Banks were originally built to look impressive. If the building looked impressive it gave the appearance that the bank had lots of money. During the 20th century the appearance became less important.
If a building was designed as a bank, it included a section for a vault. When the building is sold for other use, the vault stays because it is too costly to remove. (The vault door usually goes with the bank. Those things are expensive and can be reused or re-sold.)
Listed here are Santa Cruz County former bank buildings. Buildings that were built as banks and became something else. This list does not include bank buildings that later became a different bank.
1502 Pacific Avenue
According to the plaque on the side of the building... The area suffered a fire in 1894. County Bank of Santa Cruz relocated to this area and had the bank built by 1895. There was extensive remodeling in 1910 and the building was expanded in 1979. In 1977 it was awarded Landmark Status by the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History. This building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982. It was added to the Santa Cruz Historic Building Survey in 1989. The building was demolished except for the façade which is preserved. The structure within the walls is entirely new since the 1989 earthquake.
1515 Pacific Avenue
Peoples Bank built in 1910. Notice the name is "PEOPLES" and not "People's" since it is a plural and not possessive. The name can still be seen atop the front of the building. The architect was William Weeks of Watsonville. (Weeks was also know for building churches.) The building is considered Neo-Classical Revival. According to the 1930 and 1931 Santa Cruz Phone Directory, this was the Farmers and Merchants National Bank. It was added to the Santa Cruz Historic Building Survey in 1989. Farmers & Merchants Bank was later acquired by Wells Fargo.
The building was listed as an historic landmark by the Museum of Art and History in 1990.
1134 Pacific Avenue
Built in 1929 as Bank of Italy. (The name changed in 1930 to Bank of America.) It was taken over by New Leaf Market in 1995. You can still see the "Bank of Italy" sign above the entrance on Pacific Avenue. In 1982 the Museum of Art and History offered landmark status to the building. In 1989, this building was added to the Santa Cruz Historic Building Survey.
The building at 1520 Mission Street was built as a Bell Savings and Loan.
It was last used as a bank in 1993 as Western Federal Savings and Loan.
The structure at 1100 Soquel Avenue, was built in 1923 as a bank. The architect was Lee Esty. It is often called the Cayuga Vault building after a business that was once there. Rumor persists that the building was actually built in 1915. It may have been built as a branch of County First National Bank. It is not listed as a bank in the 1930 Santa Cruz phone book. This bank was the Eastside Branch of Bank of America before they built a "new branch" at 1240 Soquel Avenue.
There was a similar building at 1024 Soquel Avenue that was a church. This was dedicated in 1923 and was destroyed by fire in 2000.
|This building was once used as a campaign headquarters for Bruce McPherson in his successful bid for California Assembly in 1993,||
East Cliff Drive
The Coffeetopia branch at 3701 Portola Drive, has a room called Bank Vault. It is left over from the time when the building was a County Bank of Santa Cruz. See Coffeetopia bank vault for pictures and details.