It's not New York City, or Chicago, and we don't want it to be! The skyline of Alexandria is smaller than some but still has its share of classic architectural examples.

The Commercial Building on Third Street has stood the test of time, and remains a pleasing reminder of the past; and it continues in daily use in downtown Alexandria today. The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places on November 29, 1978.

The Tallest Building: The Guaranty Bank & Trust Company

Following Paul Lisso’s death in 1911, Joseph A. Bentley was elected president of the First National Bank.   Expansion plans were being formed in 1918 for a ten story office building and the ground breaking was held on February 28, 1919, across Third Street from the Alexandria City Hall.  The architect was Emile Weil, and T.S. Moudy and Company of Chattanooga, Tennessee was the contractor. 

The $750,000 structure provided 6,000 square feet of space for banking functions.  By 1920, bank resources had reached over $5,000,000. 

Early in 1921, stockholders voted to change from a national bank charter to a state bank charter; this obviously called for a name change and Guaranty Bank and Trust Company was the name selected.  The “City Savings Bank and Trust Company,” originally a sister institution to the “First National Bank,” was absorbed into the Guaranty Bank at the time the latter facility was reorganized under a state charter.  Shortly thereafter, the new Guaranty Bank Building was completed.

We clearly remember the many trips up in the Guaranty Bank elevator to the upper floors where my father's life insurance offices were located. The marble, the wood, the fine glass, and the views over downtown ... still fresh in my memory!

Commercial Building downtown, built circa 1915, listed on the National Register

Photo taken 2003

Modern Savings & Loan Building in the background, with One Hour Cleaners in the foreground