Jennings Bank: In Plain Sight

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Jennings Station Road and Lewis & Clark Blvd.
Jennings, MO

Built in 1967, this building has always been a bank.  It is located in a nebulous part of North St. Louis County, where you move a block it’s Jennings, move a few blocks over it’s Bellefontaine Neighbors, though a bit of Moline Acres sneaks into a crack.  The bank that now occupies the building uses Jennings as their mailing address, so Jennings it is.

My paternal grandmother lived a few blocks away from here (with a Bellefontaine Neighbors mailing address), so I grew up with this bank as a normal part of daily life.  Back in the day, the concrete roof and columns were bright white, but the new beige does not diminish the dramatic tension of a delicate band of clerestory trapped between heavy concrete and solid brick.  Though the vertical blinds in the glass wall bump out do slightly mar the sense of floating.


But drive by at night to get a better sense of light vs. heavy.  Do you notice something odd between night and day?


At night, the virile and industrial bank vault is left exposed, but during the day, those vertical blinds keep it hidden.  Back in the day, it was always exposed.  If anyone knows why the current inhabitants keep this curious blind parting schedule, please do share.

9 thoughts on “Jennings Bank: In Plain Sight

  1. That was originally Landmark Bank. My family had a portrait taken there in the late 1970s. It used to have a drive up window and at least three or four drive thru lanes but they were replaced by the bank across the street which was built by Lankmark as well. That bank has been bought out several times.

  2. blinds left open at night would expose any mischief that may be afoot to police officers, etc. that may be driving by……

  3. They leave the blinds open so no one can work on breaking in during the night because they would be seen. Likewise, if the police drive by and the robbers have closed the drapes to work, they will immediately know something is amiss.

  4. Reminds me of the sublime bank building that used to be at the corner of Forsyth & Hanley, which was torn down to erect a super-ugly Mercantile Bank that is now whatever bank of the minute it has become. Do you remember that bank? All glass walls, soaring roof that seemed to float over it?

  5. My guess is that the vault is open during the day, so, they keep the blinds drawn so nobody can see who goes in and out. Oh, and it’s probably a good idea to have the blinds drawn when someone is entering the combination to open it… at night, they can leave it exposed as a big ole nyah, nyah, nyah, you can’t open me! 😉

  6. LOVE the names of the neighborhoods in North Saint Louis > Moline Acres, Bellefontaine Neighbors, Dellwood, Cool Valley, Hazelweood, Fluorescent, Jennings, Pine Lawn, Blackjack, etc.

  7. Hi Toby – Beautiful photos! My jeweler friend always keeps the blinds closed in the room where his vault is located. It seems it would make sense for the bank to do the same.

    However, I do know that banks use “Morning Glory” safety procedures. In the morning, the person designated to go into the bank first makes sure there isn’t anyone hidden in the bank waiting to rob them. Then, they give an “all clear” sign to the rest of the employees waiting in the parking lot by raising or closing blinds, moving a plant, placing a post-it note, or some other subtle clue.

    If the other employees don’t see the all clear sign within a certain amount of time, instead of entering the bank, they call the police. Maybe this bank is using their blinds as the all clear sign by closing them in the morning. Just a guess.

  8. way neat. I like the chrome safe. I wish I had one. I am glad it is on display- it is a feature of the secure nature of the bank. Just flaunting it. I love it.

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