By Madeline Dunn, Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs’ National Register coordinator-historian

The town of Frankford, Del. is asking for help from the community in researching the history of a familiar building located at 5 Main St. known historically as the First National Bank of Frankford.

Photo of the First National Bank of Frankford building
First National Bank of Frankford building

Under the leadership of Town Council President Gregory Welch, volunteer research committee members Kyle Quillen, Police Chief Larry Corrigan and Officer Anthony Valenti are gathering information to nominate this town-owned property to the National Register of Historic Places, the official list of the nation’s historic places worthy of preservation. Obtaining this honorary designation ensures that historic properties are recognized as significant in the federal planning process, are eligible for historic preservation tax credit initiatives and are eligible for federal grants when funds are available.

So far, researchers know that the First National Bank of Frankford was established as a commercial bank supervised by the Office of the Comptroller of Currency on Oct. 1, 1907. The building served in its original capacity until 1952 when bank offices relocated across the street. Sometime thereafter, 5 Main St. became the home of the Frankford Town Hall, serving in that capacity until the 21st century when government functions began shifting to new locations, ultimately leading to the relocation of the Town Hall to a larger facility at 9 Main St. in 2017.

Architecturally, the small, one-story, brick veneered building at 5 Main St. features distinctive decorative embellishments such as engaged brick pilasters, a dentil cornice with an egg-and-dart bed molding and original windows. In support of its National Register nomination, the research committee needs additional documentation including photographs/postcards (interior, exterior, streetscapes), oral histories depicting the bank’s significance and community service, as well as information about the location of similar buildings constructed in Delaware or nearby Maryland. Anyone with information should contact Gregory Welch at gregwelch@mchsi.com.

Frankford’s project exemplifies efforts to recognize and celebrate local heritage and serves as a positive model of stewardship of a town-owned historic property. These initiatives complement Delaware’s 2018¬–2022 statewide historic preservation plan entitled “Partners in Preservation: Planning for the Future.”

For a press account of efforts to add the First National Bank of Frankford building to the National Register of Historic Places, go to the following:

Frankford seeks historic designation for former Town Hall
Delaware State News, Dover — Aug. 6, 2020