Iowa is full of beautiful, historic architecture. One of the crown jewels in Iowa’s architectural landscape is a series of unique and beautiful “Jewel Box” banks, the work of architect Louis Henry Sullivan. Sullivan was born in Boston and was an architect in Chicago from 1875 to the early 1920s. Known as one of America’s most innovative architects, he has been called the “father of skyscrapers” and the “father of modernism.” He is also credited with the architectural saying, “form follows function.”
The Sullivan “Jewel Box” banks were incredibly well-liked. So well-liked, in fact, that he created many variations of them in the last decade of his life. There are eight “Jewel Box” banks in total, and three of them are right here in Iowa: The Merchants’ National Bank in Grinnell, The People’s Savings Bank in Cedar Rapids and The Henry Adams Building in Algona.