The best kind of preservation success story, I think – a tasty one!
The railroad arrived in Smiths Grove in 1859, some 15 years after the first post office opened in the rural community. The town is located about 14 miles northeast of Bowling Green, the county seat of Warren County, and like many railroad towns in Kentucky, it boomed as soon as the tracks were laid.
Dave and James R. Kirby hired an itinerant stone mason to construct the Farmer’s Bank building in 1894. The limestone building is simple in form – a one-story, front gable structure – but the facade details are delightful. Two stone turrets bookend the stepped parapet on the facade, with a central entablature bearing the name “Farmer’s Bank” above the double entry doors and paired windows.
The Great Depression put an end to business in the wonderful little building, and the bank closed – like so many others – in 1931. It was apparently used as a post office for a while, but then sat empty, while the stone turned dark from grime. In 2015, though, the bank reopened its doors – not as a financial institution, but as a vegan restaurant and cafe.