Citizens Bank of Weston, WV

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Appalachian Blacksmiths Association

 

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A Man and His Bank
Samuel Yellin
Art Deco, 1980


Organized in 1978, the Appalachian Blacksmiths Association is an affiliate of ABANA. We represent blacksmiths, bladesmiths, and farriers in West Virginia and its surrounding states of Pennsylvania, Ohio, Maryland, Virginia, and Kentucky. 

We publish a quarterly newsletter which keeps our membership up to date on events. The newsletter also features many metalworking tips.  

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Appalachian Blacksmiths Association

© 2002-3

Nothing herein may be reproduced unless permission of the submitter and/or the Appalachian Blacksmiths Association is given.

 

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teller wicket, 1980

new lobby stairwell, 1980

Teller's Wicket at Samuel Yellin Co., 1980. Photo appears courtesy of Fred Crist.

Art Deco stairway; Brass rail by Samuel Yellin Co., 1980. Photo appears courtesy of Fred Crist.

 

Art Deco 1980; Reinventing the Original

By Dave Allen for the ABA

When the Citizens Bank expanded in 1980, it fell upon Harvey Yellin and his crew at Samuel Yellin Metalworkers to recreate some of his father's Art Deco ironwork. 

The first challenge? Build two teller’s wickets that matched exactly the ones that were made some 50 years prior. Armed with Samuel Yellin's blueprints for the original wickets, lead blacksmith, Fred Crist, set about to do the job. One of the ‘new’ wickets is pictured above at Yellin’s Philadelphia shop.

In an effort to make the bank’s new addition match the Art Deco south wing, architects designed a gracious winding staircase. Crafting the flat brass stairway railing proved a monumental challenge for Harvey Yellin, Fred Crist, Pete Washquarak, and Lou Boccanera. After bending the brass to their survey, they still needed 6 days onsite fitting the railing to the staircase. After that, the brass went back to the shop for annealing. And then, it took them four more days onsite to complete the installation.

The other major task facing the Yellin shop was fabricating a new window frame. This is no mere window. At 33’ tall and half as wide, the work had to be split into 3 sections for transport. This window matches the original arched windows of the bank although the earlier ones have detailed inlays.

All in all, the 1980 addition is faithful to the original bank. The main exception is the ceiling. To duplicate the plaster relief and the chandeliers was impossible, both in terms of cost and in finding craftsmen to do the work.

Were it not for the Yellin company, there is no doubt that the Art Deco metalwork would not match the original work. If there is a case for preserving the craft of blacksmithing, then this building may be the perfect example.

From interviews with Claire Yellin, Samuel Yellin Metalworkers, & Fred Crist. Fred Crist now operates Metalsmiths in Waynesboro, VA with David Munn. 

gene edwards, 1980

gene edwards at notre dame univ.

gene edwards at st. vincents

 

Gene H. Edwards  1904-1981

Gene Edwards, a standout in sports at Weston HS, was recruited by Knute Rockne, the legendary Notre Dame coach to play football. In 1926, Gene quarterbacked the Fighting Irish to a 9-1 season. He also played in the 1924 Rose Bowl when Notre Dame beat Stanford.

After graduating, he coached at St. Vincent’s College in Latrobe, PA and it was there that Art Rooney offered him the coaching position of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Gene declined—the Steelers couldn’t match his college salary!

He left coaching in the mid-30’s and then owned and operated a successful Miller beer distributorship in Beckley. Returning to Weston in 1956, he became affiliated with the Citizens Bank at the behest of his uncle, Tom Whelan. 

Gene was elected Chairman of the Board of Directors of the bank in 1968 and it was during his tenure that the new wing was added.

Gene was inducted into the WV Sports Hall of Fame in 1970.

Photos and story courtesy of Gene Edwards, Jr. (Gene Edwards, ca. 1978; as quarterback at Notre Dame Univ.; as coach at St. Vincent's)

 

 

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