I stopped in at Midwest Heritage Bank, nearing the end of a total interior renovation, yesterday to take a look at the new decor. Although the building still looks the same from the outside, the interior has been revolutionaized so that the lower level can be fully utilized as insurance and banking services are consolidated in one structure. (I'm told, by the way, that courtesy of Dwight Vredenburg there are no basements in the Hy-Vee world --- Midwest Heritage and its branches are "Hy-Vee banks" --- only "lower levels.")
Banking areas as well as that lower level have been reorganized and entirely redecorated. The whole thing is decidedly upscale and beautifully done, but the part of it that will blow you away --- dozens of enlarged, beautifully framed and thoughtfully deployed gallery-worthy historic images of Lucas County.
The bigger share of these came from the Lucas County Historical Society collection (I've been busy lately recateloging and reintegrating originals into the collection) with substantial contributions from the Hy-Vee archives and John Pierce. You will be absolutely amazed when you see them.
The copying, restoring and enlarging were handled by Becky Fletcher and her staff at Copy Plus; the framing by Whites' Gallery, Osceola.
I'm told there will be a public open house at the bank on May 17, so don't miss it.
The exterior of the bank was not altered during the renovation --- and that's a positive thing for a structure that has passed through several perceptual phases as years have passed. When built, it represented the latest in smaller-town banking design; then it passed through years of looking "outdated"; and now it's regaining prestige as a near-perfect example of what banking looked like (from the outside) when it was built. When it passes its 50th birthday in a few years, it officially will become "historic."
But I'm sorry, Christopher, even with new coats of paint those plastic flower pots do not live up either to the exterior or the now-stunning interior.