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Familiar Main Street facade survived 1913 fire, serves multiple purposes

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By Tom Watson

It was a chore that produced anticipation.

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When a youngster, I would hang around my father’s Western Auto store in Taylorsville. Sometimes he’d think of things for me to do, like feeding some lumps of coal to the pot bellied stove, crawling into a showcase window to add an item for display or my favorite – “Go get the mail.”
I would hurry to the post office (next to the courthouse), leap up the concrete steps and head straight for our box. It was exciting to turn the combination lock on the box and open it.
As Forest Gump would say, “You never know what you’re going to get,” although most of the time it was bills or other stuff store managers receive. I didn’t know anything about the building’s history back then and really didn’t care.
As my brain matured somewhat, I developed an interest of many things historical in my hometown.
The incredible historian Carolyn Brooks said in her Kentucky historic resources inventory that the building at 319 Main Street is: “One of Taylorsville’s most significant commercial buildings, both in terms of commerce and architecture.”
She said the facade remaining after a major fire in 1913 is significant because it provides information about the nature and scale of the town’s historic businesses and the structures that housed them.”
The Peoples Bank was chartered in July 1903, and the building was constructed that year.
Ms. Brooks uses old Sanborn insurance maps to garner much of the information she collects about towns with historical districts.
The Peoples Bank remained in the building until 1936 while the old Bank of Taylorsville operated across the street. The Bank of Taylorsville failed  and The Peoples Bank acquired its offices.