Alma Exchange Bank, 1966

alma ga exchange bank googie architecture photograph copyright brian brown vanishing south georgia usa 2016

Locals sometimes call this drive-thru branch of the Alma Exchange Bank the Jetsons Bank for its Space Age appearance. The architecture is actually a style, popular in the 1950s and 1960s, known as Googie. This bank had a twin in Sylvester that has since been demolished. Recently, there has been some concern that this facility could be demolished, but I can’t verify anything beyond rumor. It’s a real landmark that Alma should attempt to preserve. Photographers from all over the country have visited and photographed it.

alma exchange bank drive thru photograph copyright brian brown vanishing south georgia usa 2016

13 thoughts on “Alma Exchange Bank, 1966

  1. Laurinda Norris

    I grew up in Bacon County and remember well when this was being built. It was definitely a conversation piece. Of course not everyone liked it. As a kid, I thought it was really cool and have always loved the building. I was sad that the one in Sylvester was destroyed. The last information I had it was still used as a drive up bank. I remember the story being told that a prominent teen was driving his grandmother through town during construction. She was rather taken aback by the building and inquired as to what it was. He had quite a sense of humor and slyly told her it was to launch space ships!

  2. Melissa Madison

    Proud to say my papa actually helped build those arches 😁 John A Vickers. I would hate to see anything done to it.

    1. Amie Davis

      Melissa, You have to pick his brain and find out how these arches were built! This is just incredible architecture!

  3. Scott Brooks

    I used to ride/drive by this lovely Googie building’s sister bank in Sylvester in the 1970s and ’80s traveling from our home in Albany to my grandparents’ home in Nashville, GA along Hwy. 82. I’m sad to hear that that one has been demolished. I loved that building, though I remember my grandmother once commenting that she would never want to bank there. When I asked why, she said, “It looks like a cracker box.” IOW, easy for someone to break into.

  4. lorianne16

    Hi Brian, my family is from Bacon County and as a little girl, I remember driving by the structure with my grandparents, Ralph and Mildred Lee. Bacon County was once known as the “Model City”. I am afraid I do not know much about how that moniker came to be or if there is anything other than the Exchange Bank left of that modernistic period. I do know my grandmother, Alberta Tillman Sweat is 100 years young and still drives through those amazing arches to do her banking.

    1. Brian Brown Post author

      Thanks for sharing. Your grandmother sounds cool! I had a great-grandmother and great uncle who lived to be over 100. People like that just amaze me!

    2. Laurinda Norris

      I grew up in Bacon County. The Model City name is from a program Alma was a part of as a part of the Great Society vision of LBJ. Here is the Wikipedia article about it. Alma had connections in Washington which may have helped get the funding. Ultimately, there was so much public and subsidized housing built, it became a problem, not a blessing. That is not necessarily true of all the effects of the program, but was one.

  5. Kay

    I remember as a child when this bank was built in Alma, we thought it was so interesting and were very proud. We still are.

  6. Raleighwood Dawg

    That’s an awesome design and I’m glad to hear that the building is still in use. Thanks for posting!

  7. Ben Dooley

    It funny that somehow people often seem put off by architecturally “innovative” efforts that would be fully embraced as a fast food restaurant are looked at as inappropriate in a bank. A bank is supposed to be built of granite and have columns! I can think of 2 examples here in Atlanta that didn’t make it as a bank…one was demolished and the other has been the site of several failed non-bank businesses. Is this wonderfully funky building still operating as a bank?


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