and exterior decoration. Vulcan Supply fabricated the copper cresting that runs the length of the slate covered roof ridge. They also fabricated the 6′ finial that crowns the concrete dome as well as the copper urns flanking the east roof gable. The urns were included in the design when it was realized that most of the 19th century buildings on Plattsmouth’s main street originally had urns adorning their facades. Only a few of them remain today, however. Buildings in Plattsmouth were studied, including the magnificent court house. Architect, Allan Quick, identified certain design elements from the court house and the city hall to use on the bank. He also recommended that the arched windows be capped with a rounded concrete window cap, which would terminate into the window surround. Duey suggested that a concrete oak leaf might provide a good termination point for the window caps. This was done, however not without a lot of planning and some difficulty. The central arch at the east elevation is surrounded by massive concrete sections, weighing hundreds of pounds. It was not an easy task to put those in place, but the design, which includes a massive rusticated key stone is reminiscent of design elements found in the city hall and court house and was, to everyone’s point of view, worth the effort.
A goal for this project was to create an atmosphere that was spacious and at the same time light, warm and inviting. To achieve this goal the 50’x30′ central lobby was designed with 18′ sidewalls and an open-truss and wood deck ceiling that reaches 28′ in height. This area is extremely well lighted with both natural light from clear story windows that wrap the roof line and artificial lighting from period light fixtures. The fixtures, including two large chandeliers and numerous wall sconces were custom made by Old California Lantern Company of Orange, California. They were fabricated of copper and stained glass which is over-laid with a copper oak leaf and acorn filigree.
Art in the lobby includes two oil paintings by Gene Roncka of Ashland, Nebraska. One of the large paintings is entitled “Lewis and Clark in search of Otos. The painting depicts Lewis and Clark expedition vessels, Native Americans and the confluence of the Platte and Missouri rivers. It was painted from a vantage point in Swallow Hills on the north edge of Plattsmouth. The other large painting is entitled “Ietan, Oto Chief”. That painting was painted near Two Rivers State Park. The lobby also contains a large stone fireplace which was constructed of native limestone salvaged from the massive 24″ foundation of the Riley Hotel which once stood on the site. The Arts and Crafts fireplace surround is hammered copper and was hand made in Europe. The inlaid medallion incorporated into the face of the fireplace and also installed on the central arch of the east elevation contains a wreath of oak leaves and acorns and the original CCB logo. The medallion and the oak leaf adorned mantle are highlighted in gold leaf.
The central lobby also contains a large elliptical teller line, flanked with two new-accounts desks. Also included in the lobby is a courtesy check-stand which is crowned by a large copper vase. No doubt, the vase will be filled with fresh roses during the summer months. Wilma Duey has become known by many as the “Rose Lady”, because for many years she has tended her hybrid tea rose garden and shares the roses on a daily basis with employees of the bank and businesses on main street.
The lobby opens up into four private offices. The new building also includes a large kitchen/conference area, a vault and a large formal conference room. The focal point of the conference room is a 10′ stained glass interior dome which contains hand-painted oak leaves and acorns. The conference room is wainscoted in quarter-sawn oak and provides a 16′ conference table with green leather chairs. Art work in the Conference room includes a painting by the Bellevue Artist, Hal Holoun. The piece is entitled “The Missouri River at Plattsmouth”.
South Dakota granite cobble stones originally provided the paving surface for Plattsmouth’s main street. They were replaced with red brick in 1909, followed by asphalt in the middle of the 20th century. It was decided that the original cobblestones would be replicated through the use of a stamped concrete product. One of the old original cobblestones was located and used to select the proper South Dakota Granite color and texture. The replicated cobblestones line the sidewalks and were used for the entry porch areas as well. KFG Manufacturing of Plattsmouth fabricated brass CCB logos which were inlaid in the stamped concrete cobblestones.
The beautiful 19th century vault door was originally installed in the Eagle State Bank building when it was constructed in about 1880. When that building was remodeled in 1974 Doug Duey salvaged the old door and stored it for 30 years. It is gratifying to find a use for it in a new bank building where it fits in with the decor. A beautiful wrought-iron day gate was manufactured for the vault by local artisan Carl Rhylander.
An interesting historical artifact was placed in the south entry foyer of the building. It is a mission-oak father/son shoe shine bench which was originally used in Plattsmouth’s Pepperberg Cigar Factory. Julius Pepperberg was the first cigarmaker in Plattsmouth. He came from Warsaw, Poland and started his business here with $800. By 1882, he had six to eight employees and was manufacturing 800,000 cigars a year. In 1885 he felt he could afford to construct a building on Plattsmouth’s Main Street to house his cigar factory for the manufacture of “Pepperberg’s Buds”, the “ideal 5 cent cigar”. That building is still standing at 525 Main Street. In 1908 Pepperberg moved his business to Lincoln to make his ten-cent cigars because he felt that there was no market for the more expensive cigars in Plattsmouth. The factory continued in Lincoln until 1930. A Mr. Conis purchased the Plattsmouth operation and continued under the name of Conis Cigar Store. Tom Conis, son of the Cigar Store owner and one of the original directors of Cass County Bank, gave the Pepperberg shoe shine bench to Dave Duey 30 years ago. It is unusual in that the arm-divided bench has a large seat and next to it a small seat…designed for father and son. The bench has found its new home now in the new bank building.
As a token of thanks, the Cass County Bank gave away literally hundreds of genuine gemstones during its Grand Opening Celebration. This was also in tribute of the Founders, Dave and Wilma Duey. In conclusion, the directors, officers and employees of Cass County Bank welcome new and existing customers to enjoy the atmosphere of the downtown branch. We hope that you see the bank building as we do….one more gemstone in the “Jewel of the Platte”, Plattsmouth, Nebraska.
Completion Date: 12/28/04
Grand Opening: 6/3/05 & 6/4/05