The Changing Facade of the City National Bank Building

The Changing Facade of the City National Bank Building

City National Bank’s building has long outlived the bank

photo of the City National Bank building on People's Street in Corpus Christi

City National Bank at 406 Peoples St. | Photo from Corpus Christi Public Libraries, La Retama Special Collections & Archives

The turn of the 20th century was a time of much growth in Corpus Christi, and Clark Pease moved to Corpus Christi to serve as president of a new bank. Chartered in 1905, City National Bank was part of a post-Panic of 1893 growth of new banks, as The Panic of 1893 caused the closure of several of Corpus Christi’s first banks. 

The bank built an elaborate four-story building in 1908 at Chaparral and Peoples that still stands today. If you’re having trouble picturing it, it’s because of major exterior changes that make it unrecognizable. City National Bank failed during the Great Depression and closed in 1932. It continued to serve as office space on upper floors but the bank’s marble-clad lobby became a shoe store, Vo-Craft Shoes. It held Charles Shoe Store, Anne Lewis Dress Shop, then Lane’s Dress Shop from 1958 until 1965.

Photos of Lane’s show the façade smoothed out and windows covered, a change made sometime in the 50s and no doubt seen as modern. Today, the windows are again present, but gone are the unique features of this building that made it so attractive in its first decades. Boarded up for years, it came back to life in the early 2000s with a variety of restaurants on the ground floor and office space above. In fact, The Bend Magazine’s own office relocated to this building at the beginning of 2023.

It’s not what it once was, but at 115 years old and with its ‘modern’ changes also historic at this point, it’s poised to continue to serve Corpus Christi for years to come.