City Directories and History: In 1891, several prominent citizens of the town of Hampton organized the Bank of Hampton. Purchasing a lot across from the County Courthouse, they engaged architect/builder
Vincent J. Fontaine to construct a prominent edifice for the new bank. Fontaine, a French immigrant, studied architecture in Italy before moving to South Carolina in the early 1870s. The two-story Italianate influenced brick building was completed in 1892. The building features segmental arches over door and window openings, and low flat parapets at the side elevations. As the county seat, Hampton had six lawyers by 1883, several of which rented upstairs offices. Establishment of the bank was an important factor in securing the town’s position as a regional center, and by 1905 Hampton was listed as a “banking town” in a statewide business directory. The Bank of Hampton operated successfully until 1926, and three years later the building was purchased from its receivers by their competitors, The Loan and Exchange Bank. From the 1930s to the 1960s the building was operated as rental commercial space, still maintaining the upstairs law offices. In 1987, heirs of the buildings’ owners gave it to the town of Hampton. The building since then houses the Hampton Museum and Visitors’ Center. Listed in the National Register May 30, 2001. (Courtesy of South Carolina Department of Archives and History)
“Built ca. 1897, this two-story Italianate Victorian style commercial building is of brick construction with pink mortar. The windows are two over two (2/2) lights with stilted segmental arches. The bricks are laid in the common bond. Building appointments are typical of the period, with a saw tooth pattern in the entablature and a stepped parapet.
The building, now vacant, had been used for a number of different purposes since the bank declared bankruptcy in 1926.”
Information from: Historic Resources of the Lowcountry, The Lowcountry Council of Government, Cynthia C. Jenkins, Preservation Planner – Published, 1979
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