As you roll down Broadway, the high arching windows and trickling fountain of First National Bank have been your first impression of downtown Ardmore since 1975.
As of this week, that first impression looks a little different.
The 42-year-old building was in need of a little work. And after five months of nips and tucks, the bank known as the ‘gateway to Ardmore’ has been restored to its former glory with an exterior renovation that was completed this week.
Trees were cut, holes were dug and paths were paved but the end result was all worth it, said First National Bank CEO Curtis Davidson.
“What we found after we cut all the trees away was that a lot of people realized this was a beautiful building, a beautiful structure,” Davidson said. “Our goal was to have a landscape plan that complemented the building — I think we accomplished that.”
The trees surrounding the building had become overgrown and sickly and the fountain needed work, but underneath the limbs and dated brick was a hidden gem, Davidson said.
And while the building is relatively new, considering First National Bank has been an Ardmore institution since 1889 and is the oldest bank in Oklahoma, Davidson said the building was due for a refresh.
“We felt like we needed a fresh start,” Davidson said. “ It was time to do it. Everything that had been renovated had been basically the same since this was built and opened in 1975.”
LandPlan, a landscape architecture company, designed a landscaping plan that both showcased the building and added more pathways for pedestrians..
“(LandPlan) did a great job, we’re extremely pleased with the results,” Davidson said.
LandPlan will also be in charge of the $3.4 million streetscape project set to rejuvenate downtown Ardmore in January.
Davidson said having the landscaping plan complement Ardmore’s ongoing rejuvenation was the ultimate goal.
“There will be some similarities,” Davidson said. “We’re surrounded by a beautiful church here, Central Park, and the chamber. It all draws together and shows off our community. We feel like it will continue be a gateway to Ardmore.”