Barretville Bank & Trust Company Building

Status: Preserved

Address: 9043 Barret Road, Barretville

Built: 1932; renovated 1958-59

Architectural Style: Commercial Modern Movement

Original Function/Purpose: Bank

The Barretville Bank & Trust Company Building was placed on the National Register on May 7, 2019.

History: The Barret family settled in northern Shelby County in 1852 and opened a general store four years later. The Barretville Bank was founded in 1920 by Paul W. Barret Sr. and the new building that would house the bank for seventy years was completed in 1932. Nearby are the Barret & Son General Store and Paul Barret’s home and National Register-listed “Squire’s Rest”; the Paul Barret Parkway is not far distant. The bank survived the Depression in excellent shape; its deposits of $823.21 in 1920 had grown to more than $500,000 by 1940. The building was renovated in 1958-59 to designs by the firm of Mahan & Shappley, to include a two-room rear addition. (The upper photo above is of a 1950s metal calendar showing the bank’s appearance before it was modified; the lower photo was taken in 2019.) However, the large one-room interior still retains many elements of the earlier building including the tellers’ cages and walk-in vault. When Paul Barret Sr. died in 1976 deposits were said to be $64.3 million. Paul Barret Jr. succeeded his father as president of the bank and the corporation was sold in 2001 for over $100 million. Because of the senior Barret’s strong and long-lasting political influence, notables and candidates for public office frequently visited him at the bank. A different sort of visit occurred in the late 1960s, when a young bank robber pointed his gun at a teller and demanded “all the money.” Barret was standing nearby and “calmly said, “Son, we’re just a country bank. We don’t have any money here.” Of course, that statement was untrue, but the bewildered thief ran out of the bank and sped off in his car.”

City Council District: N/A

Super District: N/A

County Commission District: 1

DON NEWMAN