[Provided (DeKalb County History Center)]
Decades later, Bigolin, a history writer who collects barbed wire, hosted a tour of the space with staff from the DeKalb Chamber of Commerce, including Executive Director Matt Duffy and membership manager Anna Coates, in anticipation of the city’s government offices moving from the DeKalb Municipal Building to the Nehring building by Dec. 31. The move already was approved by City Council, although it has been stalled by the DeKalb Park District, which owns the building.
The bank’s marble interior, tall lobby ceiling, industrial, thick-walled vaults and ornate decor call to mind the building’s 127-year history. Over the past 40 years, Bigolin has collected several artifacts showcasing the space and showed off several items in a display case near the old tellers’ desks. At one point, a barbershop was set up in the basement, and the lobby was split between the bank and Sheets & Knodle hardware store.
Built in 1892 as DeKalb National Bank at 164 E. Lincoln Highway, the business was renamed First National Bank of DeKalb in 1902. Within 15 years, $95,000 worth of renovations were done to the exterior and interior of the place, which doubled the bank’s floor space, according to a Daily Chronicle clip from October 2001.