History of the Luzerne Bank Building
The Luzerne Bank Building, 67-69 Public Square, Wilkes-Barre, PA, is fourteen stories plus a gabled-roof penthouse (the tallest building in the Wyoming Valley). It was designed in 1928 by the New York architect Bertram Cunynham in conjunction with the firm of McCormick and French of Wilkes-Barre. Construction was completed in 1930. The building was created in the Neo-Romanesque architectural style, and features a massive fortress-like base with a large entry arch. While much maligned by some, this style was in keeping with the desire of banks to present a look of tradition and security to their customers. Rows of arches and corbelled arches decorate the building above the base and near the top, crowned by a penthouse reminiscent of an Italian villa, complete with red tile roof.
Inside, the lobby ceiling has a decorative relief in the Art Deco style. The bank lobby – five stories high! – is decorated with a beautiful ceiling painted with real gold leaf accents. This ceiling appears to be supported by sculpted figures of coal miners, merchants, and native American Indians.
While many of the tenants within the building have changed throughout the years, the building has always housed a bank on its first floor, from the original Wilkes-Barre Deposit and Savings Bank, to Northeastern Bank, to PNC Bank, to the current Luzerne Bank. Today, wired with fiber optics and crowned with cellphone antennas, the grand old lady of Public Square has one foot anchored firmly in a historic past while the other treads forward into the technology of the future.